The mayor of Bogota, N.J., a Republican candidate for governor, has invited his political rivals as well as ” people of all faiths” to join him in singing the Christmas songs that were banned from a high-school holiday program due to their religious nature.

Mayor Steve Lonegan is organizing what he calls an “illegal” night of caroling Tuesday to draw attention to the “Grinches” of the South Orange/Maplewood Board of Education. The district this year banned even instrumental versions of Christmas songs like “Silent Night” and Handel’s “Messiah.”


“The school district’s decision to prohibit even instrumental versions of classic Christmas tunes shows that those who claim to speak for tolerance are in fact the most intolerant,” Lonegan said in a statement. “It’s time people lighten up and enjoy the Christmas and Hanukkah season instead of denying the religious foundation of our nation and the holiday season.”

Mayor Steve Lonegan

The caroling is scheduled for Tuesday at 5 p.m. Eastern outside Columbia High School in Maplewood, N.J. The school’s recently shortened holiday concert is scheduled for later that same evening.

Said Lonegan: “I hope people of all faiths and political persuasions will join me next Tuesday night to celebrate this season and send the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education and others who will deny our religious heritage a message that we’re not going to let them take God out of our public life.

“We won’t let the Grinches destroy Christmas. It’s time to draw a line in the sand.”

Rick Shaftan is a spokesman for Lonegan.

“Steve has asked all the other candidates from both parties to join him,” Shaftan noted. The primary election for New Jersey governor will take place in June and the general election in November.

While no other candidates have not committed to showing up, Shaftan says the mayor has gotten a good response from New Jerseyites who have heard about the caroling.

Shaftan characterizes Lonegan as an “underdog conservative” in a seven-way race for the GOP nomination.

“Steve’s message is the state has gone so far off to the looney-tune left that you needs a strong conservative just to bring it back to where people think things should be,” he told WND.

Shaftan hopes the “illegal” caroling session will send a message to other school districts that might be considering such a “nutty” policy, saying, “Maybe they should think twice.”



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