USA: Religious group opposes Christmas carols ‘ban’ in school district

The superintendent at Bordentown Regional School District in New Jersey, USA, was reported by Charisma News to have “banned any and all religious music in the December concerts the district’s elementary schools normally hold”.

NJschool-bans-carols

According to Charisma News, the superintendent at Bordentown Regional School District made a public statement that “religious music should not be part of the elementary program[s]” and “decided to ban religious Christmas music during winter concert performances at elementary schools within the district.”

Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter on 30 October 2013 to the Bordentown Regional School District explaining that “the ban is both unnecessary and unconstitutional.”

“We urge the Bordentown Regional School District to rescind this new policy and permit religious music to be included among the many nonreligious songs performed at school concerts,” wrote Alliance Defending Freedom.

“Misinformation about the First Amendment is frequently what leads to censorship of constitutionally permissible and culturally significant songs performed during Christmas concerts,” Charisma News quoted senior legal counsel Jeremy Tedesco as saying.


Incident in Wausau
Washington Times reported that a similar ban nearly took place at a public school in Wausau, Wis., where district officials proposed that the number of religious songs in holiday shows be cut down. Phil Buch, the chair of Wausau West High School protested by temporarily disbanding the school’s Master Singers music ensemble.

Local media reported the story but it eventually made its way into national news. With the weight of national attention and anger the school board backed down and permitted the director’s original choices of music for now. The student choir began practicing its music again, and the Alliance Defending Freedom claimed victory.



Charisma News – 29 October 2013:
NJ School District Wages War on Christmas, Bans Carols
By Melanie Korb


Washington Times – 31 October 2013:
School ban on religious carols draws challenge
‘Constitutional line’ has been crossed. Article by Matthew Lounsberry



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3 Comments to "USA: Religious group opposes Christmas carols ‘ban’ in school district"

  1. Richard Marcus says:

    I think you need to look more carefully at your source material on occasion for these stories on artistic freedoms being banned. A school board’s decision to ban all religious music during one festive season isn’t an infringement of anybody’s artistic rights, rather its a measure to ensure one faith isn’t seen to be more important than another. As a non-christian I used to be made exceedingly uncomfortable around the “Christmas Season” by the predominance of christian themed events and music in my school. Forty years later when public schools are even more ethnically diverse its even more important for children not to be separated by religion by giving one religion special significance. If you notice the name of the newspaper you’re citing is called “Charisma News” and the headline reads “NJ school district wages war on Christmas, bans carols.” This is not a newspaper, but rather a fundamentalist Christian broadsheet. I’m sure if the school board decided to hire a gay teacher the same newspaper would accuse them of hiring sexual perverts and corrupting the young.

    While I admire your attempts to ensure you cover all ways in which artistic freedoms can be impinged upon, I think you need to examine some of the stories you report as examples a little more closely before you post them. This is part of the ongoing battle in the United States pitting those who are trying to create a more open and pluralistic society and those who are looking to impose their own narrow view of the world on everyone else.

  2. Freemuse says:

    Dear Richard Marcus,

    Thank you for your valid comment. We see it as our role to document the various nuances of censorship and regulations, as well as calls for censorship, which occur around the world, and which often occur in a religious context. However, we do also attempt, when possible, to put the cases and issues into a larger context. We are certainly aware of the many religious pressure groups, and we hope that the article ‘Symbols into soldiers: Art, censorship, and religion’ which we published in 2012 illustrates this. See: http://artsfreedom.org/?p=3358

    Best regards,
    Mik Aidt
    Web editor

  3. George says:

    These protests date to the 1940s. There really is no such thing as a “Judeo-Christian” is there?

 

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