Published On: Thu, Dec 8th, 2011

Christmas, I Mean Holiday, Music: op-ed by student, take Jesus, Santa out of Christmas

This is an op-ed by a 16 year-old high school student Colin Curran in New Jersey (posted by the Huffington Post)

Note the direction of the music director at the school:  “advisor stated the songs could not include the words: Christmas, Chanukah, Jesus, God, or Santa Clause” – yes, it should be Claus.

Wow…no Jesus or Santa – what’s left?

photo I, Briho

Getting the assignment of creating the music playlist for the holiday breakfast sounded like an easy job. I am on student council at my school and every year we host a holiday breakfast for young children. I thought my assignment, to create a playlist on my iPod of holiday music, would take about 10 minutes to complete. That is until our advisor stated the songs could not include the words: Christmas, Chanukah, Jesus, God, or Santa Clause. Though she did not specifically mention Kwanza, I am pretty sure she would not be happy if I included a reference to that specific holiday either. I questioned the logic behind these restrictions and was informed that since we live in an area with many different cultures, our principal does not want to offend anyone with belief-specific music.

Before I started work on this project, I asked the principal if I could create a playlist that equally represented each holiday and religion. This seemed a reasonable way to not offend a particular group and also a way to make my job easier. The principal denied my request, though I still do not understand why. Can people really be that sensitive?

I understand that people have different beliefs, but is the mention of Santa in a song really going to challenge someone’s belief set? Will the mention of the celebration of a holiday by one religious group mean that another religious group’s holiday is less important? Are people today really that sensitive? The people I spoke with did not care if they heard songs that mention Santa or Chanukah as long as the songs were festive and upbeat. They did not feel threatened, neglected or left out by a music selection. Are a few people beginning to dictate what we can all say, do and listen to?

In my mind, Santa is not a religious figure and even though Christmas has a religious meaning, a song that mentions the holiday at a breakfast for little kids, who do not even pay attention to the music, is hardly going to have a lasting negative impact. I can understand not being allowed to include more religious songs like “Silent Night” or “Oh Holy Night” on my playlist, but not including “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” or “Frosty the Snowman” because of the one time they say Christmas or Santa is ridiculous. It is my belief that six and seven-year-olds are too young to understand the full meaning of what they are listening to and are really not relying on the music to create or challenge their beliefs. When I was a kid, all I remember wanting to listen to were the songs that sounded fun and made me happy. I am 16 and have been a Christian all my life and I love listening to the “Chanukah Song” by Adam Sandler or every once in a while listening to “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel.” It seems to me the parents are the ones that make a big issue out of small things, bringing unnecessary attention to songs and ruining the fun for everyone. With all the restrictions I was given, the playlist I have made is pretty pathetic.

After a search on Thanksgiving Day, my whole family was able to come up with a total of nine songs that do not include any of the forbidden words. These songs total only forty minutes of play time. Another part of my assignment was to make the playlist that was at least an hour long, I was in a bit of trouble. To fill up the remaining time, I added different versions of the same songs and then instrumentals of songs that actually contain the word Christmas or Santa. Can anyone be offended by an instrumental of a song that may mention a fictional children’s character? I guess I will find out.

Full post here

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- Stories transferred over from The Desk of Brian where the original author was not determined and the content is still of interest of Dispatch readers.

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