"Silent Night" controversy
stcynic at crystalauto.com
Thu Dec 15 07:26:05 PST 2005
Rick Duncan wrote:
>Richard is on to something here. The school play was
>trying to hijack Silent Night and convert it into a
>kind of easter bunny.
Do you really think that was the intent here? Is that the intent when
churches perform the same play with their young children?
>It is one thing for a public school to perform a
>harmless little play about a cold and lonely christmas
>tree. It is quite another thing for a school to
>perform a play that takes songs that mean a great deal
>to people who think Christmas is a religious holiday,
>and convert those songs into secular holiday muzak.
Except that all of the songs use familiar Christmas carol melodies, some
of which were not religious in the first place. Were they also trying to
secularize the already secular, or were they doing what is commonly done
in lots of music written for very young children, which is take melodies
they're already familiar with and build new songs around them? Do you
really think that Dwight Elrich, who composed this little musical and is
the musical director of the New Covenant Singers and the Bel Air
Presbyterian Church, was part of the conspiracy against Christmas, or
was he just trying to do a cute musical for kids using familiar carol
melodies, some of them religious and some of them not?
The problem I have with all of this is that there is a reasonable
interpretation of this and an unreasonable one. Mat Staver went with the
most unreasonable one, the one that paints the author of the musical and
the teachers at the school in the most evil possible light, and then
threatened a Federal lawsuit that even in your own view had little
chance of success in order to intimidate the school into caving in.
I would also note that if the standard by which one judges such
incidents is whether schools are celebrating aspects of Christmas that
are cultural in nature rather than religious, then by that standard they
should be threatening lawsuits wherever a school uses Santa, reindeer,
Christmas trees, strings of popcorn and virtually everything other than
an advent candle and a nativity scene. All of those things are secular
aspects of what, for Christians, is an explicitly religious holiday and
are thus an "attempt to convert the religious into the secular".
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