A United Kingdom elementary school has stripped Jesus of his "Lord" title in the iconic "Away in a Manger" Christmas carol so all students can attend a Christmas-themed event, the Daily Mail reported.
So the phrase "little Lord Jesus" will be sung as "baby boy Jesus" when students at Whitehall Primary School in Chingford, Essex, attend a carol service and nativity play Tuesday at St. Peter and St. Paul Church, the outlet said.
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What's more, a pair of modern hymns have been altered for the event, the Daily Mail reported: The phrase "Jesus the savior" from "Love Shone Down" has been replaced with "Jesus the baby," and the words "new King born today" from "Come and Join the Celebration" has been replaced with "a baby born today."
"We are a community school serving children from a range of faith backgrounds," a school spokesman told the outlet. "In the past, not all were able to come together to celebrate Christmas, so we have worked hard with our local church to ensure the celebrations this year are accessible to all our children to participate in, together, as one."
A spokesman for the Diocese of Chelmsford — which includes St. Peter and St. Paul Church — added to the Daily Mail that "the service maintains the traditional Christian message of the joy of Christmas in a way that can be celebrated by everyone, including those of other faiths and none."
Some don't see it that way
One mother — who's also a former police officer — told the outlet the lyric changes are unacceptable and akin to taking "Christ" out of "Christmas."
"If he was just a baby boy named Jesus, there wouldn't be a celebration in the first place," the 36-year-old mother told the Daily Mail. "He is our Lord and Savior and King of all Kings. That's the whole point. It is also a tradition. [The lyric changes are] taking away the traditions of the country."
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She added to the outlet that her two sons — ages 9 and 11, both of whom go to church and Sunday school — were upset when Whitehall head teacher Zakia Khatun announced the lyric changes: "My kids are being stopped from having the freedom to express their beliefs. They are shocked."
The mother also told the Daily Mail that during a Friday meeting Khatun insisted the school is inclusive of all children and that last year 60 children didn't attend the carol service and nativity play due to their religious beliefs. But the mom added to the outlet that the school is discriminating against Christian students.
"We live in a multicultural society, so we should respect other beliefs, but unfortunately Christianity is not getting respect," the mother told the Daily Mail. "Ms. Khatun doesn't want the people who don't have the same beliefs to feel excluded, yet it's OK to exclude Christians."
What did others have to say?
"This is a carol known throughout the world. The words 'Lord Jesus' are about the central message of Christmas, which is that God is with us in Jesus," Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, a former Bishop of Rochester, told the outlet. "To put it very simply: that's what Christmas is about."
Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, also told the Daily Mail that "removing the Lordship of Christ at Christmas guts the Christian message of its truth, around which the whole of Western civilization once based its culture."