Now, I am not that parent who wants to ban all religious references in schools. Indeed, I'm grateful that students learn about other faiths, customs and practices. But that line is breached in a public school when teaching crosses over to promoting one faith above others. That song might not have technically violated any rules, but its celebration of Baby Jesus came awfully close.
I didn't make any headway with the music teacher that year, but I apparently made an impression on the principal.
"I remember our talk every year," he told me recently, saying that he doesn't even look at the titles anymore, but goes right to the lyrics to make sure the selections are appropriate. He showed me one piece of music in which an entire stanza referring to "Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior" was crossed out. Even so, this guy just can't win. Now he takes calls, he told me, from parents upset that the school is taking out all the Christmas songs.
It's easy to see how every step of one person's progress looks like a move in the wrong direction for others. But I'd like to believe that's it's not that hard to be more considerate of others. In a culture that strives to promote diversity, it just makes sense to be sensitive and respectful to all members of any particular group. It may take some extra effort to be inclusive, but that can only stand to broaden perspectives and benefit everyone.
Until then, I wish everyone a Merry Hanukkah, a Happy Christmas, Namaste and As-Salamu Alaikum. Think they could squeeze all that on a Hallmark card?
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