In addition to all of them being very well done, Christmas concerts in this area over the past month shared something else in common—they did not steer clear of songs which mentioned the real reason for the season.
The Tri-County News was represented at just about every Christmas concert held in the local schools. While perhaps not true of every one of those, the majority had songs which mentioned God, Jesus, angels, etc. That included an audience sing-along of two such songs at one concert, the singing of songs such as “Ding, Dong Merrily on High” and “The First Noel” at another, and an instrumental version of “Joy to the World” at yet another. All of these examples, by the way, were at local public schools.
People around here might say, “What’s the big deal?,” but public school districts in many places do avoid the issue and might even be aghast to see how things are done here.
Kudos to local school teachers and officials who see this as no big deal. Educators ought to know that they have something on their side which is a pretty big deal—the U.S. Constitution.
Columnist Dr. Harold Pease recently wrote, “It might surprise some to learn that the Constitution does not allow the government to prevent you from doing in public—even at school—most things that you do at home. The constitutionally ill-informed like to refer to the ‘separation of church and state’ as the rationale for a prohibition of religious or seasonal expression in public places. No such language exists in the Constitution. To prevent you from doing these things would be as unconstitutional as mandating that you do them.”
Dr. Pease added, “Yes, you might get a letter from the ACLU threatening your ‘free exercise thereof’ of religion but the Supreme Court has never upheld their view—in fact, the opposite has been established in case after case. Because they have been successful in creating the opposite public impression, they can bully and bluster the ignorant into forfeiting their constitutional rights. And this they do.”
But that has not happened around here, and it is one more reason why this is a great place to live and to raise a family. —Mark Sherry