Thursday, October 30, 2008

I swear, you couldn't make this up if you tried

Most people in this nation do not object to paying taxes when they can see a return for their money in the form of public infrastructure and public programs that benefit society generally, even if they may not be directly beneficial to the individual taxpayer. It is when you see your taxes squandered to pay salaries to people to think up things like the following that you start to cheer on the revolutionaries and the anarchists.

The Toronto District School Board has issued guidelines (invented and written by bureaucrats) to its teachers cautioning about the problems associated with Halloween. First Christmas, now every child's favourite day, Halloween. Unless you are a dentist, who knew there were problems with Halloween? Here is the TDSB's advice:

1. Halloween is a religious day of significance for Wiccans and therefore should be treated respectfully.

2. Peer and social/media consumer pressures target all children and their families as consumers of costumes, makeup, food products, etc. Many students and their families can feel this socio-economic marginalization keenly.

3. The images and icons associated with consumer-oriented Halloween can come into conflict with some students' and their families' religious beliefs.

4. The food products that are marketed heavily during the Halloween period can come into conflict with students' and their families' dietary habits.

5. Some students have had first-hand traumatic experiences of violence that make talking about death, ghosts, etc., extremely alienating.

6. Many recently arrived students in our schools share no background cultural knowledge of trick-or-treating or the commercialization of death as 'fun.'

A few comments on the foregoing.

1. Wicca is a modern panthestic religion that started up in the 1950s and that borrows from earlier pagan ideas (all modern religions are derivative). Wicca is associated with magic and witchcraft. Halloween was a pagan celtic celebration intended to ward off evil spirits that would harm agriculture, and had nothing to do with witchcraft. The only link between Wicca and Halloween is this connection to paganism and a witch costume being a popular choice for Halloween.

There might be approximately 15,000 Wiccans in Canada (extrapolating from U.S. statistics). Their numbers are so few that they do not even rate a separate religious category in the Canadian census statistics.

2. What does the school have to do with the commercial marketing of products and costumes associated with Halloween, anymore than it has to do with the marketing of crappy sugar laden breakfast cereals and expensive plastic action figures on children's television programming? Dealing with these things is the purview of the family. Halloween costumes can be very cheaply put together from most stuff found around the home.

3. Public schools are supposed to be secular. It is the parents who should decide how they should explain social/religious conflicts (including Halloween) to their children.

4. Why do teachers need to be told about candies and diets, are they presumed to be brain dead by their employers?

5. What does violence have to do with Halloween -- it is not a celebration of violence -- Easter and Passover fill that bill nicely. It is a good thing to talk about ghosts and death in the classroom, because any child that reacts in the way the TDSB thinks they will, obviously should be earmarked for trauma counselling.

6. Isn't the whole point of Canadian schooling to teach children about Canada's culture, heritage, history and traditions? Are we not trying to integrate newcomers into our society? How do we do that if we do not tell them about the things we celebrate.

At least give TDSB credit for finally remembering in its last edict that the point of Halloween is that children can dress up in silly costumes and have some FUN. You remember FUN, the birthright of every child before the politically correct bureaucrats and politicians took over the running of the asylum?

Apparently, some schools have jumped on this and started to call Halloween "Black and Orange Day".



Anonymous said...

The Census does have information on the number of Canadians who declared their religion as Wicca!


Navigator said...

anonymous is correct. That site claims there were approximately 9,600 people who identified themselves as Wiccans in the 2001 census. In researching my article, I Googled the main census tables that do not break out Wicca. I don't know what the growth factor is, but I may have overstated the number of Wiccans -- it doesn't change my argument.