Friday, March 27, 2009

Oh My God! Religious Song Learned In Public School!

(bumped up and updated)

Are people who make these asinine complaints really and truly mortified, or do they just make these complaints because they can get people to give in to them and hence make them feel as if they have some small amount of power?

The parents of two third-graders have sued the St. Johns County School Board over a religious-themed song their teacher planned to have their class sing at an end-of-year program.

Teaching the song, “In God We Still Trust,” amounts to religious indoctrination and interferes with the parents’ right to raise their children according to their own beliefs, the lawsuit says.

The district’s superintendent pulled the song after receiving a complaint from a parent hours before the lawsuit was filed last week in federal court, a school district spokeswoman said.

But the parents’ lawyer said they are still entitled to damages because their children were required to learn the song. They are seeking to bar the school district from the “religious instruction” the song represents...

School Board attorney David Marsey said in his response to the lawsuit that the issue differs from the battle over school-sponsored prayer because public school choirs historically have been permitted to sing religious songs. Courts have held that a choral curriculum can be expected to include religious songs because a significant percentage of choral music is based on religious themes or texts, Marsey said.

“Simply, a public school ... does not endorse religion because its choir sings a Christian song,” Marsey said.

When did we get so weak, that causing (faux) offense is the worst offense? When did we become such pansies?

Update, 3/27/09: This seems eminently reasonable to me:

A federal judge has dismissed the claims of a parent who wanted to remove the words "under God" from the Texas pledge of allegiance recited each morning by public schoolchildren.

U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade ruled Thursday the state pledge may continue to reference God because the national pledge and four other states reference God or divine grace in their pledge, The Dallas Morning News reported Friday.

"A voluntary recitation of the Texas Pledge of Allegiance simply does not coerce students in the same way a school-sponsored prayer might," Kinkeade wrote in his opinion. (boldface mine--Darren)
I add that the constitutions of all 50 states reference some form of deity.

And should the decisions someday go the other way, and courts rule that deities cannot even be recognized or identified in school based on some faulty interpretation of the 1st Amendment, then we'll need to start renaming some cities, too. San Francisco (Saint Francis) and Los Angeles (the angels) should be first on the list.


Ellen K said...

So...have they sued the state since they live in SAINT JOHN'S COUNTY???? Last I heard, a saint was a religious believe who achieves a high level of virtue. Doesn't THAT have something to do with religion?

Ellen K said...

PS. The best high school choir concert I attended included Handel's "Messiah" as the finale. They also featured choral works based on gospel songs, on African ceremonial songs and "Ave Maria."

Eric said...

Dang it! Ellen beat me to it regarding "St. Johns County."

Anonymous said...

Maybe JP Moreland can speak to your question: " [...] it’s because people have stopped living for a larger purpose and are obsessed with personal satisfaction. Pleasure has replaced purpose, a flat stomach is preferred to character and meaning."

PeggyU said...

Jeez! What kind of a jerk do you have to be to go running to a lawyer over something like this? Glad they're not my neighbors.

Christian Soldier said...

Lyrics from the sweet, innocent, humble, non-provocative song:

Now there are those among us, who want to push Him out,
And erase His name from everything, this country's all about,
From the Schoolhouse to the Courthouse, they're Silencing His Word,
Now it's time for all Believers, to make our Voices heard.

How could any reasonable atheist object? There's no Culture War provocation here.

Give. me. a. break!

Donalbain said...

Of course, you would be fine if they were being taught to recite Islamic prayers?

Mrs. C said...

My son's ps orchestra does some religious stuff, but of course the words aren't in the music. :]

FWIW they also do movie songs and stuff like that that I would *never* teach my child were I homeschooling. But unless they ask him to write a prayer to Ra (yep, it's happened!), I don't complain because we live in an entire world where everyone doesn't have to think *exactly* like us. :]

Darren said...

It's a song, not a prayer. And if a song mentioned Allah, and Allah were recognized by a large majority of our population/culture, I'd accept it as reasonable. But that's not the case here, is it, Donalbain?

Donalbain said...

This is a prayer. Singing something does not stop it being a prayer. It is also a staggeringly sectarian prayer.

And the majority opinion doesn't matter. The courts have long held that prayers in schools that are led by the school are not acceptable. If there is just ONE atheist child in the class, that child is being placed in an unecessarily difficult situation. There simply is no excuse for this.

The reason this is being done is simply so that the school can paint themselves as the victims now that the inevitable lawsuit has been filed. Just one more example of the pretend persecution of Christians.

KauaiMark said...

PeggyU wants to know: "What kind of a jerk do you have to be to go running to a lawyer"

The jerk probably IS a lawyer so it probably doesn't cost him anything.

...and a payday if he wins?

Anonymous said...

The lyrics are clearly a Christian culture "throw-down."
How can anyone defend such nonsense being forcibly programmed into school children?

Darren said...

The kids weren't forced to sing it.

And it's not a prayer. You can choose to conflate them if that fits your narrative, but saying the Earth is flat doesn't make it so.

Ellen K said...

Most schools offer a wide range of choral music. I have heard tribal songs, African war chants, and yes, Handel's Messiah. Donalbain may not like it, but the large bulk of wester contemporary music was composed by and for the Church. Maybe he should explore why this type of music has dominated all areas of opera, theater and visual arts instead of railing against it. There is precious little Islamic choral music out there because THEY DON'T DO IT. In fact other than the call to prayers, many conservative Islamist abhor ALL music even radios.

Donalbain said...

It is a prayer. Many prayers are sung. But let's pretend for a moment that it is NOT a prayer. It is still a massively sectarian endorsement of a particular religion. It is led by the school and children who do not feel comfortable engaging in the statements of the song were going to be punished by the school.

Now, you can defend that if you like, but you know that if the religious position being promoted was Islam, you would be against it. And in fact, you have been against it in a number of your previous posts.

Darren said...

It's not a prayer, and the students weren't punished.

Donalbain said...

OK.. so you can't look at a definition of "prayer". That is one thing.

But yes, the children WERE punished. Those who felt uncomfortable singing that song were told they could not take part in the performance at all. That is a punishment.

But I am not expecting honesty, or consistency here. After all, this is all just an attempt to rally the faithful behind the age old nonsense claim that Christians are being persecuted. The school backed down for a very simple reason, they knew they would lose. But they did it so that they could make a big show of how hard done by they were.

Darren said...

Your mind-reading skills are impressive.

Darren said...

I'm curious: does your money still say Elizabeth II F.D. on it? If so, how can you possibly stand it? The horrible compulsion to carry something that mentions a god--it must be unbearable.

Ellen K said...

The kook in the Dallas area has kids enrolled in the same district my kids attended. The thing is that the school policy is that students may opt out of programs that go against religious views. So his children could forego the pledge and simply stand in respect or he can be a big old pain in the rear and create a situation where his kids will be socially stigmatized for years to come. This isn't the first time he's made complaints. He sees conspiracies EVERYWHERE. In short, he's a nutjob that is penalizing all students for his narrow personal needs.

Ellen K said...

So, could a Christian child refuse to sing a Jewish song? How about an African song with animist leanings? What about a song that mentions God? If we kick out all the songs that a miniscule number of people oppose, often due to their own narrow-mindedness, what the hell would be left to sing besides rap and atonal music from such as "The Planets?"

Donalbain said...

Well, since Darren recently complained about children being punished for refusing to pray to Allah in a roleplay, we know his views on this matter.

What? You mean he thinks that is wrong to punish kids for that, but not for this? But that would be staggeringly inconsistent and verging on dishonest..

Darren said...

It's not inconsistent at all, and you're resuming your usual role as troll here.