Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ambivalence - Silent Goes the Night

The best headline was on the Touchstone Magazine blog:  "Silent Night goes silent" but I am also fond of my own tweak on a line to summarize the Court decision to allow a school district to ban the words and melody to "Silent Night" from its official school functions.  It seems this is near the end of the a six year battle to effectively remove every religious connection from any winter holiday (Hanukkah as well as Christmas).  Of course the people in favor cite diversity and the need for the school to be perfectly neutral in all of this.  And, predictably, the opponents lament the near complete removal of religion from the schools.

I, personally, have to admit some ambivalence here.  I am not so sure what I think.  On one hand I am instinctively angry when government or schools try to act as if the winter break they all observe around Dec. 25 has nothing to do with Christmas.  It is stupid and the vapid acts of political correctness are doing a pretty good job of dumbing down our institutions and our people. 

On the other hand, I was not happy when some courts ruled that a creche or manger scene had no religious significance but was a cultural symbol and therefore it could be put up by a government agency or public school.  Surely every Christian is offended when the nation's highest court says that one of the most sacred symbols of our faith (the manger) is devoid of religious meaning and significance.  If that is what it means to most people, take the darn thing down because it means a whole lot more than a cultural symbol.

So I am not sure what to think about "Silent Night" being removed from the musical events of a public school.  On the one hand, I think it is ludicrous to believe that we can or should sanitize the school from every mention or acknowledgment of any religion.  So we can sing about big fat benevolent grandpas in red suits, riding on a sleigh, pulled by mythological animals (flying reindeer)... or about snowmen who come to life when a special hat is placed on their heads... but we cannot sing about the actual reason for the holy day.  Sigh....

Yet the more I think about it, I don't want people singing "Silent Night" who refuse to acknowledge whose birth the carol sings about... I don't want people putting up a creche because it means the same as an elf and a fat man... I don't want a Christmas in which Christ is part of a mythology in the pantheon of made up characters and stories that crowd up the holiday...

So... what am I to do?  Fight to have "Silent Night" sung by people who don't know or care what it means or have a creche put up by those who believe it is as generic as tinsel?  But... do I roll over and let the train of diversity, sensitivity, and political correctness strip away the truth in favor of lie told because it is not as offensive as the truth?  Mmmmmmm.  A lot to ponder here...  I hear the groans of creation aching in expectation for the return of Jesus... or maybe that is just me...

3 comments:

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

If you really, really want religion in your schools... there has been a traditional way to handle this. Form your own parochial day school. This means ponying up the cash, but if it is what you want....

This is an irony of history. When there was prayer in public school, the norm was very much for the Lutheran Churches to have their own schools. Now, as our schools are in decline, there is more bellyaching that there is no prayer in school.

Frankly, I don't want the folks at the public school trying to teach my kids anything about God - the correcting of heresy is harder and longer than simply teaching rightly.

Robbie F. said...

I think this dilemma is akin to the question whether we should adopt the politically-correct dating terms "C.E." and "B.C.E." (instead of "A.D." and "B.C."). The irony in this is that, in the very act of studying history, we are glossing over the historic reason behind our numbering of the years. We can hardly claim to be objective and honest students of history if we cover up the fact that Christ is at the crossroads of our dating system. Much sooner would I see some other dating system adopted (such as "from the founding of Rome" or some other precisely dated event) than have Christ's role in history so publicly and deliberately snubbed.

Robbie F. said...

If you don't get the analogy I'm trying to draw in my comment above, try asking yourself: "Where is the honesty in taking 'winter break' and pretending Christmas & other religious holidays don't exist, or have no relevance to our culture or history?" Flat out, this move to stifle religious expression is nothing less than a form of indoctrination in a state-sponsored, secular religion.