December 21, 2011

If a public school does a seasonal, multicultural concert with songs like "Feliz Navidad" and "Hava Nagila"...

... can it remove the song "Raghupati Ragava Raja Ram" — which refers to the Hindu gods Sita and Rama and contains the line "God or Allah is your name" — after various parents complain?

If you think it's unconstitutional, is it a violation of free speech, freedom of religion, or the Establishment Clause?

130 comments:

Paul said...

The Constitution says FREEDOM OF RELIGION. It does not say freedom FROM religion. Never ever did it say that.

And that is why having 'In God We Trust' is quite legal to have on coins and other denominations.

Sadly our government officials, and liberals, have no clue of what the constitution really says.

They view the Constitution as a 'living document' they can change as their views change. And that is wrong.

Oligonicella said...

Paul, pedantry is the last resort of the poor arguer. By your terms, "Under Ba'al" would be fine.

So tell me. Why doesn't our currency reflect the various gods worshipped within the US?

Dave said...

I can't see how the parents can complain. The real problem here is that the government has usurped the role of educator from the parents in the first place.

Daniel5000 said...

I believe this is unconstitutional. The school is removing the song because of its content and message. It is therefore favoring certain religions over other, in violation of the establishment clause of the first amendment of the bill of rights.

I do not think counterarguments--Feliz Navidad and Hava Nagila are secular (they do not mention god), or that the Hindu song is "disruptive" to the school environment--would be availing. It is troubling when a public school chooses what religions to favor. I would be open to other counter-arguments that I did not think of, however.

Edgehopper said...

To paraphrase a co-worker...Companies are being extorted and shut down for infringing ridiculous patents due to an unintentional result of a 1930's trade law and the legal issue of the day is which songs some grade schoolers are singing?

Aside from the rightness of their cause, you would think there are more pressing violations of civil rights for the ACLU to look into.

Christopher in MA said...

I'd disagree, Paul. The left knows exactly what the Constitution says. They just don't like it.

In any event, the story is oddly worded. Was the Hindu song the only one to mention "God?" If so, then it should have been pulled. No Christ, no Sita. If there was an "Ave Maria" or "Once In Royal David's City," then the Hindu song should be there as well.

traditionalguy said...

The Establishment Clause.

Michael said...

This is where multi-culti leads us, to a place where everyone is furious. Is the offending song a seasonal song or was it thrown in because there are Indian kids in attendance? If it is not a seasonal Indian song then why is it in the program?

We are completely fucked. Is it constitutional, asks the law professor. Who cares reply the citizens.

Freeman Hunt said...

Heh. I am just picturing having to sit through this concert.

pm317 said...

Why did the parents object to it? Because it says God (or Rama) and Allah? That is ridiculous. The song is about unity, unity of Hindus and Muslims, used during a tumultuous time in Indian history. Gandhi used it for his many marches during independence movement. Without such sentiments of unity, India would be a cauldron like Pakistan.

Parents could use this song and the moment in history to teach something valuable to the children. But they seem ignorant and ignorance breeds hate.

Dan in Philly said...

Ouch. This one is a breaker.

pm317 said...

Freeman Hunt said...

Heh. I am just picturing having to sit through this concert.
--------------

I love to listen to Hava Nagila.. Raghupati Raghava was set to music by a master musician of the times. 'youtube' it!

Scott M said...

and ignorance breeds hate

It also breeds more enjoyment in twist-ending movies.

pm317 said...

I should add to my previous comment I am not even into Gods and religion.

Freeman Hunt said...

I love to listen to Hava Nagila..

But do you love it sung by elementary school students?

prairie wind said...

I'm listening to the song and thinking it is kind of pretty. I have no objection to school children learning songs from other cultures or other faiths. What I dislike is the namby-pamby "world peace" crap songs my kids sang all through grade school. Terrible lyrics.

We've always had a large number of Indian families at our schools, so the song would have been fine. The Indian kids would have loved the chance to share the song with their classmates.

In the last few years, I have heard more Christian songs at school concerts, though most of those songs are Negro spirituals...an accepted multi-cultural category. Catholic latin hymns have been heard, too, so I call that progress.

Curious George said...

"Freeman Hunt said...
Heh. I am just picturing having to sit through this concert."

Been there done that. And without a smartphone to entertain myself. Nope, we did it old school. We watched.

Dave said...

By enforcing participation in school and through the multicultural inclusion of anybody and everybody we have the government promoting indifferentism. This heresy offends everyone who actually cares about their religion.
Reason we have so many conflicts between state and citizen in education is that the state has overreached imposing it's PC doctrine on children. If you're wealthy enough or you homeschool you can save your kids. The government should not interfere with education at all, beyond safety regulations.

Chip S. said...

By the time a school has included a song from every possible religious--or atheist--tradition, a simple holiday concert could take an entire school day, or more.

Let the kids sing about sleigh rides and jingling bells and leave the devotional songs to the home, where they belong.

But AFAIK, "Hava Nagila" is just a song about being happy. I'm not aware that it has any religious connotation at all. And who doesn't love the hora?

prairie wind said...

But do you love it sung by elementary school students?

Too funny, Freeman. The best part of grade school concerts is just watching the kids.

pm317 said...

Freeman Hunt said...

I love to listen to Hava Nagila..

But do you love it sung by elementary school students?
--------------

Oh, that is what you meant.. I can probably stand that for a few minutes. :)

MadisonMan said...

Freeman Hunt: Exactly.

There is nothing more ear-bleed-worthy than elementary school kids in a forced-to-do-it concert. (shudder). I can't imagine that teachers like to do this.

It's cute the first time you see it, when your youngest is in 1st grade. Then a severe law of diminishing returns sets in.

By the time they are Seniors, the music becomes enjoyable.

Scott M said...

You understand that it's inevitable and completely beyond anyone's control, right?

Hava Nagila,
Have-two Nagilas,
Have-three Nagilas,
They're good on toast.

David said...

Freeman is right. These concerts are torture to begin with. Now you have to listen to songs from every religious (?) group that applies. Probably not all catchy tunes. And the cuteness of the little darlings wears thin.

Thus I believe that these concerts are unconstitutional.

Cruel and Unusual punishment.

Ralph L said...

It's a crime to make children sing in Urdu, but it isn't unconstitutional.

wv - reblahi Considering the way their food tastes, you'd think Indian music wouldn't be so reblahi.

Chip S. said...

Freeman is right.

Apparently neither one of you has seen "The Music Man."

MadisonMan said...

Apparently neither one of you has seen "The Music Man."

Of course we have. And we're also Sadder but Wiser for having seen grade-school concerts.

pm317 said...

It's a crime to make children sing in Urdu, but it isn't unconstitutional.
--------------

'Raghupati..' is in Hindi (not Urdu). But I agree, it would be unkind to make those children sing it.

AprilApple said...

We don't want to confuse our children at Christmas time. And we certainly do not want to give parents any decision making power. All decisions must be made by pc bureaucrats and the culture police.
In order to keep our children properly managed by a government that knows best, at Christmas time, the children must sing a song about each and every religion on the face of the planet so as not to single out Christianity, at Christmas time.

Salamandyr said...

Is there a seasonal point to the song, the way there is for Feliz Navidad and Hava Nagila? Does the school population include a significant, or even any Hindu or Buddhist students?

Why was the song included? If the song has seasonal impact and is important to a portion of the student body, then it should be included. If it's just there to provide some multi-culti salve to various egos bruised by the overt recognition of Christmas, then yank it out. Not certain this is a Constitutional issue at all.

Shanna said...

Heh. I am just picturing having to sit through this concert.

OMG Freeman!

South Park's original christmas episode, still relevant after 15 years!

DerTakhsit said...

I have been baffled for years by how frightened some Christians seem to be. They seem to want their public schools to take responsibility for their children's religious educations, and likewise believe their own children's hold on their faith could be weakened so easily. I've managed my to provide my kids with a decent Jewish education and an understanding of our faith's relationship to God without our public school's help. Of course, what they make of that is, in the end, their own business.

X said...

How can fringe religions compete if they can't freeload on the popularity of the Christmas season? Obviously they can't on their own.

traditionalguy said...

According to the SCOTUS, Public School choices must be between strictly no Christian words or thoughts at all, or an equal billing to all the world's religions and their words and thoughts. Otherwise it snags the Establishment Clause, they say.

They are saying no baby without a million gallons of bath water along with it, hoping that the poison pill they set up will eliminate Christianity without the nine Philosopher Kings For Life being seen as the Anti-Christ force that required it.

Newt has the only challenger to such attacks since they started in 1962. Hmmm.

t-man said...

Our middle school's "Winter Concert" featured 2 (out of 8) Kwaanza songs. Try listening to a group of 13 and 14 year olds, 95% white, singing the awful song "I'll Be a Child of Kwaanza" after a discussion explaining that one of the seven principles of Kwaanza (in addition to "cooperative economics") is unity of the race.

The mandatory discussion of Channukah spoke about the lamp miraculously burning for days, the discussion of Eid spoke about Allah, but Jesus was left completely unmentioned in the entire program.

The whole thing was appalling

eli b. said...

Hava Nagila makes absolutely no reference to any deity. We all know to what event and holiday Navidad is referring to. As far as I'm concerned I don't see how you ban the Hindu/Muslim togetherness song but not Navidad and our still in compliance with the Constitution.
It's quite silly: there is no reason to freeze any religion out of the debate, be it Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, or whatever else they've got out there

rhhardin said...

I suppose the Christmas Oratorio is out. Bach contaminated so much of his music with gods.

Maybe an allemande could represent white culture.

The Crack Emcee said...

Public schools shouldn't be doing seasonal, multicultural concerts since - like legalized drugs - few in this country are mature enough to handle them. The religious nuts, the racists - fuck all of them:

You get NOTHING.

Now go home and stew about it, losers,...

Chip Ahoy said...

F.H., I was imagining sitting through it too. It looked like the bit in the Nutcracker where they do the dances of the world. With words. The picture vanished and I imagined breakfast.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

As long as the "multi cultural concert" does not completely erase or replace the traditional CHRISTMAS programs. I have no problem with it.

They can sing about whatever Gods, Goddesses, Totemic Creations they want. ON THEIR OWN TIME.

Christmas has been a traditional holiday for over two thousand years. There is no reason whatsoever to fuck around with it in the name of multi culturalism.

Perhaps there should be NO school sponsored "celebrations" of any kind......multi cultural or Christmas. Parents can send their children to the privately sponsored celebrations of their own choice.

A FREE MARKET solution.

Rose said...

Silly me. I thought Christmas was a blending of many winter/solstice, and yes, religious celebrations.

The trees, the druids, the festival of lights, the medieval gatherings of with feasts and yule logs, the Scandinavian gift-giving - in olden times, winter solstice was light in the darkness.

Now we have light at our fingertips, and freedom from the kind of hardship those people endured, and found reason to celebrate within, and we pick at hangnails and find reasons to hate and fight and whine and complain.

We are indeed at the end of our time. Weak. And sick. In the heads.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Is the offending song a seasonal song or was it thrown in because there are Indian kids in attendance? If it is not a seasonal Indian song then why is it in the program

Since the SEASON is CHRISTMAS....the insertion of any multicultural song that has nothing to do with CHRISTMAS is just a sop to multi culturalism since there is no Indian season of Christmas.

The answer is to stop all public school "seasonal" and all public school "multi cultural" presentations that cross over into religion. Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, Easter, Festivus (lol on that one)

Let the parents or the churches put on their own private pagents and STFU ACLU.

Keep the teachers and administrators out of it...Maybe they should concentrate on what their job is....teach a few things for a change. Get out of the social engineering.

Pogo said...

Multiculturalism is a fatal disease.

Hell, even the Brits are awakening to that.

edutcher said...

If memory serves, the popularization of Hanukkah began when Jewish kids felt left out around Christmas when all the Catholic and Protestant kids got stuff.

Before that, Hanukkah was a rather minor observance - without the Hanukkah Bush, so including Hava Nagila ("When hunger strikes, have a Nagila. Nagila Cookies and Crackers") is a bit of a stretch.

Including a Hindu song is absolutely mystifying since, in Inja, the only connection with Christmas would be that it's apparently Kosher for everybody to wish everybody else a Merry Christmas, whether they're Christian or not.

So, yes, it's perfectly Constitutional and Michael is right on the money.

Oligonicella said...

X --

"How can fringe religions compete if they can't freeload on the popularity of the Christmas season? Obviously they can't on their own."

How very cute and ignorant, considering that Christianity purposefully co-opted the Yule season for their own purposes.

Oligonicella said...

Dust Bunny Queen --

"Christmas has been a traditional holiday for over two thousand years."

No ma'am, it has not. Not even one thousand.

Now, if you're referring to Yule, then yes.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If my child were still in school and this was the program that the school was planning to put on for Christmas, I would find something else for us to do that day or that week and remove my child from school.

It is MY decision in what religion I want to raise my child.

It is also MY decision on at what age I want to introduce my child and educate on the beliefs and cultures of other countries.

Don't get me wrong. I strongly believe that children should be familiar with the customs, religions, culture, dress, toys, beliefs and even food of many cultures. It is good to know. To be able to compare. There is much to be learned and appreciated in other cultures.

However, it is up to ME to instill the cultural values etc of OUR culture and our family values, FIRST.... and without the bias brought by the teachers who are pushing progressive propaganda.

Schools are no longer functioning as a place to learn basic information. Reading, writing, historical facts, science, math. They are bastions of progressive propaganda and children graduate as functional illiterates.

Crippling generations of children, but by GOD or Shiva or something, they can sing a Kwanzaa song about a made up holiday. And chant Barak Obama...mmmm.mmmm.mmmm.

Shakespeare said: "First thing we do, is kill all the lawyers." I think it might be a toss up with public teachers and school administrators as who should go first.

Cancel all of these idiotic pagents and multi cultural bullshit. That includes Christmas pagents. Let the churches take over their legitimate function.

Dusty said...

If they want this seasonal and multicultural, rather than religious (which is what they're actually trying to avoid with the obtuse terminology, while, at the same time, deliberately organizing a satisfactorily PC multi-religion) event at Christmastime without directly referring to God, then they ought to just sing the same Jingle Bells in twenty different languages.

Hindu's have no religious Holiday in December.

jason said...

I'd have to insist that the Flying Spaghetti Monster Song be included.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4Q1zKDqngE

Sorry, but if you force kids to learn or respect religion in schools, then you must include all religions.

DerTakhsit said...

Hannukah became popular roughly around the turn of the century in the US because, although minor in our religious calendar, it roughly coincided with Christmas and grew into a gift giving holiday. It was an assimilation thing.

Memoirs and memories of Jews include a lot of references to fudging Christmas songs that mention God or refer to Christianity in some way. And this goes up through my childhood in the Seventies. Later inclusion in the spirit of multiculturalism notwithstanding.

For my own part, I could live with out schools singing Hannukah or Christmas songs.

And the pretense that a Christmas is a 'seasonal' or 'cultural' holiday strikes me as nonsense.

PatCA said...

I agree with Dust Bunny Queen and of course Pogo.

In the US we celebrate and even have a federal holiday called Christmas. Hindus and Jews get the day off, as well as Christians. We have never and do not celebrate "winter."

If the ACLU objects to non-Christmas celebrators (as many non-Christians do celebrate Christmas), being forced to learn about other cultures and their traditions, like Christmas, they are the ones who need a lesson in tolerance.

A commenter in the article says that the song is not as innocent as alleged--read his comment--so I think the parents are justified. I think all songs except Christmas songs should be disallowed and their cultures should be taught at some other appropriate time. Or non-celebrants should work on Christmas and I will honor their outrage.

prairie wind said...

Since the SEASON is CHRISTMAS....the insertion of any multicultural song that has nothing to do with CHRISTMAS is just a sop to multi culturalism since there is no Indian season of Christmas.

These are kids. They have a couple of concerts a year. Why not let the Indian kids revel in something familiar to them, even if it has nothing to do with Christmas and the concert happens to fall in December? I don't understand the furor.

The practical solution would be to have the concert before Thanksgiving and get it out of the December holiday season altogether. I would certainly appreciate fewer December events.

As for schools pushing Kwanza or Hinduism or Christianity...the kids know what is real and what is just the music teacher trying to find something that fits the curriculum jammed down her throat. My kids made fun of the stupid songs they had to sing. They liked things like Feliz Navidad or Hava Nagila because they have Hispanic and Jewish friends. They would be interested in the Indian song for that reason, too.

Any religion they practice as children is up to me. And if they go off and experiment with Hinduism as young adults, it won't be because they sang Raghupati Ragava Raja Ram at a concert adults insist on labeling a Christmas concert.

Chip S. said...

The practical solution would be to have the concert before Thanksgiving...

Yes! It would have the added advantage of taking the whole Pilgrim-harvest-thanks-to-the-almighty thing out of any Thanksgiving celebrations, too, by moving them to before Hallowe'en.

Shanna said...

I have been baffled for years by how frightened some Christians seem to be.

I think Christians are more irritated than ‘frightened’ and it’s because of things like this:

“The mandatory discussion of Channukah spoke about the lamp miraculously burning for days, the discussion of Eid spoke about Allah, but Jesus was left completely unmentioned in the entire program.”

I think songs should be chosen based on the strength of the songwriting and music rather than message.

traditionalguy said...

The comments are a discussion of a proper and reasonable solutions that meets the needs of interested parties. Would that were possible, but since 1962 the Constitution has been twisted to forbid religious expressions in public space.

The freedom from religion folks are in charge now. And 90% of the people want that to continue for fear of other gods getting airtime.

The irony is that Psychology Cults, Meditation, Yoga exercises, and Gaia and assorted pagan god's customs are being highly honored in schools in that dead air that this pathetic censorship method apparently has no power of stopping.

prairie wind said...

Yes, Chip, the slope is indeed slippery. Especially if you are depending on public schools to teach Christianity to your kids. I'm sure you aren't. Aren't they getting Christmas carols and Christmas pageants at church?

David said...

Remember, this stuff is boring to the kids too. They will learn to associate forced multiculturalism with boredom. That is a good thing.

Chip Ahoy said...

I am really glad this subject is brought up because I have these two deeply ingrained chants de Noël that keep bubbling up even when it's not Christmas and it's because of one person, a teacher, who distorted me this way unnecessarily. Plus he made us all wear berets and put on a show. It was very embarrassing, I was traumatized. And if you think that La marche des Rois and Il est né le divin enfant are not pure garbled white noise when sung by a child's choir of uninterested boys then I dare you to watch one on YouTube. They're good songs but it's torture, kids can't sing them so just stop it.

So can I sue? It's very troublesome having little bits bubble up all the time. There's proof. I know there are pictures because the flashes blinded and I'm still seeing those little sparkly things sometimes.

Scott M said...

Tell that to students/teachers in Texas, where biblethumpers just modified the curriculum to fit the baptist-mormon-dimwit agenda

Pendulums do tend to swing. The further you swing in one direction, the further to the other it's bound to go.

Hagar said...

Did Congress pass a law regarding this?

That said, God (Germanic), Allah (Arabic), and Yahweh (Hebrew) is all one and the same entity, and the translation given seems to inappropriately equate "God" with the Hindu pantheon. "God" and "god" is not the same thing.

Kirk Parker said...

Freeman,

Heh. Nobody says you have to pay attention. God gave our minds the ability to wander for a very good reason.


And regarding the song, I'm with Michael: let the Hindi song be part of the Holi, er, I mean, Spring Concert.

Chip S. said...

prairiewind--You can read my preference regarding these things in my comment @ 8:31.

Nobody's really asking the necessary prior question, which is why schools have these celebrations in the first place. I don't claim to know this with any sort of certainty, but I don't think the reason is to promote any religious views. I think they're held b/c the holiday is a major part of the social fabric of this country, and one of the reasons for public schools is to impart a certain sense of common civic culture. Well, that plus the fact that the holiday is pretty much what's on the kids' minds as school draws to a close. After all, the schools are going to be closed for over a week because of this holiday that must not be named. A concert like this is a way to end with a bang instead of a whimper.

Explicit religiosity--especially when it results in the requirement of representation for religions that have no holiday comparable to the one being celebrated--does not achieve any goal I can see for an in-school holiday celebration.

Chuck66 said...

On a simliar subject....I used to work for Best Buy. They (at least at that time) banned the phrase "Merry Christmas" from all company material. Signage, correspondance, advertisements, instore banners, etc.

But they allowed the use of "Feliz Navidad". Yes, Merry Christmas is banned by Best Buy if it is printed in English, but they allowed it to be used in Spanish.

Chuck66 said...

PatCA, correct. It is bizzare that so many on the far left hate the traditional American holiday of Christmas, and traditional American Christmas symbols like trees and Santa Claus.

What next? The wacko left will ban hamburgers and Coke?

Quaestor said...

Paul wrote:
The Constitution says FREEDOM OF RELIGION. It does not say freedom FROM religion. Never ever did it say that.

Never did say FREEDOM OF RELIGION, either. It says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." These two clauses taken together imply a contradiction, at least according to late 20th century legal scholarship.

Personally, I think the Establishment clause needs to be read more narrowly. If the First prohibits a Hindu hymn sung at a public school holiday season concert, then the Second entitles me to own a Ma Deuce and mount it on the hood of my car.

Chuck66 said...

Chip, you said it better than me.

The American Christmas celebration is enjoyed by all. It is part of our culture.

Mary Beth said...

Wikipedia says the Hindu song was a favorite of Gandhi's and was "sung by Gandhi and his followers as they walked during the 241 mile Salt March to Dandi." And, "The Salt March, also known as the Salt Satyagraha began with the Dandi March on March 12, 1930, and was an important part of the Indian independence movement." So it sounds like a spring concert would be a more appropriate time.

For school concerts, I'm less concerned about the content of the song as I am the length.

Conrad Bibby said...

While we're on the subject, the Constitution says Congress can't pass laws in regard to "an establishment of religion." It seems pretty obvious to me that when government officials or agencies mention God or pay respect to a religious holiday, they do not thereby "establish" a religion. I don't even see how a straight-faced argument can be made that such actions constitute the "establishment" of a religion. The only way I could see it coming close would be if Congress (or the states) implemented a deliberate, comprehensive strategy of using the tools of government to promote a particular religious viewpoint (which would probably be outside the enumerated powers in any case).

I'm no expert, but it seems that while there may be a theoretical line past which government acknowledgement of God or Christmas, for example, amounts to the "establishment" of religion, the stuff courts routinely regard as unconstitutional comes nowhere close to this line.

traditionalguy said...

@Chuck66...What is it don't you understand about all Christian Tradition being forbidden by an establishment clause misreading.

And for God's sake don't even suggest that Coca-Cola and hamburgers are part of Traditional celebrations of American Christians, or they will ban those too in a Supreme Court second.

DADvocate said...

Does Hindu have a celebration this time of year? There's nothing in the article indicating there are any Hindis attending school there. Why can't the school just sing songs relevant to the current celebrations and the culture of the students and community? Sounds fine to me. We're becoming a nation of petite tyrants.

What if they want to sing Rama Lama Ding Dong?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KStsPPgeka4

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt said...

Hava Nagila really shouldn't be part of the argument.

Hava Nagila means "Let's rejoice", the last line of the first part means "Let's rejoice and be happy", and the middle part means "awake, awake brothers, awake brothers with with a happy heart." No part of this is religious, no part of this is a holiday song. It's a Hebrew folk song, and is no more akin to Feliz Navidad than the Macarena. Hebrew does not mean religious or spiritual.

Feliz Navidad, on the other hand, is a Christmas song. It doesn't refer to God, but isn't the whole (insultingly, arrogantly, bigoted) argument about the "War on Christmas" that the word Christmas itself is religious? I don't see a huge distriction between Feliz Navidad and Raghupati Regava Rajam Ram. It refers to the Hindu gods Sita, Rama, and God or Allah? Feliz Navidad refers to Christ. Neither is appropriate in a public school environment.

Rose said...

"Remember, this stuff is boring to the kids too. They will learn to associate forced multiculturalism with boredom. That is a good thing."

Yes, you should hear their opinion of Al Gore after having been forced to sit through An Inconvenient Truth fifty times. It's a scream.

They do hate it, and they DO see through it.

It's interesting what we are doing to our kids, if they do indeed 'learn what they live' - the day will come that we will be put in old folks homes, strapped in our chairs for our own 'safety' - complete with helmet and kneepads, and NO COFFEE for you, it's BAD for you! For your own good. The soup Nazi will have nothing on these kids, and we will have done it to ourselves.

Shanna said...

And the pretense that a Christmas is a 'seasonal' or 'cultural' holiday strikes me as nonsense.

It very much is for those of european descent. Most cultures were celebrating something around that time.

Chuck66 said...

"And the pretense that a Christmas is a 'seasonal' or 'cultural' holiday strikes me as nonsense."

Where are you from? In America, this has been the case for......I suppose since mid-1800s.

LarsPorsena said...

Every year we go throught his same drill. We could all save a lot of energy just by repealing Christmas and New Year's (it's the Christian new year) as Federal holidays. I want all my government employees at their duty stations each and every 25 Dec and 1 Jan.

We could go further by establishing a new calendar. After all, the current one we use was authorized by a pope.

Chip Ahoy said...

Hava Nagila

But do you love it sung by elementary school students?

* looks *

Observation: The guitars, the piano, the violins, and the kids choir on YouTube are all surprisingly good. The mind does not wander. In fact the mind's involvement is so great that it creates conflict in sitting there watching by instructing the body to dance! Conclusion: Jewish kids are disciplined in music.

DADvocate said...

They do hate it, and they DO see through it.

Absolutely. Not just boring, they hate it. The multiculturalists hurt their own cause much more than they realize. The kids hate it that they can't sing some Christmas songs with out a bunch of bullshit.

Chip S. said...

@LarsPorsena: ✓ ✓

Fernandinande said...

Schools shouldn't teach superstition.

Chuck66 said...

I boycott any retailers that boycott "Christmas".

Target has signage in their stores that say "Merry Christmas", and Wal-Mart has gift cards that show a nativity scene. So I do shop at them. Many small indie retailers also recognize Christmas.

Chuck66 said...

"Schools shouldn't teach superstition."

So you want to censor the books being read in kindergarten and lower elementry to make sure none of talking animals in them?

And no classical literature in high school?

Mike said...

Multi Culti clap trap. One never ceases to be amazed at how progressives can get their panties in a twist.

The Unknown Pundit said...

You would think God, being all powerful, omnipotent and all knowing, would do something to clear up all the confusion about his existence and would clearly inform his creation who and what he's about. That way we could put all this stuff behind us.

What do you say, God? I'm calling you out. Show yourself. Do it now. I'm waiting.......

Hmmmm, I guess God wants us to fight over this stuff. Jerk.

Michael Haz said...

Just wait until the Spring concert when all the latte drinkers are angered by first graders singing "I'm a Little Teapot".

David R. Graham said...

Pity the Constitution does not/can not ban cowardice.

Chuck66 said...

The Evangelical Athiests are in the house. In about 5 minutes, one of them will post the part of their dogma where they say Christian symbols are really Pagen symbols.

jimf said...

I agree with commentors that Hava Nagila should not be part of the discussion as it is unrelated to Chanukah.

I believe there is no legal requirement to include songs from all or any particular religion. It may be insensitive to those in the area, but not required.

David R. Graham said...

"Hmmmm, I guess God wants us to fight over this stuff. Jerk."

No, you want us to fight over this stuff. Wimp.

ricpic said...

The purpose of multiculturalism is not to enrich its target, "the children;" the purpose of multiculturalism is to strip them of an identity (I am a Jew, I am a Christian, I am a lover of liberty i.e. a child of the West) and thereby strip them of an allegiance to any bulwark against total submission to the State.

Kirk Parker said...

"The multiculturalists hurt their own cause much more than they realize."

So when do they start losing?

MayBee said...

Christmas was a lot of fun in Hong Kong and Tokyo, where the cities were decorated, people said "Merry Christmas", and none of the Buddhists or Taoists cared if someone else was offended by their celebration.

Americans are quickly finding ways to take the joy out of everything.

Scott M said...

Moderatrix: respect the calvinist Khrussmuss or yr deleted.

Not like that's not a dead giveaway or anything.

lol

PatCA said...

If a Christmas concert constitutes a violation of the establishment clause, wouldn't a pan-religious concert constitute multiple violations? If promoting one religion is bad, promoting many must be truly evil, right?

The Unknown Pundit said...

David R. Graham -

Thanks for the laugh.

Still waiting for God or whomever to reveal himself. Or herself. After all, God may be a Goddess.

Scott M said...

Still waiting for God or whomever to reveal himself. Or herself. After all, God may be a Goddess.

Unlikely. It's obvious God has an incredibly good sense of humor.

DADvocate said...

So when do they start losing?

There are thousands of public schools out there singing Christmas carols and everyone is just fine with it. Plus, there's been a huge increase in private Christian schools the past couple of decades.

Sure, these schools cost extra money, but they rob multiculturists of any attempt of control, educate better prepared and more successful students. If you want to win a war, you have to sacrifice some how.

Freeman Hunt said...

What do you say, God? I'm calling you out. Show yourself. Do it now. I'm waiting.......

I'm sure the Creator of the Universe will submit to your authority and vision for how the universe should work any moment now. Maybe hold your breath.

Scott M said...

We'll have to assume now, "Perezoso" that you're going to cease slamming people for sockpuppeting and not linking to a real blog? If so, that would be capital J justice, would it not?

denmotherblog said...

Rose: Silly me. I thought Christmas was a blending of many winter/solstice, and yes, religious celebrations.

You thought wrong. Some Christmas symbols are pagan in origin, as is the time chosen to celebrate the birth of Jesus, because they were co-opted by Christians as a way of surreptitiously converting pagan believers to Christianity. To say this makes Christmas itself a blending of solstice and other religious celebrations is like saying that Liberace's famous candelabra on the piano made him Jewish.

MayBee said...

Don't like Christmas? Don't celebrate it.

Levi Starks said...

Please have mercy on those poor schools,
It's difficult to keep a tradition like Christmas on its feet when you've removed everything of substance that had been supporting it for 2k years.
And lets face it, the economy depends on it, so lets keep putting on a brave face.

Bender said...

Actually, Hanukkah is a celebration of the vigorous and zealous defense of religious freedom against those who seek to destroy it.

The Jewish Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah) was instituted in the year 165 B.C. It is celebrated annually as a memorial of the rededication of the Temple with a new altar and purification of the sanctuary. Three years earlier, Antiochus Epiphanes had caused a pagan altar to be set up at the altar of burnt offerings in the Temple and sacrifices to be offered to his idol, called "Zeus Olympius."

The Maccabean revolt followed, led by Judas Maccabeus (Yehuda HaMakabi, "Judah the Hammer"). After many battles, the Holy City of Jerusalem and the Temple were recovered.

As recounted in 1 Maccabees 4:36-59 --

Judas Maccabeus and his brothers said, "Now that our enemies have been crushed, let us go up to purify the sanctuary and rededicate it." So the whole army assembled, and went up to Mount Zion. They found the sanctuary desolate, the altar desecrated, the gates burnt, weeds growing in the courts as in a forest or on some mountain, and the priests' chambers demolished.

Then they tore their clothes and made great lamentation; they sprinkled their heads with ashes and fell with their faces to the ground. And when the signal was given with trumpets, they cried out to Heaven.

Judas appointed men to attack those in the citadel, while he purified the sanctuary. He chose blameless priests, devoted to the law; these purified the sanctuary and carried away the stones of the Abomination to an unclean place.

They deliberated what ought to be done with the altar of holocausts that had been desecrated. The happy thought came to them to tear it down, lest it be a lasting shame to them that the Gentiles had defiled it; so they tore down the altar. They stored the stones in a suitable place on the temple hill, until a prophet should come and decide what to do with them.

Then they took uncut stones, according to the law, and built a new altar like the former one. They also repaired the sanctuary and the interior of the temple and purified the courts. They made new sacred vessels and brought the lampstand, the altar of incense, and the table into the temple. Then they burned incense on the altar and lighted the lamps on the lampstand, and these illuminated the temple. They also put loaves on the table and hung up curtains. Thus they finished all the work they had undertaken.

Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, that is, the month of Chislev, in the year one hundred and forty-eight, they arose and offered sacrifice according to the law on the new altar of holocausts that they had made. On the anniversary of the day on which the Gentiles had defiled it, on that very day it was reconsecrated with songs, harps, flutes, and cymbals. All the people prostrated themselves and adored and praised Heaven, who had given them success.

For eight days they celebrated the dedication of the altar and joyfully offered holocausts and sacrifices of deliverance and praise. They ornamented the facade of the temple with gold crowns and shields; they repaired the gates and the priests' chambers and furnished them with doors. There was great joy among the people now that the disgrace of the Gentiles was removed.

Then Judas and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel decreed that the days of the dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness on the anniversary every year for eight days, from the twenty-fifth day of the month Chislev.
(see also 2 Macc 1:18-2:19; 10:1-8)

What we need are more Maccabees.

Bender said...

Hanukkah, from the Hebrew word for "dedication" or "consecration", is also known as the Festival of Lights due to a miracle that allowed the Eternal Light of the Temple to burn for eight days, even though there was only enough oil to last one day.

This miracle is recounted in the Talmud (Shabbat 2),

The rabbis taught: On the twenty-fifth day of Kislev, Hanukkah commences and lasts eight days, on which lamenting (in commemoration of the dead) and fasting are prohibited. When the Hellenists entered the sanctuary, they defiled all the oil that was found there. When the government of the House of Asmoneans prevailed and conquered them, oil was sought (to feed the holy lamp in the sanctuary) and only one vial was found with the seal of the high priest intact. The vial contained sufficient oil for one day only, but a miracle occurred, and it fed the holy lamp eight days in succession. These eight days were the following year established as days of good cheer, on which psalms of praise and acknowledgment (of God's wonders) were to be recited.

The Eternal Light of the Temple represented God's everlasting presence, just as the sanctuary lamp placed before the tabernacle containing the Blessed Sacrament in Catholic churches is always kept lit to indicate and honor the constant presence of Christ. In the synagogue, a perpetual lamp signifies the Lord's presence in the Torah, the Word of God. (Similarly, the candles at liturgical services, candles for the Advent wreath, votive candles, candles during Sabbath prayers, etc., are lit to signify the presence of God, as He was present in the burning bush, during those ceremonies.)

Although a Jewish holiday -- one celebrated by Jesus -- Hanukkah can also be a time for Christians to remember that it is God Himself who is a Light that is everlasting and can never be extinguished.

These days of rededication and the manifestation of God's eternal light remind us that evil will be defeated and, even if the evil has defiled the good, in the meantime, God cannot be defeated. His light is everlasting. More than light from oil, which runs out, His is the Eternal Light which cannot be extinguished.

Bender said...

Some Christmas symbols are pagan in origin, as is the time chosen to celebrate the birth of Jesus, because they were co-opted by Christians as a way of surreptitiously converting pagan believers to Christianity.
_________________

I guess today is catechesis day. The above explanation is widely believed, and it is totally wrong.

Why is Christmas on December 25? Do we really know that that is the day when Jesus was born?

It turns out that the fixing of Christmas Day on December 25 is not an arbitrary decision, nor is it based on the widespread modern belief that the date was picked in order to displace the celebration of a pagan festival on that date. Rather, the date of Jesus' birth was determined by reference to Jesus' conception which, in turn, was calculated by determining His crucifixion and death.

Now, if you subtract nine months from December 25, you get March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord. On that day, the Church reflects upon Mary's fiat, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done unto me acccording to your word," and upon the Incarnation, the mystery of God coming down from heaven and merging Himself with Man, making Himself small and becoming flesh in the temple and virgin womb of Mary the Immaculate.

So, the question presents itself --
Why do we celebrate the Annunciation on March 25?

Well, that date was fixed in ancient tradition and it is based upon a widespread belief in Judaism at the time of Christ that the prophets of Israel died on the same dates as their birth or conception. By the time of Tertullian, scholars researching the various dates of Passover had concluded that Jesus died on the Cross on March 25. Wrote St. Augustine,

"He is believed to have been conceived on the 25th of March, upon which day also He suffered; so the womb of the Virgin, in which He was conceived, where no one of mortals was begotten, corresponds to the new grave in which He was buried, wherein was never man laid, neither before nor since." (On the Trinity, Book IV, Chapter 5).

Additionally, some Jewish scholars had calculated that the date of Creation was March 25, and it made sense to believe that, since a new creation began upon the Incarnation, Jesus was conceived on the same day as the first creation.

Hence, the tradition arose that, because He was crucified on March 25 and the universe was created on that date, Jesus was conceived on March 25. The day that Mary took her Son's Body into her arms beneath the Cross is the same day that she had taken His Body into her womb at the Annunciation.

And if you add nine months to the date of conception, March 25, you get . . . December 25, Christmas Day.

_________________

See also: Andrew McGowan, How December 25 Became Christmas
William J. Tighe, Calculating Christmas

MadisonMan said...

Please have mercy on those poor schools,
It's difficult to keep a tradition like Christmas on its feet when you've removed everything of substance that had been supporting it for 2k years.

I'm not sure who you mean by the you in you've removed.

The problem: Parents don't go to church anymore, but some still want to hear Christmas Carols sung by their kids. You solve that problem by having the kids sing in school, but it opens up a second, different problem.

If only parents took their kids to church, where they could be active in a Christmas Pageant of some type where that type of Pageant is appropriate.

Bender said...

I agree with commentors that Hava Nagila should not be part of the discussion as it is unrelated to Chanukah.
________________

The prior stuff I wrote I've known for a while, but the background to Hava Nagila I just learned.

At least according to Wikipedia, Hava Nagila is a song of Jewish nationalism. What they are "rejoicing" over is the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine under the Balfour Declaration.

Thus, insofar as it celebrates the Jewish nation, it is very fitting at Hanukkah.

Scott M said...

Thus, insofar as it celebrates the Jewish nation, it is very fitting at Hanukkah.

If this is true, does the faculty have to make sure there are no Palestinians in the student body before they do this?

Political correctness is hard.

Bender said...

Political correctness is hard.

That's because those who practice it must generally tie themselves up in knots over the illogic and inconsistencies that it produces.

For example, banishing the word "Christmas" and saying "holiday" instead. The only problem with that is that the word "holiday" is derived (pretty obviously) from "holy day."

But no one ever credibly accused school officials and goverment bureaucrats of knowing what the hell they were doing.

Levi Starks said...

The You've is the collective of everybody except myself.

mariner said...

Curious George,
Been there done that. And without a smartphone to entertain myself. Nope, we did it old school. We watched.

Yeah, but did you watch uphill, in both directions?

Scott M said...

Yeah, but did you watch uphill, in both directions?

I can't watch school programs like that. All those little monsters undressing me with their eyes, under explicit instructions from their horrible, deviant parents to imagine me in my underwear...awful stuff.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt said...

Nobody is banishing the word Christmas. But retailers and others using the phrase Happy Holidays INCLUDES Christmas in the seasons greetings. It also includes Chanukah, Winter Solstice, and other Winter holiday celebrations. How the hell is it an attack on Christianity to acknowledge that there are other holidays going on right now?

garage mahal said...

Maybe should combine Christian and Islam holiday celebrations, and call it Chrislam.

Old Dad said...

Madison, Wisconsin is a beautiful but ridiculous place. That reasonable adults can't agree about what their children sing at a Christmas concert is insane. That this fatuus issue got past the school principal, let alone to the superintendent of schools and potentially to the courts demonstrates a level of general incompetence that is pathetic.

You guys suck. Shape up.
When you can put on a freaking Christmas pageant without a lawsuit, I'll check back. And maybe your Supreme Court justices should strangle one another.

At least you've got the
Badgers.

Scott M said...

Quite a few retailers over the past few years were telling their employees not to say "Merry Christmas" to people. It appears that this has rubberbanded as I have noticed that I've heard more store workers say "Merry Christmas" this year than I have in a long time so maybe the whole thing has a shelf-life that's just about run it's course.

DADvocate said...

That this fatuus issue got past the school principal, let alone to the superintendent of schools and potentially to the courts demonstrates a level of general incompetence that is pathetic.

It's sign of the great cultural tolerance for which Madison is so well known.

n.n said...

The issue seems to be primarily concerned with distinguishing between tolerance and normalization.

The first amendment exclusively binds Congress's positive authority. Surely, this was not an oversight by the founders. This seems to be a feature (or shortcoming?) of that amendment alone.

In any case, the responsibility is left to the people of our (and any, really) nation to preserve the character and spirit of the society to which they are legal members.

This nation was founded on Christian principles. When the people strayed, the correction exacted a severe toll in blood and treasure. That "original sin", however, does not reflect on the value of the principles which form its foundation, but reminds us of our universal vulnerability to corruption.

That said, diversity of perspective is potentially valuable, but not when it undermines and destabilizes the foundation of a society.

Shanna said...

Rather, the date of Jesus' birth was determined by reference to Jesus' conception which, in turn, was calculated by determining His crucifixion and death.

That sounds like a rather convoluted way to make it fit the already existing holiday time so they could get the locals on board, but I could be wrong. Do you know when they picked this date?

But does it really matter? In cold climates it makes a ton of sense to have a fun celebration in the middle of winter. It works and I don’t think it matters why.

Thus, insofar as it celebrates the Jewish nation, it is very fitting at Hanukkah.

If this is true, does the faculty have to make sure there are no Palestinians in the student body before they do this? Political correctness is hard.


Oh man, don’t tell the school board!

garage mahal said...

Madison, Wisconsin is a beautiful but ridiculous place. That reasonable adults can't agree about what their children sing at a Christmas concert is insane.

----------------

It's sign of the great cultural tolerance for which Madison is so well known.


This story is in Greendale, not Madison.

Duncan said...

Far as I can tell it's not a "seasonal holiday" song. So it's exclusion has a secular purpose. (Course Hava Nagila isn't either.)

Ramadan likewise isn't a seasonal holiday since it processes through the year with a lunar calendar.(The Hebrew Calendar adds an intercalary month every two or three years to avoid the problem.)

DADvocate said...

This story is in Greendale, not Madison.

Glad to see the tolerance is spreading.

DADvocate said...

Across Cultures and Curriculum

The students at Highland View are learning the song "Waving Flag" from the World Cup for their December concert. The song is about being proud of where you come from and celebrating your heritage. Students are working on singing the song in music class, learning the Spanish words and meaning of the words in Spanish class and making flags from around the world in art class.


I thought this was kind of funny and sad. Across cultures and curriculum but they can't fully celebrate their own culture.

DADvocate said...

From the home page of the Greendale School District.

Alex said...

Simpler answer - abolish public education.

Carnifex said...

OT: @ Crack Emcee

Just finished reading the thread about the Madison Display, and the 10 things wrong with it, and I just want to say, I hope you had plenty of aspirin after beating your head on that wall-lol.

I hope someday they read your words and quit trying to read your mind.

Carnifex said...

On topic.

How about singing songs that are beautiful? "Ave Maria" is stunning, but we shouldn't teach it because its about Mary?

The multi-culti stuff, I got no problem with either, if iy follows the theme of the show. I wouldn't let the kids sing "paradise by the dash board lights" for example, even though its a great, fun song.

So if Hinduism has Christmas carols, by all means, sing them. Same with Islam, Judaeism, and Pastafarianism (does "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" count?)

In other words, if you're gonna have a Christmas program, have a Christmas program. Don't have a Kumbaya program, as a Christmas program, and call it a Seasonal Celebration. We can see through the little fake nose and glasses disguise.

Everyone needs to get over their little butt hurt because of Christmas.

marylynn said...

Oh lord i sat through the concerts of my 5 kids ... so glad i am OLD now and done with that. However within a few short years i will be dragged to grandkids concerts. I'd better enjoy my break!!

The Crack Emcee said...

Forget all that:

What these people need is A Music Lesson (The Death Of Any Pyramid Scheme)

Methadras said...

It's none of them. The incessant need to whine and complain has no ends. Sing christmas songs and if anyone complains about it, the appropriate answer is, TOO FUCKING BAD!!!

US 2012 election novel said...

A thought provoking post.