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A parent of an elementary school student is upset with a teacher who replaced “Christmas” with “winter” in a carol to be performed during an upcoming concert.
Mark Denison, music teacher at Clover Creek Elementary in Tacoma, Wash., revised the lyrics of Dale Wood’s “Carol from an Irish Cabin” to read: “The harsh wind blows down from the mountains, and blows a white winter to me,” the Tacoma News Tribune reported.
Darla Dowell, the parent of a 7-year-old student, thinks the move is “absurd,” especially since the children will sing a Hanukkah song referring to the “mighty miracle” of Israel’s ancient days.
School officials will allow Denison to lead students in singing the song without “Christmas,” although they acknowledge he might have pressed too hard in an attempt to not offend, the Tacoma paper said.
“In the past, there has been a lot of sensitivity to not giving preference to one religion over the other,” Mark Wenzel, spokesman for the Bethel School District, told the News Tribune.
Mike Sandner, director of arts education for the district, says Bethel allows students to perform both sacred and secular songs during the holiday season.
As WorldNetDaily reported, a civil-liberties legal defense organization has launched a nationwide campaign to prevent blatant religious discrimination by bringing lawsuits against any governmental agency that eliminates public displays of religious songs or symbols.
Conversely, says the Florida-based Liberty Counsel, it will defend any governmental entity that abides by the Constitution and allows the equal expression of religious views.
“We are resolved to stop the Grinch from stealing Christmas,” declared Mathew Staver, the group’s president and general counsel.
Staver said public school students may sing Christian Christmas carols, such as “Silent Night, Holy Night” so long as they also sing secular songs, like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
At Clover Creek Elementary, officials said they did not want to make it more difficult for the children after they had practiced the song a certain way for a month, the News Tribune reported. On Tuesday, Denison allowed the second-graders to vote on which word to use, and they chose “winter” by a 23-18 margin.
But Dowell still is upset.
“I’ve never made a stink about anything in my life,” she told the Tacoma daily. “But I feel very strongly about this.”
The current issue of WND’s acclaimed monthly Whistleblower magazine debunks the myth of church-state separation.