Sing Silent Night at School: Over My DEAD Body
What are the Limits of Tradition based on Faith in a Pluralistic Society? That's the question we seem to want to ask ourselves as a society and culture, yet we don't seem to know how to go about it in a pluralistic way? San Leandro Schools have been in the news this week because of a debate, legal case and desire (by at least one person) to force the schools to remove religious songs from school performances, specifically at Christmas. [Parents to get preview list of holiday songs]
Obviously I'm biased as a follower of Jesus and member of the religious left, yet it seems to me that it's going a bit too far. We tend, in our country, to target Christianity as the smother-of-all-freedoms because of its influence in our national historical and cultural emergence, and more specifically because of the recent get-in-to-bed-with-each-other-incest of the Republican Party and Religious Right. Yet is that a reason to rid our schools of part, in fact a significant cultural factor, of our national identity and history? Christmas is in fact a Christian Holiday, granted it's a pagan one from the Romans subverted and crossed-dressed by the early Christian Church in the Roman Empire of the 1st centuries of our era. And it is primarily and foundationally not about a fat man that comes down our chimney, nor a capitalistic way to subvert our financial values by helping companies move from the red to the black in their account books before the end of the year through our splurging and credit card fed over-indulgences. It is in fact a holiday whose ontological roots are articulated in the lyrics of Silent Night. How is that not an important part of the entire package, depth and width of our cultural identity, specifically in a pluralistic society? We, as a culture, in particular in progressive circles, mistake pluralistic with the idea of let's pick and choose what we want to belong to us and define us. Yet we can't remake society and culture in our own image, or preferred picture. [Of course some are trying to do such such as the "Catholic college town" created in Immokalee, Florida].