In case you missed it, the story out of Missoula, Montana featuring an anonymous letter critical of a school holiday program, garnered some national attention.
National Review Online pointed out that the letter sent to Chief Charlo Elementary School in Missoula, allegedly from parents, called Christmas music a “form of bullying,” and also contained some ironic inconsistencies:
These may well be the oddest pair of sentences that have ever been written on the subject. If I understand it correctly, it’s acceptable for the children to say the word “Christ” providing that it is followed immediately by the word “mas” — and there is “no problem” with that word being used to describe the concert. If, however, “Christ” is preceded by the word “Jesus,” then the children of Missoula County will come over all peculiar and the Constitution will fall. “Lord” and “savior” are right out, but “Santa Claus,” based on an actual Christian saint of the fourth century, is fine. Got it.
Oddly enough, this was the trivial type of concern that was being debated about our schools on Friday morning. By Friday afternoon, I imagine this anonymous group of parents forgot all about “Frosty the Snowman” and were instead asking that someone (maybe God?) protects all of our kids.
The musical Darwinists are back in the anti-Christmas spirit, this time in Missoula, Montana as a letter allegedly written by concerned parents was sent to school administrators complaining about the school Christmas program.
Betsy Cohen has the story:
A group of parents at Chief Charlo Elementary School are so upset over the selection of songs for the school’s holiday music program they are considering legal counsel.
“With many of the children in our neighborhood up here being Jewish and Buddhist, as well as a few Muslim and atheist students, we were assured that this year it would be a secular program,” said the letter, which was signed by “concerned parents” but listed no individual names.
Tim Tharp, Superintendent of Schools in Sunburst, Montana offered this great response to the story:
My wife is a music teacher and I and my kids are all musicians; plus I have just a bit of experience in dealing with this topic as my wife has taught music in Whitehall, Flaxville, Outlook, Brady, Great Falls, and now Sunburst. The issue of use of sacred music in school has been fought in the courts many times. What it comes down to is that a great deal of the quality instructional music that provides an opportunity to learn musicianship IS historically sacred. The secular music that is popular is so easy to sing that there is not much educationally to be learned by performing such music. Frosty the Snowman is not arranged in four-part harmony with key-signature changes that force a musician to pay attention to what they are performing.
I looked through the list of songs performed at the K-3 and 4-5 programs and I agree with Mr. Combs, I find them to be SIGNIFICANTLY secular. In fact, it is WAY more secular than anything that you might see in one of our Class B or C schools in the state.
Furthermore, I believe that anonymous letters should go directly to the shredder. And a letter from a group of ‘concerned parents’ who are ‘talking to legal council’ should probably take the time to hit F7 to spell check their letter so that it is addressed to the Superintendent before they contact legal counsel. Correct spelling plus a few more correctly capitalized words might give the letter a little more credibility.
For the record, the school also included a Hanukkah song in the program. I doubt it was this secular version: