Danish School Cancels Christmas Service Out Of Respect For Other Faiths

REUTERS/Kimimasa Mayama

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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A Danish school has drawn nationwide criticism after it moved to cancel its traditional Christmas service out of respect for children of other faiths.

Students at Gribskolen in Graested traditionally gather for a service at the local church before Christmas. The school board has informed parents that the tradition will be scrapped since not all students are Christians.

“We took the decision because we have children of different faiths at the school than Protestants,” the school’s principal Marianne Vedersø Schmidt wrote in a letter to parents, according to local broadcaster TV2. “We are very pleased with the cooperation with the churches and will certainly continue with this cooperation as it gives all children a cultural and generic knowledge – but the Christmas service is also preaching and it must therefore be up to the individual families whether they wish to participate in private.”

Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, who grew up in the town, urged the school to reverse the decision. Town mayor Kim Valentin agreed, adding that the service should optional for students.

“We are a Christian country and we should be proud of it,” Valentin wrote on his Facebook page. “It shouldn’t be mandatory, but our church and especially Christmas is an important part of our culture.”

Others criticized the fact that the same school hosted a “Syria week” to teach students about Syrian culture.

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