If there’s one thing you can count on every holiday season, America, it’s ass-clown teachers and school administrators grossly offending everyone who celebrates Christmas in the dimwitted belief that allowing anything Christmas-related might offend someone, somewhere.
One hilarious instance of this strange annual phenomenon occurred last week at Ralph J. Osgood Intermediate School on Long Island in New York. Officials at the school took out numerous references to anything remotely religious in the classic Christmas carol “Silent Night” before allowing fifth graders to sing it during a concert.
The censored bits included the phrases “Christ the savior” and “holy infant,” reports CBS New York.
The idea behind the suppression of the Christian lyrics was, of course, to insure that everyone but Christians would not be upset about the Christian song.
“Any reference to what the song was about — the birth of Christ, ’round young virgin mother and child’ — all of those things were omitted from the version that the children sang beautifully,” explained Jackie McDonald, an angry one mom.
McDonald ended up walking out of the show.
“To choose to sing ‘Silent Night’ and eviscerate the meaning of the song was not appropriate,” she told the CBS station.
The choir also performed a song in Hebrew, which did not have religious lyrics.
After the concert and several subsequent complaints, both the principal of the school and the school district superintendent apologized for the blatant slight to Christianity, saying the repression of Christianity was an error that won’t happen again.
Meanwhile, at Ludlowe High School in the endless suburbs of southern Connecticut, a teacher allegedly refused to let students decorate their homeroom door with Santa Claus or Christmas trees for a school-wide door-decorating contest to raise money for the prom.
The teacher “said no reference to Christmas at all can be on the decorations on the door,” an irate parent told Fox News.
Greg Hatzis, the principal at the school, who for some odd reason has taken to calling himself the headmaster, told Fox News that the policy of the school district is “that no religious belief or non-belief will be promoted by the district or its employees and none will be disparaged.”
Hatzis later told News 12 Connecticut that no parent or student had contacted the school about the issue.
He said the local school board’s policy allows holiday decorations “that are part of custom and that have no direct religious meaning.”
At the same time, Hatzis admitted to News 12 that administrators gave teachers guidelines “stating that phrases” and “images with direct religious references should be avoided.” “Wreathes, candy canes and snowmen would be allowed.”
The guidelines apparently did not reference Santa Claus or Christmas trees because, gosh, who would ever think of using those symbols around Christmastime?
Hatzis told Fox News that some people might not like Christmas trees because “a Christmas tree would not exist unless you were talking about Christmas and they make the leap to the religious observance.”
Federal courts have consistently ruled that school groups can learn and sing religious songs as long as no one feels compelled to sing them or listen to them. The Supreme Court has not directly ruled on the constitutionality of putting Santa Claus or a Christmas tree on a door at a public school.
In a seminal 1992 case, Lee v. Weisman, the Supreme Court held that a clergy-led prayer at a public high school graduation violates the Establishment Clause, essentially because students have no real choice but to attend their own graduation ceremonies. Also, the audience is basically captive.
A 2009 appellate case held that a school district superintendent did not violate a student ensemble’s rights by preventing a rendition of “Ave Maria” at a graduation. However, the court noted that a graduation is a unique event because the audience is essentially captive. The court specifically observed that a mid-year concert involving a mixture of music — like, say, a choir’s winter concert — would be altogether different.
Similarly, in 1980 and 1995, federal appeals courts firmly rejected plaintiffs who sued because Christian-themed songs were sung by public-school choirs at holiday concerts.
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