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It’s OK to celebrate Christmas in parade

I would like to offer a few observations regarding Ms. Elaine Thompson’s letter of Dec. 28, which lamented the playing of Christmas carols by the high school band, and Mr. Clyde Shuman’s letter of the same date, which rebuked The News for featuring content referencing a Christian holiday.

The Holiday Parade (not “Thanksgiving Parade,” as Ms. Thompson called it) is sponsored by a private company, not the school system. Her suggestion that there was state endorsement of religion ignores this important fact. Presumably students may be excused from this sort of extracurricular event if they wish. As to the claim that playing Christmas carols was not “inclusive”: the event was free for all to attend, excluding no one. It is not reasonable to expect a privately-sponsored parade that is overwhelmingly Christmas-themed to have no sacred Christmas music.

Mr. Shuman’s objection doesn’t appear to be about a news story but rather a Christmas-focused editorial, ignoring that the purpose of an editorial is, in fact, to editorialize. There is no obligation to adhere to a strictly secular perspective in an editorial. I would also note that the news section in which his letter appears contains over 20 articles and opinion pieces of varying lengths, all of which could be deemed secular in perspective.

His comment claiming “Alpena is a preternaturally aggressively Christian town, suggesting a 1950s suburban country club: No Jews Allowed,” is not only unfair, it is unhistorical. Alpena is home to Michigan’s second-longest continuously used Jewish synagogue. The congregation’s Web page includes thanks to a number of area businesses and foundations (including one from a Christian church) for helping with their recent renovation. I recommend viewing their delightful short film entitled “The History of TBE Alpena” on YouTube.

SUELYN BARTZ,

Alpena