"The Devil Went Down to Georgia"
ggarman at sunnetworks.net
Sun Oct 16 22:54:38 PDT 2005
The Founding Fathers severely limited religion influence in respect to
public office when they commanded: "no religious test shall ever be
required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the
The First Congress severely limited the power of Congress in respect to
religion when it commanded: "Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion." Note, the constitutional word is "religion,"
"The federal constitution ... forbids Congress ever to establish any
kind of religion, or require any religious test to qualify any officer
in any department of federal government. Let a man be Pagan, Turk, Jew
or Christian, he is eligible to any post in that government" (Baptist
Preacher John Leland, Orange County neighbor of James Madison, 1791).
L.F. Greene, Writings of Elder John Leland.
Likewise, public schools can teach music from all of the world's
cultures and traditions. I merely suggest the constitutional concern
relates more to the predominant use of "Christian" music, the absence of
which, I submit, would not severely limit music instruction any more
than would the absence of music from any of the world's great or small
religions. Christians may flatter themselves in regard to "Christian"
music, but better to be constitutionally wise than to flaunt religion
preference in a public institution owned by citizens of all religions
and of none.
The Constitution's religion commandments were created from the wisdom of
men honed by experience in respect to religion and government.
Government is the essence of coercion. The Reverend John Leland
understood the constitutional principle and wisdom of voluntarism in
matters of religion (no test and no law), and the memorial monument to
Leland and Madison near Orange, Virginia, marks the spot where they met
to discuss religion freedom. The significance of their wisdom and the
social harmony generated therefrom is expressed and embodied in the
Constitution's religion commandments. Public school music programs
should be just as wise.
JMHACLJ at aol.com wrote:
> In a message dated 10/16/2005 9:57:34 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
> ggarman at sunnetworks.net writes:
> Most public school music instructors are probably not familiar
> with music traditions outside those common to the majority,
> nevertheless it is not the business of government, at any level,
> to establish religion of any kind. Because public schools are not
> churches, it would be constitutionally wiser for public school
> music programs to use music not related to any religion.
> The problem of course is that it takes a while to develop a
> "tradition" in music or other arts. Consequently, if you begin by
> emptying the field of permissibly taught sacred music (taught for its
> style, form, expression), then you severely limit the instructional
> choices. Of course, I am sure that it can be done; but the issue is
> must it?
> Jim Henderson
> Senior Counsel
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