This year it seems some traditional Christmas carols are facing increased scrutiny in public schools, as some officials fear that religious undertones will spark claims of church-state violations. The latest example comes from a K-10 charter school in South Carolina, where two instrumental versions of Christmas songs have reportedly been banned from an upcoming concert.
A music director at York Preparatory Academy in Rock Hill, S.C., allegedly told students that they will not be permitted to perform “Joy to the World” and “Oh Come All ye Faithful” at their winter band performance, commentator Todd Starnes reported.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal firm, told Starnes that the school has a policy that bans religious music and that this even carries over to songs that are performed as instrumentals with no vocalized lyrics.
When some of the older students chose the aforementioned Christmas songs, the school’s band director reportedly said that the school could not permit including them in the concert over fears of a lawsuit.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) or another related group allegedly sent a letter or “communication” to the school warning of possible infractions.
“The Academy’s principal confirmed the receipt of the ACLU’s or similar group’s communication and suggested that in order for students to play traditional Christmas carols they would need to play songs from other religions as well,” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Rory Gray told Starnes.
Gray told Starnes that schools should not be forced to curtail “time-honored Christmas carols.” The attorney argued that these songs are permissible and that school districts should not crack down on their presence in students’ concerts.
Messages left by TheBlaze for both the ACLU’s South Carolina office and the managing director at the York Preparatory Academy have not been returned.
This is not the first flare-up this holiday season over Christmas music in public schools. As TheBlaze reported earlier this month, two school districts — one in Wisconsin and one in New Jersey — recently banned religious music during public school concerts. Following public outrage, both districts backtracked on their policies and decided to allow religious holiday music to continue.
(H/T: Todd Starnes)
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