Friday, April 17, 2009

Silent Night - a threat to our children!

In today's paper, I read this article about how a parent is trying to get the San Leandro school district to ban the song "Silent Night". Basically, her argument is that it amounts to religious indoctrination, and therefore it has no place in the public school system. (To be fair, she made allowances for it being part of a religious-studies program.)

I'm with her purely on a logical level, but I really can't find myself siding with her for a number of reasons. Is it a religious song? Yes. Is it promoting a particular religious point of view? Absolutely. Should kids be subjected to that sort of a thing? No, they shouldn't.

Should we make sure that this song gets banned from the public schools? Ahhh...why bother? All this is going to do is add to the martyr-complex that so many fundamentalist and evangelical types already have. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if pundidiots like Bill O'Reilly have already jumped all over this one.

The bottom line is - of what is this parent so afraid? Granted, I'm not a parent yet, but I'm really not too worried about my son or daughter being exposed to a little religious indoctrination - especially something as inocuous as that. Religious feeling is a very real thing in this world, and how will my kids understand it unless they get some exposure to it? I want my kids to be critical thinkers, and I want them to avoid magical thinking by engaging in their own thinking process. If they convert into fundamentalists because somebody sang "Silent Night" to them, then I've done something pretty wrong.

Another thing is that people just aren't ready for this sort of a thing. This is like trying to get a child to stop sucking on his pacifier by simply grabbing it out of his mouth and running away with it. All you've accomplished is upsetting the kid.

Besides, if you find a harmless little song like "Silent Night" to be such a threat, then perhaps you need to challenge your worldview a little bit more.


Ingrid said...

This women has too much time on her hands. If we were to ban every religiously inspired piece of music from being used for teaching, there would be little left. Most of the great composers in history devoted their work to express their faith, and it was because of faith in a Christian God that we have cathedrals, churches and great art to enjoy today. Maybe she'd like to wipe out history completely, because that Christianity always sneaks up in something. Positive and negative.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Agreed. It's just as bad as those conservative parents who are so worried that their kids might be exposed to liberal ideas. What, do you expect to shelter your kid from every thing that you see as being negative? She needs to get a grip.

Matthew said...

Cheers to you, sir. Gods forbid adults should have to teach children the value of metaphor and imagery.

BTW, I like the new look of the blog.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Thanks. It works a lot better with the new YouTube video formats.