Be inclusive with holidays


Royal Purple, Editorial Staff Opinion

Aspects of Christian faith intersect with many areas of our lives and daily routines.

Most of us are guaranteed a few days off work and school each year without question, and even our calendars are structured around the major Christian holidays.

It’s fairly easy to understand why, too.

A majority of Wisconsin residents – 71 percent to be exact, according to Pew Research Center – subscribe to a denomination of the Christian faith. Christianity is the world’s largest religion and is the majority faith of United States citizens.

Because of the sheer number of people who practice some form of Christianity, it makes sense why the calendar is so accommodating to those holidays and why our routines are  built around the Christian religion.

But devout believers of other faiths don’t necessarily have the chance to automatically get major religious holidays off.

Although the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah and the traditional African holiday of Kwanzaa fall in December, those aren’t necessarily the most important holidays for those religions.

The Jewish tradition of Rosh Hashanah, the Islamic ceremonies on Ramadan or the Hindu rites of Diwali are important to people who believe in those religions also, and yet they aren’t automatically expected to have those days off work or school to devote important time to their families and their faith.

Sure, they could explain their situation to their boss, and most good employers will be understanding and willing to grant those requests.

No, that’s most likely not a hard process, but it’s an extra step that Christians don’t also have to take.

Students at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater might encounter similar situations with classes and coursework.

If a student practices Judaism and is hoping to partake in a special ceremony for their younger sibling’s Bar Mitzvah, but their professor has scheduled a test with a non-negotiable deadline, those students might miss out. Granted, professors might be kind and allow those students to take a day off based on special circumstance, but not all would be so accommodating.

Consider international students at UW-Whitewater as well, some of whom might practice religions other than Christianity.

It’s not feasible to grant a day off for every single religious-related holiday, but it’s certainly possible to incorporate a few additional days to accommodate to non-Christian religions, too, and keep things equal.

Faculty members, students and administrators should consider this idea and discuss it as a campus.