Letters to the Editor December 9

Support for Zundel

As a Bellview parent, I would like to express my ardent support for Principal Zundel's decision to remove the Christmas tree from Bellview Elementary. I, myself, as a Christian, believe one of the great things about our country is the concept of the separation of church and state and the belief in freedom of religion. As a public school, funded by taxpayer dollars from people of all religious backgrounds, it would be improper to appear to sponsor or endorse one particular belief over another.

Phil Eschtruth Harrison


Don't spoil the season

I appreciated your article reporting the change in "holiday displays" as defined by the principal at Bellview Elementary School as being religious. A friend shared the article with me, so I thought I would respond. I respect and appreciate your neutral reporting, sharing views from both sides of the debate. I just wonder where our country is headed when we start letting "the few" dictate policy to the masses. If we are not celebrating Christmas as the traditional date set aside for the birth of Christ, then there is really no reason to close school, take off work, travel to see family, share gifts and be thankful for all that we have been blessed with as a nation!

It is Christmas; it has always been Christmas ... at least for hundreds of years, and for those who don't want to celebrate Christmas, that is fine. Let them not spoil the season for the rest of the majority who do. These folks say Christians are intolerant. I wonder what they see when they look in the mirror?

I am certain you will have plenty of opportunity to report on this issue before it's resolved. May there be "peace on earth, good will toward men" as this topic is debated!

Randy Sharp

Little Rock, Ark.

Share our traditions

The principal of Bellview should not have caved in to the disgruntled parent. Christmas is not about decorated trees. It is about the birth of Jesus. It wasn't a creche set up in the hallway. No one is attempting to push a religious agenda by putting up a tree. If that is a religious symbol, then so are candy canes, snowmen and reindeer.

We should share our traditions at this time of year. Not doing so can perpetuate ignorance. Let's have a Christmas tree, not a "holiday" tree. Let's have a menorah. Let's play dreidel. Let's have Santa Claus. Let's have latkes (with all the trimmings, of course). Let's have Christmas cookies. Let's enjoy the season. Please.

Kathleen Hildreth


Custom over change

I would like to comment on the recent article in the Tidings in reference to Bellview School removing the holiday tree. There are values that my grandparents, parents, our immediate family and our children have in common, and I quote from something that was written by someone else: "I value custom over change, and do not approve of the erosion of our values by the expansion of the state, and condescending thoughts about faith, patriotism and culture."

If the Bellview School and some of the students and their families would like to display and become involved in the season of the usual care, giving and generosity of Christmas (now considered the holiday season), which is the direction the school was taking, then let that activity continue. And if trees are an expression of the season of care, giving and generosity, then let the trees be that expression!

If there are other tendencies by other beliefs, then, within the boundaries of our school district, let those tendencies be open for display as well. It is against the principles and customs of a very large part of the American population to not have trees on display during the Christmas/holiday season.

Please do not let the few bash Christmas and holidays for the most. All beliefs and tendencies, within reason, are allowed in America, without the exclusion of others.

Tom Kennedy


Put the tree back up

Although I live way outside your school district, I do help support it via my state and federal tax dollars and therefore have standing to comment. Because your principal lacks the courage to tell someone to pack sand, she lacks a basic qualification to lead. She is the one who should be removed, not the tree. I somehow feel less represented as a tax supporter of this school, and therefore feel less welcome toward all public schools because of this action. Would you please put the tree back up?

Hal Smith

John Day

This is America

You are kidding me, right?

Michelle Zundel, you are a disgrace to your school, community, our state and our country. The U.S. is a country of freedom of speech and religion. You are breaking the law! I, as well as many of my coworkers agree you are violating our Constitution and our freedom in the name of public education. Let's see here, a few (one or two) families complain, take down the tree. But now, not only do you have the other families concerned about your decision, you are turning many citizens in your community (taxpaying folk) against you and the school district.

This is America, and I really thought majority rules. Maybe you believe you are the ruler. That is a position for you in another country. This is the United States of America. I am sure you get paid with the good ol' American dollar "In God we trust." Oh, yes, here is another one: "God bless America." Overall, it is sad that we must cave in to the few and not stand up for what is right. I hope this community can withstand this negative feedback and enjoy the holiday season. By the way, "Merry Christmas." And for those of you that are offended by that, "Happy holidays."

Mike Holguin


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