|Anbetung der Hirten (Adoration of the Shepherds) (c. 1500–10), by Italian painter Giorgio da Castelfranco|
‘Silent Night’ in school Christmas play could lead to lawsuitThere are several things that I see wrong with what the group Americans United for the Separation of Church and State are doing. First of all, let me state that I am a firm believer in the separation of church and state. I don't believe that anyone should tell me how to worship. That being said, Christmas is first and foremost a religious holiday. It is for the Mass of Christ's birth, regardless of whether or not it had it origins in pagan rituals or that it become more and more commercial each year. Also, "Silent Night" is one of the most popular Christmas songs. It has always been one of my favorites. Furthermore, Tuscumbia, Alabama, is a small north Alabama town of less than 9,000 people, which is most famous for being the birthplace of Helen Keller. Why would the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State be worried about a small north Alabama elementary school. I guess my point is that if they are going to have a Christmas program, which school all over the country have, then why should they not be allowed to sing about the origins of the holiday? Anyway, I would love to hear your opinion on this, whether you agree with me or not.
TUSCUMBIA, AL (WAFF) - A Tuscumbia elementary school plans on keeping "Silent Night" a part of their holiday program.
A Washington DC group has threatened legal action if students sing the song.
The non-profit said the song violates federal law and the separation of church and state.
Florence City Schools have had a front row seat to two of these separation of church and state issues.
Earlier this year, Brooks High School came under fire for public prayer at football games.
Now there's the controversial decision to sing "Silent Night" at G.W. Trenholm Primary School in Tuscumbia.
Florence City Schools Superintendent Dr. Janet Womack said every program her district does is checked by the district's attorney.
She said the district is always keeping up to date with court decisions.
She also said watching what's going on in these other districts is a reminder of how important communication needs to be between school employees, administration, and the central office.
"It's always being willing to ask for guidance instead of stepping into a gray area asking for guidance first so that we don't create a landmine for ourselves that would take and deter away the attention from what our main focus is," she said.
WAFF 48 News spoke to the group in Washington DC, and they told us what they plan to do next.
They said this is the only public school they know of where a religious message is being relayed in an elementary school play. And they said that's why they've targeted this school.
They've already sent a letter to the Tuscumbia City School Board.
That letter says the school needs to edit the play and get rid of the song "Silent Night."
The district told us Wednesday they don't plan on making any edits to the program.
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State said that means they'll take legal action.
"I hope that cooler heads prevail and people understand that this is a significant constitutional issue and they don't go along with the idea of continuing the plans to sing this hymn as part of what should be a secular public school event," said Barry Lynn, executive director of the nonprofit group.
I hope that you are all having a wonderful holiday season.