April 13, 2007

Sing a Hymn in Public School

The following post is of my own opinion and not reflective of anyone else's.

There is currently a controversy going on in Glen Rock, New Jersey over whether or not a public school chorus should be able to sing a Christian hymn. The argument is that they are not singing it for religious purposes but for entertainment purposes. I, however, believe that it has nothing to with entertainment. If the song was a prayer about the greatness of Allah, I doubt any of the people currently supporting the idea would stand by it. I'm sure if you asked them if they'd support an Islamic song now that they're involved in the controversy they might say yes, but it wasn't long ago that people were protesting the addition of the crescent onto holiday displays in the area.

Allowing one religion into public school is one religion too many.


Laura said...

If they wanted to allow any expression of one religion (such as singing a hymn) in public schools, they would have to allow expression of every religion. Unfortunately most people just aren't open-minded enough to really allow for that, so some people would be able to express themselves freely and others would be made to feel uncomfortable for trying to do the same. Especially since for some religions part of religious expression is speaking out against other religions, I can see how it's better to just not allow religion in public school at all.

Which is really a shame, because otherwise I'd be all for religious expression - even in non-religious institutions - as long as everyone could express themselves equally. If people can't express themselves equally (or without stepping on each others' toes) I have to agree with you on your final sentence.

E.W.O. said...

This is a tough call, and it's not as clear-cut as Doughnutman makes it out to be. As I understand it, this is a well-known spiritual by a signficant artist who deserved to be represented in this choral selection of artists. Would you also want to ban the reproduction of Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling in the public schools? The Record of North Jersey, where Glen Rock is located, had a surprising editorial on this. (Surprising to me at any rate; I expected a more dogmatic view.)

An excerpt:

"...public school students are not being well-educated if they are taught to disregard pieces of music, literature, theater or art because they were originally conceived as expressions of personal faith by composers, writers and painters."