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Millard school board member wants winter break called Christmas break, says atheists who disagree can 'crawl back into their hellhole'

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Paul Meyer

The latest: Millard School Board member apologizes for controversial remarks targeting atheists

An effort to rename winter break “Christmas break” failed at Monday night’s Millard school board meeting.

Board member Paul Meyer led the effort, saying that atheists who disagreed could “crawl back into their hellhole.”

Meyer’s proposal garnered sympathy but no support from fellow board members.

He made his proposal during a discussion prior to adoption of the 2017-18 school calendar for Millard Public Schools.

He expressed disappointment that the administration had not labeled the break on the calendar — Dec. 25, 2017, through Jan. 5, 2018 — as Christmas break.

Meyer said he was getting “a little bit tired of a minute minority in this country that keeps pushing Christmas out, keep pushing God out, keep pushing Christ out, when the majority is still a Judeo-Christian country.”

“I would like to make a motion that we rename this period Christmas break, and those atheists who don’t like it can crawl back into their hellhole, because I, for one, will not put my Lord, my God, aside for a few atheists,” Meyer said. “And if they don’t like it, the ACLU doesn’t like it, the heck with them.”

None of the board members present — Mike Kennedy, Mike Pate and Pat Ricketts — seconded the motion.

[Read also: Schools often try to align spring break with Easter, but holiday's hopping around makes it a tricky feat]

Without a second, the motion failed. The board subsequently adopted the calendar on a 3-1 vote without specifying a name for the break. Meyer voted no.

Kennedy, the board president, said that just because the other board members didn’t back the motion doesn’t make them atheists or mean they don’t value Christmas.

He told Meyer that he and the others are “very religious.”

“I do know, as a Catholic, I have no problem the way the calendar is,” Kennedy said. “I celebrate Christmas. I know other people on this board do too. People are free to celebrate what they want to believe.”

He said he appreciated Meyer’s position. He defended the administration, saying he didn’t believe that there was an intentional effort to remove Christmas from the calendar.

“I don’t think anyone’s trying to take away Christmas from any child,” he said.

Pate said he and fellow board member Ricketts recently raised the issue about why spring break is not aligned with the Easter holiday.

On the 2017-18 calendar, the two are not aligned. It designates spring break as March 19-23, and Easter will be April 1.

Pate said he wasn’t willing to hold up the calendar’s approval in order to align them.

He said he appreciated Meyer’s comments, but he said he couldn’t back the motion on Christmas.

“I, too, am tired of the political correctness that seems to be circulating in every part of our lives today,” he said. “And you know what, I still say ‘Merry Christmas.’ I still say ‘Merry Christmas.’ If it offends people, I apologize for that. I’m not doing it to offend people. But I’m a Christian.”

Pate said calendars will always have flaws and will never be perfect, so he supported approving it.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1077,

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