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(Fox News)   Yet another school district decides that it is in their best interest to waste a boat load of money losing a court battle. This time they want to keep religious songs in music class because it isn't really praying if you're singing   (foxnews.com) divider line 73
    More: Asinine, religious musics, school districts, Bill Donohue, New York City Department of Education, Freedom From Religion Foundation, summer break, atheists, sings  
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5481 clicks; posted to Main » on 15 Aug 2012 at 5:18 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2012-08-14 11:52:00 PM
5 votes:
I implore people with an open mind to read the article. The songs are being used as historical references. It's up to each individual student to decide how and what they take away from each song. Students are not being encouraged to interpret any of the songs as having religious meaning. They may have religious symbols of religious connotations in the lyrics, but they won't have a religious meaning to someone who isn't religious. I wish they did, but you don't see me writing to schools asking them to remove non-religious songs. Atheism failing to see the double standard here and I'm not surprised.
2012-08-15 06:45:05 AM
4 votes:
Up until the late Classical -early Romantic period, the history of Western vocal music is, pretty much, church music. Very little else exists. To deprive junior high and high school choirs of that historical treasury of great music would be a huge disservice to students.

Much of the historical black American music is spiritual. Likewise, there is a great treasury of music contained in spirituals that should be taught.

A great deal of modern music, either religious or secular, is absolute crap but it is what students are often reduced to if all religious music is banned from public schools.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a radical group of the same ilk as PETA. They fabricate offense where none exists. They would have us believe that a child singing the word God is predatory and will ruin the child. But listening to rap music where women are denigrated and treated as worthless objects; where killing is condoned - that will have no effect on them and should be permitted.
2012-08-15 01:20:19 AM
4 votes:
As a music teacher and an atheist...

This is farking stupid. Religious music is an inextricable part of any study of music, music history, or repertoire.
2012-08-15 12:47:02 AM
3 votes:
Wait, since when was Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep a song? It's a prayer:

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
And if I die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take

I'm not against singing songs in school that are religious, but come on, you can't just put you prayers to music to get them in schools.
2012-08-15 12:20:53 AM
3 votes:
I work at a music store that is in the middle of hosting our annual new music reading clinic, and this came up in today's session, so I'm getting a big kick...

For whatever it's worth, I'm agnostic and it bothers me when a song sung in a school choir can't mention Jesus or even Santa (and many can't). There are LOADS of wonderful, historic works that get tossed completely aside and it does nothing to further music.

I think I've disagreed with Ignite Ice on things in the past, but in this case, I have to agree. There is too much that gets thrown out to the detriment of the student's education.

It's art, it's history, and it's important - lighten the fark up.
jvl
2012-08-15 01:35:02 PM
2 votes:

StoPPeRmobile: [www.whydontyou.org.uk image 350x262]


Oh look, it's the anti-Christian "help help we're being oppressed" thing again.

According to your logic, because Shia are the majority in Iraq, Saddam Hussein and the Sunni couldn't possibly have oppressed them, right?
2012-08-15 11:51:47 AM
2 votes:

Rufus Lee King: So, kids can't sing songs with any sort of religious references any more? And a lot of you would support that concept. Crypto-Nazis, take off your masks. I can still see you.


Okay. Let's have them sing This lovely song. It can be sung as a round, and a wonderful commenter added more verses, which means the kids get more than that 'row row row your boat' stuff, which, let's be honest, is just the beginner's version of that hell known as singing rounds:

Ladies spin your circle bright,
Weave your web of dark and light,
Earth, Air, Fire and Water,
Bind us as one.

Maiden spin your circle white,
Weave your web of glowing light,
Stag, hawk, bear and wolf,
Bind us as one.

Mother spin your circle red,
Weave your web of glowing thread,
Earth, Air, Fire and Water,
Bind us as one.

Wise One spin your circle black,
Weave the wisdom that we lack,
Moonlight, sunlight, starlight, shimmer,
Bind us as one.


Beautiful, no? And so educational!
2012-08-15 11:05:49 AM
2 votes:

STRYPERSWINE: "The whole point to being an atheist is not giving a crap!"
-atheist Adam Carolla on militant atheism


I don't "give a crap" because I'm an atheist. I "give a crap" because I'm a humanist and I'm sick of theocrats farking up my world and the world I'm leaving to my children.
2012-08-15 09:10:54 AM
2 votes:

Ryan2065: I'm not against singing songs in school that are religious, but come on, you can't just put you prayers to music to get them in schools.


O RLY?

Would like a word with you...

s17.postimage.org

I'm as solid a progressive/liberal as they come, but the majority of music that exists in human history is liturgical in nature. Can't deny it, can't whitewash it, can't pretend it doesn't exist. Just embrace it as part of our heritage. Context is everything. As long as it's not being taught as part of a religous lesson, the separation is there. If the teacher is using it to teach rondels or fugues, well then who cares!

/Support the Arts!
2012-08-15 07:55:10 AM
2 votes:

kid_icarus: The possibly-religious songs include "Thank You for the World So Sweet," which says "Thank you God for everything," "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep," which says "I pray the Lord my soul to keep," "Michael Row your Boat Ashore" and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands."

Well, to be fair, "Enter Sandman" has those lyrics, too.


All 3 of those are fairly simple choral arrangements that kids can sing. Not too much range and with a repetitive pattern meaning there isn't that much to memorize.

Like others have pointed out. If you want any kind of traditional choral arrangement that kids can sing it is probably a religious song (or a song somehow tied to religion like Christmas carols) from some point in history.

Seriously speaking, if you are trying to teach royalty free choral songs to kids how many non religious options do you have? Thanks to modern copyright law the songs have to be the better part of a century old or more if you don't want to pay all kinds of stupid fees on them. Given how pitifully underfunded most school music programs are what are they supposed to do?
2012-08-15 07:45:07 AM
2 votes:
It's predatory to conduct this toward a young, captive audience who would be truant if they didn't attend public school

But songs about how much you love the country, Obama, your school, your sports team, or songs about a man being eaten by a boa constrictor while he describes the painful process in exacting detail (♫I'm being eaten by a boa constrictor and I don't like one bit! Oh no, he's eaten my toe, Oh gee, it's up to my knee♪ - I remember singing this in 2nd grade) is okay?

I'm not overly religious. I haven't been to church in 25 years. But I really see no problem with religious songs. Some are really quite good. Like Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley. It's a really sweet song. As long as you do a variety, who cares if you have a couple religious songs in there? If you are approaching it simply from a musical standpoint, there is no indoctrination going on. In English Lit in 12th grade we looked at some stories from the bible. It wasn't presented as 'you must believe this' it was done strictly from a literary perspective. No one freaked out. One day we were reading about some guy building an ark to save his family from a flood, the next we read about some guy taking ten years to get home after ransacking Troy and meeting hooking up with some sea goddess.

Atheists can be just as bad as Christians. They both try and shove doctrine down your throat. Agnostics on the other hand are like "meh." and leave people in peace.

School says to kids "God created everything and if you don't believe that yo will go to hell" = wrong.
School says to kids "Today we have a song about this hippy who could walk on water and magic up some fish chowder" = okay.

Fundies on both sides, give it a damn rest.
2012-08-15 07:38:45 AM
2 votes:

SkunkWerks: The whole "this is no big deal" argument really favors neither side. If it's not a big deal to have them, it logically follows that removing them also shouldn't be a big deal- but clearly it is. Why this is so is also, once again telling of which particular spin machine is behind the resistance.


Actually, from the article I'm under the impression that it's not a big deal to the choir director so much as he's (rightfully) offended at the implied insult to his professionalism and somewhat incensed that some random lawyers with a political agenda are trying to make his job arbitrarily complicated just (from his perspective) for the sheer hell of it.

Though I think there is also merit in the argument that you'd have to literally skip entire centuries of music and the entire origin of rock music in the US if you weren't allowed to reference Classical music (commissioned almost entirely by the church) and American hymns and spirituals. Sort of leaves the continuity of the lessons a disjointed mess just as much as only doing religious music would.
2012-08-15 07:33:53 AM
2 votes:

Muta: Jim_Callahan: Speaking as an avowed atheist, the Freedom From Religion foundation really, really needs to hire someone to help them pick their damned battles.

They're not the ones who started the battle. The Freedom From Religion Foundatation wouldn't exists had religous nutbags not been trying to push thier fiction based beliefs into every part of American life.


Meh, FFR are to atheist organizations what PETA is to animal rights organizations, they're mostly around to make more rational groups like American Atheists and the Humanists look bad by comparison.

Sort of a "please stop helping" situation, is what I'm saying here. Pretty please.
2012-08-15 07:32:19 AM
2 votes:

Jim_Callahan: Speaking as an avowed atheist, the Freedom From Religion foundation really, really needs to hire someone to help them pick their damned battles. Knowing the other shiat the group has been manufacturing outrage over, I doubt fox particularly had to spin this one, it was probably retarded to begin with.

The vast, vast majority of musical movements are rooted in cultural tradition or politics, that means religion is going to pop up all the time. Getting your panties in a wad over certain period songs referencing God is akin to being upset that songs by Bob Dylan reference drugs and are really down on religion. Everything that references religion isn't necessarily religious in nature itself or even _about_ religion, and singing a religious song doesn't require that you actually worship the invisible pink unicorn in question any more than me humming a Charlie Daniels tune obligates me to start a fight with a transvestite in a gay bar and then flee from the cops across a state line at 110 mph while downing a bottle of whiskey*.

*Obviously the silliest reference I could think of, so in a way it's hyperbole, but in my defense this describes the plot of a certain Daniels song quite accurately.

//Or I guess I could stick with the Dylan thing, but a consistent Dylan reference just seems... wrong.


If this "it's important to history!" thing wasn't just the latest Right Wingnut "angle" on how to keep religious material in schools (without giving religion as the only reason), I'd almost agree with you on all points.

The whole "this is no big deal" argument really favors neither side. If it's not a big deal to have them, it logically follows that removing them also shouldn't be a big deal- but clearly it is. Why this is so is also, once again telling of which particular spin machine is behind the resistance.

It's true that religion is unavoidable if you're going to talk about history in school. It's also unavoidable if you're going to talk about art. But again, if the big stink being raised about the dispute weren't so specifically about Christian devotional music, there's be a good deal less to be suspicious about.

I think you and I both know that if this were a move to excise, say the Eastern History curriculum from the high school instead, these same people wouldn't be troubling their eyelashes to bat over it. Or, in other words, this is as much about History as "The Jungle Book" is about Pokemon.
2012-08-15 07:30:06 AM
2 votes:

Muta: had religious nutbags not been fighting tooth and nail to get prayer into schools people would be less skeptical about the motives behind singing songs with religious themes in schools.


Meh, as mentioned, the FFR Foundation are pretty much religious nutbags, too, they're just bizarro world religious nutbags.

99.99999% of the time the "atheism is a religion" thing is complete bullshiat, but the FFR guys tend to behave, at minimum, like something of a cult, they're waaaay too obsessed with the importance of arbitrary symbols to really be called properly atheist. Antitheist, maybe.

//As always, I'm more annoyed by stupid when it's on "my side". I expect people that disagree with me (religious people, in this case) to be stupid, because that's something you prepare for emotionally when you disagree with someone. But this kind of shiat gets under my skin almost as bad as the "summer is hot, this proves global warming" idiots.
2012-08-15 07:28:39 AM
2 votes:

maggoo: Mr. Right: Up until the late Classical -early Romantic period, the history of Western vocal music is, pretty much, church music. Very little else exists. To deprive junior high and high school choirs of that historical treasury of great music would be a huge disservice to students.

If you honestly care only about "historical treasury" then I would expect you to be campaigning for the inclusion of muslim hymns. If, instead, people focus on christian music praising cristian deities and peddling christian doctrine then that obviously has nothing to do with music.


Muslim music is not considered Western. There is a vast treasury of non-Western music but it is relatively rare in this country. There are probably not a handful of music educators in this country conversant enough with non-Western music to even know much about it, let alone teach it.
2012-08-15 07:25:54 AM
2 votes:
I don't know any Muslim songs except Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Allah only shows up there as the other reindeer who used to laugh and call him names.
2012-08-15 07:16:54 AM
2 votes:

Charlie Freak: It's art, it's history, and it's important - lighten the fark up.


I agree but with that said...
had religious nutbags not been fighting tooth and nail to get prayer into schools people would be less skeptical about the motives behind singing songs with religious themes in schools.
2012-08-15 07:11:28 AM
2 votes:
Speaking as an avowed atheist, the Freedom From Religion foundation really, really needs to hire someone to help them pick their damned battles. Knowing the other shiat the group has been manufacturing outrage over, I doubt fox particularly had to spin this one, it was probably retarded to begin with.

The vast, vast majority of musical movements are rooted in cultural tradition or politics, that means religion is going to pop up all the time. Getting your panties in a wad over certain period songs referencing God is akin to being upset that songs by Bob Dylan reference drugs and are really down on religion. Everything that references religion isn't necessarily religious in nature itself or even _about_ religion, and singing a religious song doesn't require that you actually worship the invisible pink unicorn in question any more than me humming a Charlie Daniels tune obligates me to start a fight with a transvestite in a gay bar and then flee from the cops across a state line at 110 mph while downing a bottle of whiskey*.

*Obviously the silliest reference I could think of, so in a way it's hyperbole, but in my defense this describes the plot of a certain Daniels song quite accurately.

//Or I guess I could stick with the Dylan thing, but a consistent Dylan reference just seems... wrong.
2012-08-15 06:49:04 AM
2 votes:

Rufus Lee King: Really, though, when, for instance, are hymnals going to become illegal? Going to have to burn them all!

[fcit.usf.edu image 471x375]


Book burning was before they invented political correctness.
Now, instead of destroying material, they try to make you believe its taboo so you'll hide it instead.

/With the history of music and religion so deeply intertwined, one wonders how this even became a case.
/Separation of church and state was to keep the pope from becoming a legislator, not to ban all mention of religion.
2012-08-15 06:18:54 AM
2 votes:
Strange how all of these 'educational' songs never seem to educate kids using songs that promote any other religion except Christianity.

As usual, if it's just about education let's see what happens if we start singing songs about Allah, and watch the reaction.
2012-08-15 05:38:59 AM
2 votes:
(Shrug) All they have to do is include songs from other faiths. But you know what? Something tells me that ain't happenin'.
2012-08-15 05:37:36 AM
2 votes:
I am an atheist and I have no problem with religious songs in schools. They aren't going to affect the kids any more then singing Folsom Prison Blues will make you 'shoot a man in Reno, just to watch him die'.
2012-08-15 01:02:35 AM
2 votes:
I'm about as atheist as it gets, and I have no problem with religious songs being used in music class and for chorus / choir / etc. When I was in varsity choir in High School, I remember we sang a really nice version of "All God's Children Got Shoes" or whatever the actual title is. It was fun.

At a high school I worked at in Tokyo, their music club did an AMAZING version of "Deep River" and a pretty good job with "Soon Ah Will Be Done". Not a one of those students was Christian.

You can enjoy the music without believing the message.

In this case, are the teachers making the students sing these songs in order to praise their deity? Or are they just singing them because they are traditional, generally easy to arrange, and fairly well known? The former is a problem. The latter is not.
2012-08-15 12:55:57 AM
2 votes:
I'm shocked...SHOCKED that the Fox News story is short on details. Even though I'm the biggest atheist who ever atheisted, I do think that context is important. High school chorus kids can learn a LOT by singing Handel's Messiah. That's fine. Shoot, you could really impress me and perform Mozart's Requiem or the Ninth. If this school is putting together a program of Negro spirituals for Black History Month...fine.

However, this is an elementary school. I really don't think there's anything you can learn from "He's got the whole world in his hands" that you can't learn from any song that isn't referring to a specific deity.

And Billy Donahue, King of Fake Outrage, please stop patronizing us by claiming that "Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore" doesn't refer to a specific deity.
2012-08-15 12:45:37 AM
2 votes:
So are they going to require reading the bible as a historical document next?

Actually that might be fun.
2012-08-15 12:15:13 AM
2 votes:
I actually have no problem with songs of this nature, provided they have the proper context.
2012-08-15 03:33:19 PM
1 votes:

ten foiled hats: edip1976: Context, sir. Context. I went to a public high school in the early 90's with an amazing music program. We did almost nothing but religious music. Rutter's Gloria, Bach's Christ Lag in Todesbanden, The Gospel Mass, Walton's Coronation Te Deum, Mozart's Requiem and a host of Spirituals.

Context, sir. Context. This is not Bach in high school. This is "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" in elementary school. Let 'em sing "The Inky-Dinky Spider," it'd teach 'em the same thing. (Minus the religious bit, of course.)


Again, miss the point. As long as there is no religious lesson taking place here, it doesn't violate the separation of C & S. It's not a prayer. It's lyrics. It becomes just as annoying as sanitizing things so as not to offend. Ridiculous waste of time. And it doesn't matter what level of education we're talking about. Plenty of grade schools could handle (pun intended) the Alleluia section of the Messiah, and have done so. It's one of the most recognizable pieces of music in the western world. Is it liturgical worship or a secular performance? DEPENDS ON THE CONTEXT.
2012-08-15 02:23:12 PM
1 votes:

edip1976: Context, sir. Context. I went to a public high school in the early 90's with an amazing music program. We did almost nothing but religious music. Rutter's Gloria, Bach's Christ Lag in Todesbanden, The Gospel Mass, Walton's Coronation Te Deum, Mozart's Requiem and a host of Spirituals.


Context, sir. Context. This is not Bach in high school. This is "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" in elementary school. Let 'em sing "The Inky-Dinky Spider," it'd teach 'em the same thing. (Minus the religious bit, of course.)
2012-08-15 02:07:38 PM
1 votes:

Ryan2065:
They took a well known prayer that isn't generally a song, found a version with music, and are teaching that instead of teaching any number of other traditional children's songs. It is pretty clear what the intent is.


Context, sir. Context. I went to a public high school in the early 90's with an amazing music program. We did almost nothing but religious music. Rutter's Gloria, Bach's Christ Lag in Todesbanden, The Gospel Mass, Walton's Coronation Te Deum, Mozart's Requiem and a host of Spirituals. It was almost exclusively religious music in a Public High School. Without being in the room or hearing the context you can CLEARLY see that there was some kind of indoctrination of our young.... Except there wasn't. It was simply because that was the best music for our program.

So unless you can find something that says that there were religious lessons going on (and having gone to a Catholic grade school for 9 years, I've been in music classes where the music comes with a heaping dose of proselytizing)then how bout you just settle down. It's hard enough getting music taught in public schools. Let's not let them use this as an excuse to defund it any further with a "this is why you can't have nice things" wag of the finger.
2012-08-15 02:05:29 PM
1 votes:

Dansker: So for Bach, you've got what, the Brandenberg Concertos and that's it?

No, are you freaking kidding me? All his concertos, hundreds of opuses for lute, cello, string quartets... You know I'm talking about Johann Sebastian, right?


Of his 50 year career, Bach spent 6 of them not employed by the Church. The majority of his body of work was commissioned by the dominant religious authority in Europe. It may not have lyrics, but most of Bach's output was ecclesiastical.

And the Catholic Church loves it some finale to the 9th Symphony.
2012-08-15 01:29:37 PM
1 votes:

yingtong: IIRC, we just had a thread a few days ago about Missouri's state constitutional amendment that supports the right of people to pray in government-funded locations, as long as it's voluntary.

IIRC, the Fark reaction ot that was, "what a huge waste of time, nobody's trying to ban religious speech."

And now we have subby assuming it's a slam-dunk that any songs with potentially religious content should obviously be banned from school music classes.

Watching secular humanists is fun.. as long as you can make your head spin fast enough.


IIR, the objection to the Missouri state constitutional amendment was that it was using tax payer money to promote a religion.

IIR, the objection to singing religious songs in school if that it is using taxpayer money to promote a religion.

Watching secular humanists must be boring sing they are so consistent.
2012-08-15 12:42:07 PM
1 votes:

SkunkWerks: Dansker: Why don't you have feelings about things you can't intellectually prove? That doesn't sound quite human.

Dunno what members of H. Sapiens you've had contact with, but that sounds exceedingly human to me...


Feelings of religious belief are extremely common. Feeling a lack of belief in gods is rarer, but not uncommon. Some feel that gods are unknowable, but of course they can't prove that.
Most people I've met feel that their parents love them. At least, I have a feeling they do.
Some people feel confident without reason.
Some people always feel bad things are going to happen to them. A few days ago a friend of mine had a feeling about a horse, but he should have ignored that.
I have a feeling I'm out of milk, but I don't know, and I can't prove it where I am right now.
2012-08-15 11:58:44 AM
1 votes:

PsiChick: Rufus Lee King: So, kids can't sing songs with any sort of religious references any more? And a lot of you would support that concept. Crypto-Nazis, take off your masks. I can still see you.

Okay. Let's have them sing This lovely song. It can be sung as a round, and a wonderful commenter added more verses, which means the kids get more than that 'row row row your boat' stuff, which, let's be honest, is just the beginner's version of that hell known as singing rounds:

Ladies spin your circle bright,
Weave your web of dark and light,
Earth, Air, Fire and Water,
Bind us as one.

Maiden spin your circle white,
Weave your web of glowing light,
Stag, hawk, bear and wolf,
Bind us as one.

Mother spin your circle red,
Weave your web of glowing thread,
Earth, Air, Fire and Water,
Bind us as one.

Wise One spin your circle black,
Weave the wisdom that we lack,
Moonlight, sunlight, starlight, shimmer,
Bind us as one.

Beautiful, no? And so educational!


This is magnitudes better than farking "jesus loves me," or that idiot whole world in his hands song. I spent some time listening to some world music I hadn't heard before last week. All easy to play for an elementary student and from an educational standpoint would teach rhythm and music theory so much better than sunday school songs. Plus, kids can play simple instruments like blocks along to the music.

Educators who use sunday school songs instead are being lazy and bigoted.
2012-08-15 11:56:49 AM
1 votes:
Wow. Farkers amaze me. No one is saying we need to ignore all allusions to religion in the historical record, or insisting that we keep our children from learning about them in any context whatsoever. No one's disparaging Beethoven, either. But folks, these are the exact songs that you learn when you're four years old in Sunday school. (If you're lucky enough to have that experience.) They may as well have them singing "Jesus Loves Me," (or whatever the name of that damned song is) while they're at it.

I'm not saying it isn't a fine line, or that I know just where that line is, but it's pretty f*cking far from singing "Thank You For The World So Sweet" in a public school.

Also, many agnostics do indeed believe in a "higher power," and will tell you as much. It's the nature of that entity which they claim no knowledge of.

/It's not "Is our children learning?," so much as "WHAT is our children learning?"
//slashies
2012-08-15 11:42:49 AM
1 votes:
I'm a middle school choir director in a public school, and an atheist. I've programmed religious pieces before, and will continue to do so. Religious texts make up a vast majority of all available choir music, and I know of no other teacher that would feel they can limit over half of their subject and still give kids a full-rounded education. On the other hand, I'm partial to "burying" such things into foreign texts - Latin is lovely to sing in. I also shy away from modern "praise choir" music - It's usually hokey, but give me a good Robert deCormier or Moses Hogan arrangement of a spiritual any day.

What I tell the kids (I don't mention my atheism): "We are learning this for the music - we will discuss the text at times, and what it means, because the way the music is structured is deeply linked to the text, as is all choir music. Where I would cross a line is to say "That's what it means, and that's what you should believe." If I say that, I deserve to be fired."
2012-08-15 11:04:37 AM
1 votes:
I am fine with this as long as the songs feature EVERY religion, not just christianity. My main problem is when people say `religious` they actually mean `christian`

lets see

FTA The possibly-religious songs include "Thank You for the World So Sweet," which says "Thank you God for everything," "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep," which says "I pray the Lord my soul to keep," "Michael Row your Boat Ashore" and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands."

thank you for the world is based on a creator religion. Same with thank you god for everything. Now I lay me down mentions souls, another christian theme. Micheal is a bible character and the final one specifically says hands not noodles, trunk or tentacles and was sung to me in christian religious studies.

Where are the non-christian songs?

/should we get the kids to sing `A is for Aryan` as well?
2012-08-15 10:51:35 AM
1 votes:

TiMthisIS: I did not go to church as a child. I sang Jesus-ey songs at Christmas. The school did not force me to follow any religion nor was it talked about much. Those are just the most popular songs we have in the country and they are pretty traditional fare.

The "get rid of all religious references" zealots need to relax.


If it's not a big deal to have them, it's also not a big deal to remove them.
2012-08-15 10:50:10 AM
1 votes:
I did not go to church as a child. I sang Jesus-ey songs at Christmas. The school did not force me to follow any religion nor was it talked about much. Those are just the most popular songs we have in the country and they are pretty traditional fare.

The "get rid of all religious references" zealots need to relax.
2012-08-15 10:39:05 AM
1 votes:
This is an issue because organized religion has chosen to make public schools their battleground of choice. Creationism has no place in school except maybe in a fiction literature course, but churches have attempted to ram it down the throats of schools for years. Now some schools have to refer to fairy tales in their SCIENCE class.

So maybe to some parents who actually want their kid to come out of school smarter than when they started, teaching religious songs to kids in their formative years sounds a lot like grooming. You could also call it recruiting, or proselytizing.

What happens if there are kids who come from families from another religion that don't want their kid singing songs about some god they don't worship?

Are schools teaching a middle/high school law or justice class featuring the rampant pedophilia and the systematic protection of offenders in the Catholic church? No? How about a study of the KKK? No? Is there a balanced approach to showing both sides of organized religion? No? Then get the religious bias out of elementary school.

The field of music is not so narrow that you can't fill a curriculum full of non religious songs. Take your kid to a damn church if you want them to sing god songs.
2012-08-15 10:38:36 AM
1 votes:

This text is now purple: Dansker: This text is now purple: So...

no music history (Chant and Baroque were sponsored by the Catholic Church), no Bach, no Beethoven, no Handel, no Mozart

Now that's going way, way too far. Bach, Beethoven et al. wrote plenty of secular music. The majority of all their works are instrumental, and operas rarely have religious themes.

So for Bach, you've got what, the Brandenberg Concertos and that's it? The work that was never performed in his lifetime? Most of the rest of his life was spent in the employ of one church or another.

As for Beethoven, shame about the 9th -- you know, the anthem of Europe? First important choral symphony? Considered the greatest western music work, and possibly in the world? Shame about that passing reference to the gods in the chorus.


Bach wrote lots of stuff with no singing in it, including the best solo violin pieces until Beethoven's and the best organ music ever. His third partita is the piece I listen to the most. A lot of his important music was religious, though, even if he was pretty blatantly doing it for the paycheck.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any Beethoven religious references outside of the final movement of the 9th, but yeah, losing that would be a shame. He probably refers to religion in passing somewhere in Fidelio, but don't remember it well enough to confirm that.

However, the passing references to God (most of which Schiller wrote, not Beethoven) are just sort of a cultural artifact in the 9th; they aren't the point of the piece, and they serve a historical purpose, like Greek religion does. I doubt anyone would seriously try to erase all references to history and literature and poetry in music just to maintain ideological purity.

From what I can tell, that's not what the article is about, anyway. The problem there is that the music in question has no real purpose other than the practice of religion.

You can tell students to read (parts of) the Bible or Paradise Lost or the Divine Comedy or whatever. I read some of each of those in school (especially Dante), as well as most of the other big names. (My class even had to memorize some Goethe.) You just can't ask them to pray or do other things with no legitimate secular purpose.
2012-08-15 10:26:47 AM
1 votes:
How can these groups claim to care about any children when by their own actions they are forcing school districts to divert already limited funds to defend against frivolous bullshiat like this?
2012-08-15 09:38:53 AM
1 votes:
So...

no music history (Chant and Baroque were sponsored by the Catholic Church), no Bach, no Beethoven, no Handel, no Mozart, no spirituals (no black music history). Much of the Blues is out. No Gospel, no R&B.

Well, Tchaikovsky and Joplin are probably happy as spit.
2012-08-15 09:31:58 AM
1 votes:

Captain_Ballbeard: I didn't know that, as a Rush fan.


And you're complaining about the druggy deadheads!? It takes gobs of drugs to deal with the pseudointellectual dribble Rush cranks out. The trees are arguing over sunlight and the maples unionize. What kind of drugs does it take to find *that* deep?
2012-08-15 09:23:44 AM
1 votes:
If there's no sacred music in your Western music education you don't have a Western music education. I'd support including some music from around the world to round things out but it's hard enough to have a decent traditional music program.
/child of two music teachers
2012-08-15 08:53:37 AM
1 votes:

meanmutton: Generation_D: ignite ice: I implore people with an open mind to read the article. The songs are being used as historical references. It's up to each individual student to decide how and what they take away from each song. Students are not being encouraged to interpret any of the songs as having religious meaning. They may have religious symbols of religious connotations in the lyrics, but they won't have a religious meaning to someone who isn't religious. I wish they did, but you don't see me writing to schools asking them to remove non-religious songs. Atheism failing to see the double standard here and I'm not surprised.

I implore people to shut the hell off FOX NEWS and think for themselves. No matter what, they're lying. Every time.

When did "think for yourself" start meaning "ignore anyone with a different view"?


You don't understand the moral to The Boy Who Cried Wolf, do you? There's only so many hours in the day so why waste it on "news" that has historically shown itself so often to be incomplete, biased and sometimes just plain wrong. Even the choice of which stories to run points towards a blatant and obvious agenda.
2012-08-15 08:51:49 AM
1 votes:

NetOwl: Debeo Summa Credo: randomjsa: Strange how all of these 'educational' songs never seem to educate kids using songs that promote any other religion except Christianity.

As usual, if it's just about education let's see what happens if we start singing songs about Allah, and watch the reaction.

America is not a historically Muslim country. You'd have to inject songs that have never been remotely part of American culture. And that would be farkin stupid.

Actually, since you go to school to learn stuff about the world, leaning about non-western music wouldn't be so terrible. I don't know enough about it know if a significant portion of music developed in Muslim cultures is secular, though.

I mean, lots of western music is religious, but I had to pick one piece to show off to someone who knew nothing about western music, I'd probably go with something by Beethoven.


I think that the biggest reason you don't hear much Islamic music sung in a choral setting is because it's not easy to sing, especially in a group setting, especially when you're still developing your vocal technique. Western religious music, in general, is where the concept of harmony came from (aside from the droning found in some East Asian music). Yeah, that's a Eurocentric view, but justifying the benefits of group teaching in music pretty much requires that view, at least until later in a child's musical upbringing.
2012-08-15 08:34:17 AM
1 votes:

slayer199: I'm also an agnostic (of course the atheists will end up hating more on us than the religious folk)


Since you bring it up, I just think you people are intellectually lazy and emotionally dishonest to yourselves, avoiding questions of belief with non sequiturs about proof. Otherwise fine people in general.
But nice bit of parenthetical, passive-aggressive self-victimization there.
2012-08-15 08:22:40 AM
1 votes:

ignite ice: I implore people with an open mind to read the article. The songs are being used as historical references. It's up to each individual student to decide how and what they take away from each song. Students are not being encouraged to interpret any of the songs as having religious meaning. They may have religious symbols of religious connotations in the lyrics, but they won't have a religious meaning to someone who isn't religious. I wish they did, but you don't see me writing to schools asking them to remove non-religious songs. Atheism failing to see the double standard here and I'm not surprised.


I read this and expected to read about militant atheists getting upset about songs that were in no way religious. I grew up in a religious household and these songs were always considered religious. He's got the whole world in his hands was one of the first songs we learned as kids at sunday school. If my kid went to this school I would be pissed.
2012-08-15 08:06:09 AM
1 votes:
"Oh Lord, please don't burn us/Don't grill or toast your flock/Don't put us on the barbecue/Or simmer us in stock/Don't braise or bake or boil us/Or stir-fry us in a wok/Oh please don't lightly poach us/Or baste us with hot fat/Don't fricassee or roast us/Or boil us in a vat/And please don't stick thy servants Lord/In a Rotiss-o-mat."

/not remotely obscure
2012-08-15 07:57:52 AM
1 votes:

BrassArt: Guess you missed the part of American History where both prayer and the Bible were the school norm, not the exception.


There was a part in American History where Slavery was part of the labor norm.

Not sure this makes such a good argument for continuing it into the present though. Certainly not on it's own merits.
2012-08-15 07:42:53 AM
1 votes:

Debeo Summa Credo: randomjsa: Strange how all of these 'educational' songs never seem to educate kids using songs that promote any other religion except Christianity.

As usual, if it's just about education let's see what happens if we start singing songs about Allah, and watch the reaction.

America is not a historically Muslim country. You'd have to inject songs that have never been remotely part of American culture. And that would be farkin stupid.


Actually, since you go to school to learn stuff about the world, leaning about non-western music wouldn't be so terrible. I don't know enough about it know if a significant portion of music developed in Muslim cultures is secular, though.

I mean, lots of western music is religious, but I had to pick one piece to show off to someone who knew nothing about western music, I'd probably go with something by Beethoven.
2012-08-15 07:38:25 AM
1 votes:

Mr. Right:
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a radical group of the same ilk as PETA. They fabricate offense where none exists. They would have us believe that a child singing the word God is predatory and will ruin the child. But listening to rap music where women are denigrated and treated as worthless objects; where killing is condoned - that will have no effect on them and should be permitted.


They're not listening to rap in elementary schools, it's not permitted for the same reason singing prayers shouldn't be.

If you want to indoctrinate your children into believing in the sky man, good for you. Why oh why do you feel the need to indoctrinate everyone else's kids also? Even people who don't want their kids indoctrinated.
2012-08-15 07:36:19 AM
1 votes:

randomjsa: Strange how all of these 'educational' songs never seem to educate kids using songs that promote any other religion except Christianity.

As usual, if it's just about education let's see what happens if we start singing songs about Allah, and watch the reaction.


America is not a historically Muslim country. You'd have to inject songs that have never been remotely part of American culture. And that would be farkin stupid.
2012-08-15 07:24:38 AM
1 votes:

Jim_Callahan: Speaking as an avowed atheist, the Freedom From Religion foundation really, really needs to hire someone to help them pick their damned battles.


They're not the ones who started the battle. The Freedom From Religion Foundatation wouldn't exists had religous nutbags not been trying to push thier fiction based beliefs into every part of American life.
2012-08-15 07:18:56 AM
1 votes:
I'm ok with a big bunch of bullies...I mean lawyers threatening these nearly bankrupt school districts to purge even the slightest Christian reference and all non commercial holidays and events. I think big money from outside groups or even out of state groups should constantly threaten schools, those who run it and those vile teachers to conform, go bankrupt or get out!
2012-08-15 07:04:54 AM
1 votes:

Charlie Freak: There is too much that gets thrown out to the detriment of the student's education.


THIS THIS THIS THIS

I am not Christian, but I love teaching the Bible as literature to my students. 99% have never really read it other than the spoon-fed stories they get in Sunday School. People need to lighten up on all sides.
2012-08-15 07:04:37 AM
1 votes:

NetOwl: Everyone who pursues voice training encounters religious music at that point, of course, because it's good music.


Just because the Church had a stranglehold on art for so very long doesn't mean we should venerate those works, not while better music (and its composers) was being put to the flame nearby.
2012-08-15 06:55:10 AM
1 votes:

fusillade762: So are they going to require reading the bible as a historical document next?

Actually that might be fun.


Actually, I did in 10th grade English- a couple of stories anyway. Then we actually dissected them as historical literature, without getting stupid about it. I agree that music is the same way; there are tons of religious songs, or songs that invoke god, that are just great songs. And if you want to be well educated in music, especially western music, you need to learn them. One of my favorite pieces of music was mozart's requiem. We sang it in Latin. I wasn't required to believe in it, just learn and sing it.
2012-08-15 06:51:47 AM
1 votes:
Unless the school's music program is exceptionally well-funded, the kids aren't going to be good enough at singing to attempt Messiah or a Requiem until high school. Everyone who pursues voice training encounters religious music at that point, of course, because it's good music.

I can see where kids could be introduced to some of this music at some point. Listening to Verdi or Handel or Bach is healthy, and it is moreso at that age when kids need to develop an appreciation for art. Making them try to sing complicated music, though, is a tall order.

Bedtime prayers set to sing-song melodies? No academic value whatsoever. Find something better.
2012-08-15 06:51:39 AM
1 votes:

ignite ice: [...] Students are not being encouraged to interpret any of the songs as having religious meaning. They may have religious symbols of religious connotations in the lyrics, but they won't have a religious meaning to someone who isn't religious. [...].


Well, so far, a cursory Googling turns up one set of lyrics to "Thank You For The World So Sweet:"

Thank you God for the world so sweet,
Thank you God for the food we eat,
Thank you God for the birds that sing,
Thank you God for everything.

That's it.

Well, it's not always it - some sources show a last line of "Amen."

So it's not really something that a non-religious person could see another, broader message in. The whole shebang is "A single God exists and made everything and we're thanking him for it."

I was at least agnostic even as a kid (for which my classmates tried to get me sent to the Principal's office once, amusingly enough), but I still loved singing "Children, Go Where I Send Thee" with all the hand motions, "Go Tell It On The Mountain," and "O Come All Ye Faithful." They just sounded neat.

And I'm no fan of censorship in general - it cramped my style when somebody's stupid mom kept us from singing "American Pie" in 6th grade because she couldn't stop clutching her pearls at the "We saw Satan laughing with delight" line.

Buuuuuut.... I'd never heard of this song until this article. I'm not finding any particular historical relevance. It doesn't seem to be an old spiritual or a carol, just a twee little prayer that somebody set to music sometime. And unless it has some killer harmonies, or is some kind of complex and elaborate round, I'm sorta lost on what it's even going to teach.
2012-08-15 06:51:38 AM
1 votes:

way south: Now, instead of destroying material, they try to make you believe its taboo so you'll hide it instead.


We also do this with slavery and wife beating, along with other Judaeo-Christian "values" best left at home.
2012-08-15 06:43:26 AM
1 votes:
Not worth getting one's panties in a bunch, but anything that pisses off Bill Donohue is a worthwhile endeavor.
2012-08-15 06:41:26 AM
1 votes:

shoegaze99: Again, which songs are the school overlooking?


Surely you're not this stupid, right?

shoegaze99: ...that would be right for a western elementary school class, right?


Ah, I see you are.

shoegaze99: Clearly you have something specific in mind.


I have to have something specific in mind? The claim that we should rush to substantiate the existence of these in schools is based on the notion that they are "of historical value".

Not of "American historical value".

Not even of "Western historical value".

...and I learned world history when I was in K-8. Not really sure what you're taking issue with here, except perhaps that, when you strip away all the BS from this claim, it leaves you with little other choice than to conclude that "historical value" isn't really the motivation here.

Paint yourselves into the corner more. I find it hilarious.
2012-08-15 06:25:35 AM
1 votes:
Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
2012-08-15 06:21:42 AM
1 votes:
Now I am the last person to champion "religion in schools" if that is what this is. But really, THIS:

"This is not minor. It's predatory to conduct this toward a young, captive audience who would be truant if they didn't attend public school," Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, told FoxNews.com.

made me think more of a PETA freak attacking the teaching of "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider" than a reasoned complaint against religion in schools. At this rate, the anti-religion people will be banning high school productions of "Godspell" (not that that would be bad, but for different reasons) and "Jesus Christ Superstar," and with about as much foundation.

Sometimes you have to say, paraphrasing Freud, that a song is just a song.
2012-08-15 06:20:10 AM
1 votes:
I'd like to ask Mr. Donohue "What if it were songs praising or mentioning the Devil, Buddha, or some pagan deity and the school made the same claim of the songs being educational?"
2012-08-15 06:13:34 AM
1 votes:

Cybernetic: Yet another atheist group gets its overly-sensitive panties in a wad over something that is really no big deal.


If it's not a big deal to keep, it's not a big deal to remove.
2012-08-15 06:11:30 AM
1 votes:
Yet another atheist group gets its overly-sensitive panties in a wad over something that is really no big deal.
2012-08-15 05:53:19 AM
1 votes:

EvilEgg: There is a huge difference between Handel Messiah or Coltrane's A Love Supreme and whatever crap some Christian Rock group put out.

Teaching the former is fine, the latter is indoctrination. I just don't know where that line is.


Wherever some permenently butt-hurt whining parent or FOX NEWS says, clearly. Screw education, we're out to prove our viewpoint is the only viewpoint.
2012-08-15 05:28:52 AM
1 votes:
www.whydontyou.org.uk
2012-08-15 03:18:51 AM
1 votes:
Do you know why no one sings Hanukkah songs in school? Not because they're Jewish. But because they read like Ronnie James Dio lyrics:

"To sever the towering cypress
sought the Aggagite, son of Hammedatha,
But it became [a snare and] a stumbling block to him
and his arrogance was stilled.
The head of the Benjaminite You lifted
and the enemy, his name You obliterated
His numerous progeny - his possessions -
on the gallows You hanged.


"Bare Your Holy arm
and hasten the End for salvation -
Avenge the vengeance of Your servants' blood
from the wicked nation.
For the triumph is too long delayed for us,
and there is no end to days of evil,
Repel the Red One in the nethermost shadow
and establish for us the seven shepherds.
"

i.imgur.com
2012-08-15 01:52:36 AM
1 votes:

ecmoRandomNumbers: As a music teacher and an atheist...

This is farking stupid. Religious music is an inextricable part of any study of music, music history, or repertoire.


As an appreciator of music and an atheist, I completely agree. This shiat is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

/I never said I appreciated good music
 
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