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.