Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Some People Just Want To Be Offended

Ok. I am Muslim and I LOVE Christmas time. My immigrant parents LOVED Christmas when I was a kid. We got a tree every year, exchanged gifts with family and friends, sang Christmas carols in the school choir and sent Christmas cards. And we all say Merry Christmas.
Any stupid crybaby "offended" by Christmas needs to be kicked in the teeth.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was almost grounded at Murrayville Elementary School this week after a parent complained about the classic Christmas song’s inclusion in her daughter’s upcoming kindergarten concert.

Lyrics to Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerRudolph, the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose. And if you ever saw him, you would even say it glows. All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names. They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games. Then one foggy Christmas Eve Santa came to say: “Rudolph with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?” Then all the reindeer loved him as they shouted out with glee, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, you’ll go down in history!

The objecting parent was upset about the words “Christmas” and “Santa” in the song, feeling that they carried religious overtones.

That prompted the song to be pulled from the upcoming holiday concert, which in turn upset more parents.

But Rudolph will be shining bright next Tuesday after New Hanover County school dministrators and lawyers determined the song was just, well, a secular song about a make-believe reindeer.

“They’ve determined that it signifies just a day in time, Dec. 25, not the promotion of a religious symbol,” said Ed Higgins, chairman of the county Board of Education. “So Rudolph is back in.” School officials also found the use of “Santa” to be okay because he’s considered a nonreligious figure.

The kindergarten chorus’ holiday concert for the school’s PTA will now include Rudolph along with the songs “Winter Wonderland,” a snowman rap and “Jingle Bells.”

“They have clearly decided that any other religion or custom is not important,” the objecting parent said after learning about the reversal on “Rudolph.” She asked that her name not be published, to shield her daughter’s identity.

The mother, who is Jewish, said she was trying to have a Hanukkah song added to the musical lineup but had not received a return phone call about it from school officials by mid-afternoon Friday.

Sean Dwyer, whose daughter is also in the kindergarten class, had complained Friday morning about Rudolph getting muzzled. Friday afternoon he said he thought school officials had made the right call by reinstating the popular Christmas song.

“It wasn’t my point in the beginning whether it was about religion or not,” Dwyer said. “The children have been learning this for weeks, and some person was trying to push their own personal feeling and agenda for this for their own child alone, and you just don’t do that.” But until late Friday morning, Rudolph wasn’t going anywhere.

Murrayville Principal Julie Duclos said the school decided to pull the song after the parent complained “to make sure that we were actually paying attention to everybody’s interest, that we were not choosing somebody’s interest over another.”

“If we had enough time in the PTA program to sing a song for every single interest and value system, then we could do it,” she said. “But when you can’t do that, you go to universal values that are agreed on by every faith, every denomination. We wouldn’t want to leave anybody out.” Though concert participation is not mandatory, students had been practicing the songs during school hours in their music class.

The objecting parent said that she spoke to Duclos about keeping the program about education and having fun, without any religious references. She sees the beauty in the Christmas celebration, she said, but believes religious holidays have no place in a secular public school setting.

“I don’t mind Christmas or anything Christmas-related at all, so long as you’re not imposing it on my child,” the objecting parent said Friday morning.

Contacted about the matter Friday morning, Higgins was surprised and more than a little irritated by the school’s decision to drop Rudolph from the musical event.

“I thought we were getting to the point where people would live and let live,” he said, openly wondering about how a few words in a holiday song about a magical reindeer could influence a child’s religious development. But Rabbi Harley Karz-Wagman, with Wilmington’s Temple of Israel, said non-Christians are overwhelmed this time of year [which non-Christians? - speak for yourself Rabbi]. “I can understand the feelings the parent has,” he said, although he added that he personally didn’t have a problem with Rudolph.

Schools spokeswoman Valita Quattlebaum said the district usually gets at least one complaint a year about some aspect of how the holidays are being celebrated in the schools. But Stephanie Kraybill, head of the Council of PTAs, said she’s never heard of a parent complaining about Christmas songs in the schools before. She said she remembers some parents expressing concerns about classroom decorations and holiday celebrations needing to include examples of all of the season’s holidays, not just Christmas. “But not about Christmas carols,” Kraybill said.

18 Comments:

At 9:00 PM, December 10, 2008 , Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

12 10 08


My Goodness. There was a Jewish teacher at one of my elementary schools as a child in ghetto East Oakland back in the day. While we all sang Christmas songs, he had his class sing Hannukah Festival of Lights. It was a catchy tune and you shoulda seen all of us ghetto Black kids asking our parents if we could celebrate Hannukah and get more presents. I think that this lady is off of her rocker and that the PC police is just ridiculous. With that said, she shoulda requested a Hannukah song and Muslims coulda requested a song for Rammadan. I don't really think those requests could be refused and if they were, then that would be reason to make a stink! Heh!

 
At 10:42 AM, December 11, 2008 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Mahndisa, why do you think it's necessary to include Muslim and Jewish songs?

This is a largely Christian nation and this time of year is special because of Christmas - not because of Hanukkah. And not because of "winter solstice".

I guess I don't really understand what the big deal is or why anyone insists on being offended by that.

 
At 9:02 PM, December 13, 2008 , Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

12 10 08

II: This nation has a Christian heritage. However, we live in a pluralistic nation. In the East Oakland ghetto, most kids were Christian or Black Muslim, with a touch of Sunni Muslim. If we are to really believe in the separation of church and state, it could be argued that we don't need to celebrate relgious holidays in publically funded schools at all. But such an argument doesn't take into account traditions and would be too hard assed. Nobody complained when that teacher made those kids sing Hannukah songs and I don't think folk would complain about a Rammadan song either. But I don't think I have ever been to nor heard a Rammadan celebration. One of my buddies was Muslim back in the day and he lost twenty pounds fasting for Rammadan.

 
At 5:12 PM, December 19, 2008 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

I suppose if I visited Italy and was "offended" by all the attention given to the "Pope", then I would be seen as the person who was a supreme narcisist and rightly so.

It should not be about how "one persons feelings" should dominate the majority interest and fun, it should be about "when in Rome, do as the Romans do..." and don't try to silence the Romans for doing what they do!

 
At 5:19 PM, December 19, 2008 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

P.S.

If I go to a foreign country and the tradition at their school was for my child to take off his shoes and sit on a prayer rug at lunch time, then I would do ask my son to do it out of respect for their traditions.

I would not be "offended" and request that the rest of the school do it a "secular" way or "my" way just because I don't want my son to be "exposed" to the dominate culture.

What a self centerd bunch of hogwash! Most Jews I know love the "spirit" of giving at Christmas. You don't have to be Christian to get into the festive mood of "good will towards all."

 
At 8:28 AM, December 21, 2008 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Mahndisa,

The so-called separation of church and state is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. It was created by the judiciary and caught hold even though there was no legal basis for it.

One must wonder what is accomplished by separating church from state.

Aren't we simply replacing the religion of God with the religion of secularism? It is odd to me that people are so militant about the separation of church and state that their hatred of religion has become a religion.

We're not supposed to teach evolution in school because it's unscientific, but we're supposed to teach that a kid can have two mommies or two daddies in the name of tolerance even though the latter is equally unscientific.

God v. Satan.

 
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