Saturday, October 29, 2005

Media: closing public schools for Muslim holiday "absurd in a Judeo-Christian country"

if you're Bill O'Reilly.

From the October 27 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

BLAIR: Well, in December of 2004, a gentleman representing the Muslim religion came before the school board and asked if Eid, which I believe is part of Ramadan, be recognized as an official school holiday. That went to a subcommittee, a calendar committee that's comprised of 28 members. Where these members come from, we still don't have the exact answers. I guess they're citizens, friends of the school board members, various people like this. As a matter of fact, I think there's a Jewish representative and a Muslim representative on the board. Of the 28, only 12 showed up, as I understand it. They gave them very little feedback other than the option of taking President's Day and turning it -- they basically gave --

O'REILLY: So a Muslim wanted a Muslim holiday, which is absurd in a Judeo-Christian country. I mean, we can't be having Hindu and Buddha. I mean, come on. I mean, this country is founded on Judeo-Christian traditions.

BLAIR: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: Those traditions have been in play for more than 200 years. Christmas is a federal holiday. You know, somebody walks in and says, "Well, I just moved here and I want, you know, this Shinto shrine." And you're going, "Well, look, this is a traditional American situation that we've done for hundreds of years." But now you knocked it out.

I haven't posted anything from MediaMatters in a long time, because they became a bit of a 'stretch-it-till-it-fits' bomb throwing organization, taking good fact checking and turning into unabashed cheerleading. But sometimes people like O'Reilly just make it too easy.

Wouldn't it make sense to leave school scheduling up to local communities? I can't see a community with no Muslims taking a day off for a Muslim holiday, but in a community where some reasonable portion of the population is Muslim, it certainly makes sense. Granted, federal holidays are based on the Judeo-Christian calendar, and we can't keep adding holidays here there and everywhere, nor does it make much sense to remove them from the calendar when business essentially shut down at those times anyway. In this school district, I don't particularly know what the population breakdown might be, but perhaps there should be some sort of standard that states that holidays should be given if they affect some certain percentage of the target population.

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