I don’t mind when a public school choir sings songs with a mention of God in them. God Bless America, Silent Night… I understand those. They’re not excessively religious in nature — they’re more traditional than anything.
But if a public school choir sang the following song (by Diamond Rio), I think that would qualify as excessive. See if you can guess why:
That was part of the song lineup for a choir concert at an elementary school in the St. Johns County School District in Florida.
Thankfully, a couple parents of third-graders at that school complained and stopped that from happening. They have since filed a lawsuit:
The district’s superintendent pulled the song after receiving a complaint from a parent hours before the lawsuit was filed last week in federal court, a school district spokeswoman said.
But the parents’ lawyer said they are still entitled to damages because their children were required to learn the song. They are seeking to bar the school district from the “religious instruction” the song represents.
The school’s method of fixing this included not only nixing the song but also banning the objecting children from the entire concert:
The suit alleged the Webster School teachers in charge of the assembly — Dawn Caronna and Debbie Moore, who along with the district and Principal George Leidigh were named as defendants — told students March 11 if any of them objected to singing “In God We Still Trust,” they wouldn’t have to do so. But if they didn’t wish to practice that song they would be excluded from the entire performance.
Good for the parents for having the courage to do this. There’s no reason schools should be in charge of teaching children what to think about God or wrongly insisting that we are one nation under God. If parents want to teach that, it’s their call. But it’s a private matter.
The students shouldn’t have to be caught in the middle of this. Just leave these kinds of songs out of the concert lineup altogether.