What's the first sign that Christmas is coming? Christmas carols in stores? Maybe. That is if you can actually hear the tinny version "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" over the kvetching of the parents who are PO'd that yet another public school has come out and banned traditional Christmas carols from the winter concert.
Aww. Those poor, poor people. Their kids' school finally entered the 21st century, and now they expect us all to feel bad for them.
So, do you? Feel bad for them, I mean? Because I don't.
I do, however, feel bad for all those Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, atheist (need I go on?) kids out there who are virtually being pushed aside every time there's another hew and cry over Christmas carols being banned in schools.
Go ahead and call it a war on Christmas (you're going to anyway). I'm more worried about the war being waged on those kids every time one of their parents' dares speak up.
Take, for example, the York Preparatory Academy, a public charter school in Rock Hill, South Carolina, that just dropped Joy to the World and Oh Come All Ye Faithful from the concert. They're coming under fire from the right wing conservatives who are nattering on about tradition and how their values are being attacked.
The problem with that argument? In a public school system, outdated traditions unfairly trap children. They don't get to dictate which songs they sing and which they don't in a winter chorus event. Often their grade for music class depends on showing up and singing along with everything on the agenda for the day. They deserve a fair playing field too, to have a winter concert where they aren't completely unnerved by what they're being asked to do by their teachers.
If you do, that's great! Take your kids to church, and you can be merry and praise Jesus all you want. That's your right as an American.
But a full 16 percent of Americans say they are not affiliated with any religion these days. Another 4.7 percent of the population subscribes to a non-Christian religion. That's nearly a quarter of the population -- a quarter of the kids out there -- who have rights too.
You can sing carols to your heart's content on weekends, folks. Just keep them out of the public school. OK?
What sort of songs do they sing at your kid's school?
Image via LisMB/Flickr