If I had my druthers, Christmas would not be a federal holiday. It’s a no-brainer. The First Amendment categorically states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
Clearly, designating the date upon which Christians observe the birth of their messiah as a federal holiday is making a law respecting an establishment of religion and placing governmental weight behind Christianity.
Would I have U.S. citizens forgo end-of-the-year festivals or miss out on a federal day off? Not for the world. I would propose one of two remedies. Option 1: Rename Dec. 25 as something secular like “Family Day.” Uruguay has long celebrated Dec. 25 as Dia de la Familia. Option 2: Make Dec. 21 (the winter solstice), not Dec. 25 (Christmas), the federal holiday. The shortest, darkest day of the year is already a natural holiday, so why not make it a federal holiday as well?
The winter solstice is, after all, the reason for the season. It signals the rebirth of the sun and the natural new year. For millennia, our ancestors in the Northern Hemisphere have greeted this seasonal event with festivals of light, gift exchanges and feasts. The federal government’s description of Christmas as a federal holiday claims: “Decorating houses and yards with lights, putting up Christmas trees, giving gifts, and sending greeting cards have become holiday traditions even for many non-Christian Americans.”
But it is the Christians who stole Christmas. We don’t mind sharing the season with them, but we don’t like their pretense that it’s the birthday of Jesus. It is, if anything, the birthday of the Unconquered Sun. The winter solstice has astronomical significance all Americans can mark, without reference to their religious beliefs.
Should we compound the current constitutional violation by turning minority religious observances into federal holidays? Banish the thought! Think how unworkable (given the hundreds of religious “holy days”) that would be.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation successfully overturned a statute declaring Good Friday to be a state holiday in Wisconsin. This statute even directed citizens when to worship! Our legal victory did not deny state workers a half-day off. Instead, workers get to choose their own half-holiday instead of being told by their government to worship. It is not the business of our secular government to celebrate anyone’s “holy days.” Accommodate, yes.
Recognizing the winter solstice would violate no constitutional provision. Accommodating family time, universal weariness during our darkest days and allowing our national “well” to fill up after a hectic year — these would indeed serve secular purposes. Let’s hear it for Family Day!
February 7 – may 8, 2020
In a grand hall bedecked with flags and murals, costumed revelers perform a choreographed skit around a giant papier-mâché bird. Pioneering modern artists ride hobbyhorses, practice silly dances, wear clown makeup, party on the deck of a ship, and lounge together by a Maine lake. They draw and paint together, and they buy and sell one another’s art at festive auctions. This spirited social scene was an important but often-forgotten feature of the New York art world of the 1910s, ’20s, and ’30s. In the Fleming Museum exhibition, Let’s Have a Ball! Wood Gaylor and the New York Art Scene, 1913–1936, viewers can discover these events as they were lovingly documented in the vibrant paintings of Wood Gaylor (1883–1957).
Gaylor was a prime mover in the modern art world from the teens to the thirties, but has not received the attention either his role or his work merits. Curated by Fleming curator Andrea Rosen in consultation with independent art historian Dr. Christine Isabelle Oaklander, this exhibition and accompanying catalog spotlight Gaylor’s social and artistic contributions to American modernism in the early twentieth century. Gaylor’s paintings, teeming with color and action, depict the spirited gatherings of modern artists and arts promoters. Gaylor was a member of an irreverent group called The Penguin, led by painter Walt Kuhn, which mounted elaborate costume balls and parties complete with comic performances that were the subjects of Gaylor’s most extravagant paintings. Gaylor also captured behind-the-scenes moments in rehearsals and dressing rooms, as well as artistic camaradie, as his artist-friends gathered to sketch together in the backroom of the Penguin headquarters or in rural retreat at the art colony in Ogunquit, bear-magazine.com painted in a seemingly naïve style partially indebted to American folk art—setting up a room or landscape like a stage set, and populating it with outlined figures in bright colors with little shading. He also experimented with alternative media and styles, including painted carved wood panels and frames, abstracted watercolors, and figure drawings and prints. Finding active group scenes to be the subject that most interested him, Gaylor landed on an approach that best expressed the mood of such proceedings: flattened oil paintings in which figures dance, prance, and cavort in spaces both grand and intimate. As Gaylor’s images document important events in the art world of the 1910s, ’20s, and ’30s, so too does his technique provide insight into the factors impacting the evolution of a distinctly American modern bear-magazine.com exhibition will be accompanied by the catalogue Wood Gaylor and American Modernism, 1913-1936, which will feature essays by Rosen and Oaklander, as well as an interview with the artist’s son Wynn Gaylor. The exhibition will travel to the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, Ogunquit, Maine, July 31–October 31, 2020, and the Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, New York, February 20–May 20, bear-magazine.com Fleming Museum is deeply grateful to Bernard Goldberg Fine Arts, LLC, for the generous support of the Wood Gaylor exhibition and the accompanying catalogue. Additional support for this exhibition is provided by the Kalkin Family Exhibitions Fund; the Walter Cerf Exhibitions Fund; and Mary Jane Dickerson, Peter and Isabella Martin, and Caroline Wadhams Bennett in memory of J. Brooks Buxton.
video series: wood gaylor and american modernism, 1913-1936
Experience the Wood Gaylor exhibition, Let’s Have a Ball, from the comfort of your own home in this new video series created in response to the Museum’s temporary closure during the COVID-19 crisis. Join exhibition curator Andrea Rosen and Curator of Education Alice Boone as they discuss the work of the artist set against the backdrop of the New York art scene, 1913-1936. In this five-part series, the curators explore the training and inspiration that led Gaylor to his own unique style and subject matter.
Gaylor Peak lies at the headwaters of the Tuolumne River and Lee Vining Creek, straddling the Yosemite National Park and Inyo National Forest border no more than half a mile north of Tioga Pass. While rather modest in elevation by the standard of the high peaks to its south (Mt. Dana, Mt. Gibbs, and others), it is a popular ascent. The reasons for this are likely twofold: It’s no more than an easy twenty or thirty minute stroll from Tioga Pass, and for this minimal effort, the hiker is rewarded with excellent views over Lee Vining Canyon, to Mt. Dana and the Kuna Crest to the east/southeast, as well as the Cathedral Range to the southwest. As a bonus, continuing around Gaylor and Granite Lakes, an easy and popular cross-country route, reveals extensive mining ruins (the former community of the Great Sierra Mine), some still remarkably well bear-magazine.com usual route follows the signed Gaylor Lakes trail from Tioga Pass to a saddle south of the peak, from which an obvious, well-trodden use trail (all class 1) heads up to the summit.
Permits are not required for day hikes, but a wilderness permit is required for overnight visits within the Yosemite or Hoover Wildernesses. For entry via Yosemite trailheads, including the usual Gaylor Lakes approach described above, this can be obtained from any ranger station in the park. The nearest location is the permit building just east of the Tuolumne Meadows campground. It is just off the road that leads to the Tuolumne Lodge, on the right hand side. For entry via Hoover Wilderness trailheads, permits may be obtained from the Lee Vining Forest Service visitor center, located on Hwy 395 a couple of miles north of Lee Vining; additional information is available on the Note that camping is technically illegal within a mile of Tioga Road, and within four miles of any trailhead. This includes the entire Gaylor and Granite Lakes area. As a result, given the summit’s close proximity both to the road and to the popular Tioga Pass area, it is almost always climbed as a day hike.
"Andrew J. Gaylor, born in Texas in 1856; a packer with the US Cavalry in his youth; Yosemite National Park ranger, 1907-21. He died of a heart attack at the Merced Lake ranger station while on patrol, 1921. (Bingaman, Guardians, 13, 85.) The name was first given to the lakes. It was later extended to the peak, as suggested by David Brower, and verified by Walter A. Starr, Sr. as being in common use. (USGS.)At the time of the Tioga mining boom the peak and the entire ridge north and south of it were known as ‘Tioga Hill.’ (Homer Mining Index Oct. 1, 1881; Jan. 28, 1882.)"- Peter Browning, Yosemite Place Names
A rule in the Internal Revenue Code defining "taxable" income is the "convenience-of-the-employer" doctrine. Under that doctrine, housing provided to employees for the convenience of their employer is exempt from taxable income. Under 26 U.S.C.S. § 107, in the case of a minister of the gospel, gross income does not include: (1) the rental value of a home furnished to him as part of his compensation; or (2) the rental allowance paid to him as part of his compensation, to the extent used by him to rent or provide a home. Section 107(1) reauthorized the long-standing "in-kind parsonage" exemption and authorized the IRS to also exempt cash allowances from ministers’ taxable income. Plaintiff Freedom From Religion Foundation ("FFRF") paid its co-presidents, plaintiffs Annie Gaylor and Dan Barker, a portion of their salaries in the form of a housing allowance. FFRF also paid this housing allowance to a former president of the organization, Anne Nicol Gaylor (N. Gaylor). Neither Gaylor, Barker nor N. Gaylor were "ministers" within the meaning of the tax code, and they were denied refunds on taxes paid on their housing allowances. Ultimately, plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in federal district court against defendant Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of the United States Department of Treasury, claiming that § 107(2), the tax code exemption for religious housing, violated the Establishment Clause of the federal Constitution. The district court agreed. Mnuchin several intervening religious organizations appealed.
Amazon has been a repeat client of Gaylor Electric since 2013. Since our original build of the 2,430,000 SF fulfillment center in Baltimore, Maryland, Gaylor Electric has since built over 15 Amazon properties – 5 of which were over 1 Million square feet.
These projects range from fast-paced flex warehouse and storage spaces, to advanced robotic sorting and distribution locations. For each project our team delivered complete power distribution, interior and exterior lighting, advanced robotic controls, life safety systems, and back up power.
Amazon and Gaylor Electric continue to partner together as Amazon continues to expand across the country. Our team is currently completing a robotic sorting center in Denver, Colorado, and then moving on to the next fast-paced fulfillment center in Arizona. Gaylor has found a true client for life in Amazon.
Principal senior researcher and early childhood program leader, sri education
Erika Gaylor, PhD, uses mixed-methods designs to study both the implementation and impact of policies, programs, and practices affecting young children and their families with expertise in developmental assessments, early literacy and math, social-emotional competence, and high-quality instruction and environments. Gaylor and colleagues have collaborated with several states to explore innovative policies and programs that increase access to, and improve the quality of, early care and education (ECE) programs for young children. This work has included a study of a pilot program to provide scholarships for low-income families to use at high-quality ECE programs and several projects exploring Pay for Success financing as a means to expand access to evidence-based high-quality early learning opportunities. Gaylor served as the principal investigator of a recently completed 4-year comprehensive evaluation of the Preschool Development Grant in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Current projects include leading the data collection of an EIR-funded expansion grant to examine the scale-up of a preschool math curriculum for low-income children in Head Start and public preschool classrooms, leading the assessment team of an IES-funded efficacy study of an integrated science and literacy curriculum for first grade classrooms, and serving as the co-principal investigator of an IES-funded measurement grant, working with colleagues at Erikson Institute to develop an observational tool to measure the quality of math instruction in preschool classrooms.
Other projects focused on workforce supports for individuals working with young children and their families, including the RISE (Researching Implementation Support Experiences) home visiting evaluation conducted in collaboration with the Washington State Department of Early Learning to examine workforce supports in home visiting programs supported by Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) funds. Gaylor has also explored how best to support preschool teachers’ self-efficacy in mathematics to increase their confidence and intentional math instruction in a variety of preschool settings, including school-based preschool programs and Head Start centers.
Gaylor also has expertise in early childhood social-emotional development (e.g., consulting on a guide for program administrators to reduce suspensions and expulsions in early care and education settings) and serving as the principal investigator of a project under an Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant to examine the impact of scaling the Pyramid Model in rural and urban preschool and kindergarten classrooms to reduce behavior challenges and exclusionary discipline practices like suspensions and expulsions.
On the Office of Special Education Programs-funded Model Demonstration Coordination Center for early childhood language intervention project, Gaylor was responsible for developing common measures and synthesizing outcomes for three projects across the country. For First 5 California, she was responsible for consulting with local, county, and state stakeholders to analyze and report on population- and community-level data to inform policy decisions.
Gaylor is the author of several reports and briefs, as well peer-reviewed publications and regularly presents her work at scholarly conferences. She is certified reviewer for the What Works Clearinghouse and has led multiple studies that have met WWC standards. Gaylor earned her PhD in human development from the University of California, Davis and a BS in psychology from the University of Iowa.