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The News You May Have Missed

February 2009By Michael S. Rose

Michael S. Rose is Associate Editor of New Oxford Review.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Religious Symbol

The inclusion of the song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" in a Christmas pageant caused a stir at a public grade school in Wilmington, North Carolina. A Jewish parent complained about the song's "religious overtones," and got it pulled from her child's kindergarten Christmas show at Murrayville Elementary School. The song was ousted "because it had the word Christmas in it," Rick Holliday, assistant school superintendent, told WRAL-TV (Dec. 9, 2008). But after carefully reviewing the lyrics of the song, school administrators and attorneys concluded that Rudolph was "a flying reindeer, not a religious symbol."

Away With the Manger

An Austrian mayor ordered cleaners to chuck out the town hall's eco-Christmas Nativity crib -- after mistaking it for a pile of garbage. The "green" display, made from recycled materials, was meant to be an artistic criticism of the over-commercialization of the Christmas season. But Franz Dobusch, mayor of Linz, told staff to scrap it, thinking it was just a pile of old packaging and advertising brochures (Ananova, Dec. 15).

Have Yourself a Homosexual Christmas

The Dutch homosexual-rights group ProGay hosted a ten-day "Pink Christmas" festival -- complete with church services, homosexual movies, and a live Nativity scene featuring a plastic baby Jesus with two fathers. ProGay chairman Frank van Dalen told reporters that his group hosted the event to boost "choices for homosexual men and women" during Christmas week when they often have nothing to do. Van Dalen told the Associated Press (Dec. 21) that Christians should not take offense to the festival because it is only intended to be a "wink" at heterosexual assumptions. "Christmas is about more than religion; it's also about love and families, not to mention shopping," he said. "Two men or two women can form a family too these days, even one with a child." The event was sponsored in part by the Amsterdam City Council.

Calling In 'Gay'

Same-sex marriage supporters urged homosexuals across the U.S. to "call in gay" -- to skip work -- on December 10, 2008. Organizers of "Day Without a Gay," scheduled to coincide with International Human Rights Day and modeled after similar work stoppages by Latino immigrants, also encouraged lesbians and gays to boycott shopping in order to show the impact of their absence from everyday life. After much hullabaloo and media coverage, the San Francisco Chronicle (Dec. 11) announced the protest had "fizzled" even in the Bay Area, the epicenter of "gay culture." The reason: Gays and lesbians couldn't afford to take a day off. ...


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