Christmas Carols Don't Belong in Public Schools

Rant 101

Christmas CarolsWhat'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 In a public school system, outdated traditions unfairly trap children.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.

News flash: not everyone in the good ol' U.S. of A. wants to adore oh Christ the Lord or believes that the Savior reigns.

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

education

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Thats... ThatsSoRachael

I absolutely agree. Atheists and people of different religions are citizens too. Those Christians who want to keep songs about Jesus in schools need to realize that the US is NOT a Christian nation.

nonmember avatar Jaime

Christmas Carols are a part of our national heritage. Should we no longer teach our children our culture? Yes, OUR culture. As a teacher, whenever anything slightly religious is brought up, we have to tread very carefully. It is my experience that public school teachers (myself included) do out of our way to present a variety of cultures. We are applauded when we teach the children songs from any religion except Christianity. Why? We are praised for our support of diversity when we expose children to holidays and traditions from a variety of cultures, except Christianity. For the first 200 years of our existence as a nation, prayers were held in schools, the Bible was a source of knowledge for everyone from children to presidents. Our constitution guarantees the unrestricted right to practice religion (not freedom from being exposed to its existence---read the first amendment) because the Christains who founded our nation felt that the right to worship God was the most basic right of all. (And yes, they were almost all Christain, but God forbid I mention that fact in school.) I am not saying that we should teach Christianity itself in schools. I belief that exposing children to the richness of diversity in our national fabric is extremely important. But why hide the truth about our history? Why do I have to tell children half truths, just so that I don't offend their parents? And why can't a tradition as rich in American history as a Christmas carol be sung in our schools?

Tracys2 Tracys2

I don't know. I totally agree as far as singing the songs. No child should have to sing songs for a religion they don't believe in.


Instrumentals, such as in this case, are trickier. Quite a few classical songs are religiously-based. Are we going to avoid "Ode to Joy" (the European anthem) because it was originally religous? So many songs were! So many of the most beautiful classical compositions. We may not even realise it. Pachbel's canon may not have originally been Christian, but now it is used in a Christmas song, so it has those associations.


Tricky, for sure.

Happy... Happydad73

Not sure where you studied math, but 16 and 4.7 would be 20.7. That would not be considered nearly a quarter. And since when should 'nearly a quarter' dictate to the rest what they should do? That is a pretty lousey argument.

nonmember avatar S.Smith

To the "author"..awww were you not picked for the lead in your Christmas pageant when you were little?? Poor thing!! Get over it..those songs are traditional..if your child doesn't want to sing a particular song then they don't have to participate ...But,Ms.Scrooge I will have you know that just because the songs have the words Lord or Christ in them doesn't mean your child has to convert to being a Christian

mande... manderspanders

So the rights of a few are more important that the rights of the majority?  There is nothing wrong with Christmas carols in the school choir.  It is beautiful music, and you don't have to believe in any aspect of Christianity to enjoy singing or listening to them.


We constantly hear about how our kids need to be taught tolerance, acceptance, and learn to live in a diverse world and be culturally sensitive... so why are we telling our kids that  Christianity specifically should be hidden, but other religions should be celebrated?

nonmember avatar Rory G

As a christian, I don't want my child singing Hindu or Islamic songs. To ensure this doesn't happen, I have to accept that Christmas carols won't be sung in school. We can sing all we want at home or at church. There's no reason for Christians to be upset with Christmas carols being banned in schools.

nonmember avatar doriangirl

I think Rory G put it very well. The US is not a christian nation and if you knew even the slightest bit about history yo would know that. Think of how horrified you would be by your children singing songs about Allah, or Zeus in school. Religion has no place in public schools period.

early... earlybird11

And just one reason my kid goes to private school....people like this author. You clearly have hatred toward christianity. I do not hate any other religion. My husband is jewish, even he was disgusted when I read him your article.

IKnow... IKnow0101

The problem is now children are not allow to anything in school in fear of offended someone.  My daughter's school have stop all musicals or plays although they never included any religious songs or stories.  When I was a child I was in the choir and we had are Christmas concerts in a church every year and the whole neighborhood would come see us sing.  The problem now instead of finding a solution to include everyone we now just doing anything.  Last week in my son's preschool class a parent ask the teacher not to teach the kids to sing Puff the Magic Dragon because it was a song about weed.  People should really research where the majority of children songs and stories originated from.  But I agree with Rory, I don't expect the schools to do anything so we do our activities at home with family.

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