"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Can’t Get This Song Out Of My Head

Okay, last post on Maplewood’s school Christmas music policy. Here’s a nice sampling of columns, blog postings and articles on the subject if you would like to read more.

Common Sense for the Holidays – Washington Post
Noel Carols: Correctness and Controversy – Nation Public Radio
O Come, All Ye Faithful - Michelle Malkin Blog
Does Christmas Need to Be Saved? – New York Times
’Tis the time to feel offended, tra-la-la-la….– Fort Wayne News Sentinel
The Grinch Who Stole ‘Messiah’ – New York Post
A Jew says 'Merry Christmas' – Boston Globe
'Frosty' vs. 'All Ye faithful' – USA Today
Killing Christmas – Toronto Free Press
N.J. School Bans Christmas Carols – Free Republic Blog
Taking Back Christmas – LA Times

Compiling this list got us to thinking that perhaps the School Board’s policy and actions had more to do with grabbing “15 minutes of fame” than protecting children from the trauma of listening to an instrumental rendition of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Ah-oh, fame comes at a price. Anti-Christmas District Hit With Federal Lawsuit. “The New Jersey school district that banned Christmas music, even by instrumental groups, from its holiday concerts has been hit with a lawsuit claiming officials have demonstrated hostility toward religion.” Read the entire article

One more thing before we move off this topic. When this poster was young and in public school I learned to sing: The Republic of China (Taiwan) national anthem, Hanukah, Oh Hanukah, and Stille Nacht (Silent Night in German) to name a few. Each of these songs have something in common, I can remember the tune and lyrics to each of them.

I was not offended by learning another country’s national anthem – although I did think it a bit strange that my third grade class was led off each day with the Pledge of Alliance, the Lord’s Prayer and free China’s national anthem. No, the teacher was not Chinese, nor was anyone in my class. I passed it off as being perhaps one of the few songs the teacher knew how to play on the upright piano she installed in our classroom. Even then, I didn’t think she played the piano very well. But she enjoyed it and I learned the only bit of Chinese I know to this day. We learned the song’s first line in Chinese and the rest in English.

You’ll have to take my word for it that I remember the tune. The tune is catchy – maybe that’s why it won the world's best national anthem at the
1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin Germany. Here are the words. By the way, San Min Chu-i means three principles of the people - the English title of the song.

San Min Chu-i,
Our aim shall be:
To found, a free land,
World peace, be our stand.
Lead on, comrades,
Vanguards ye are.
Hold fast your aim,
By sun and star.
Be earnest and brave,
Your country to save,
One heart, one soul,
One mind, one goal

Similarly, I was not offended by learning Silent Night in a foreign language or Hanukah, Oh Hanukah, a song about a holiday that I did not celebrate at home. I thought it was new, different and interesting. It was fun and I enjoyed it. Indoctrination? No, just a multicultural and diverse education.


At 7:32 PM, Blogger Glass House said...

I'm truly enjoying your running commentary on the silliness and stupidity of banning Christmas. I, for one, am making a deliberate effort to respond "Merry Christmas" to everyone who wishes me a "Happy Holiday". I want to say "what Holiday are you referring to?" Why is everyone so afraid to say "Merry Christmas". I think it's more acceptable to use four letter words throughout a conversation in mixed company than it is to wish someone "Merry Christmas". How sad.

It's nice to find a bit of sanity in the world....so please keep up the good work! And Merry Christmas to you!

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