Believe it or not, I consider myself not a conservative, but a libertarian. I am not shy about expressing what I believe to be correct. However, I will defend to the death the right of anyone to disagree. My political philosophy has at its core the principle that everyone can express anything and we are all free to agree or disregard the thoughts expressed. True evil, I believe, is when people seek to suppress differing thoughts from their own. True stupidity is when we leave common sense out of any decision. Those two basic postulates came together this week in the small town of Tuscumbia, Alabama. Fortunately, free expression and common sense prevailed.
The children in grades K-2 at the G.W. Trenholm Primary School decided to put on a play entitled "The Reindeer Rebellion" for their Christmas Pageant. As part of the production, the children were to sing the traditional carol Silent Night. Then the school received a letter from an organization called the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State demanding that the song be dropped. They do not live in Tuscambia, or even Alabama. They have no children in the G.W. Trenholm Primary School. No one in Tuscambia complained about the song being in their play. If the inclusion of the carol made one of the participants feel excluded, then I would have to consider how to best address the situation, including by perhaps, but not necessarily, cutting out Silent Night. But near as I can tell, the sole reason for the group's existence is to try to bully people from saying "Merry Christmas" or printing "In God We Trust" on currency. If you do not like hearing Silent Night, then don't go to the pageant, but let other people say (or sing) whatever they want--especially if it is part of a LONG accepted holiday tradition. As I said, fortunately common sense prevailed and the school told the interlopers to go screw (more nicely than I put it, I assume). The tough choice facing the school administrators was undoubtedly not whether the complainants were morally or legally correct, but whether the school district could afford the costs of doing what is right instead of capitulating in order to preserve precious school resources for the actual education of their students. Thankfully, the good people at the Alliance Defense Fund came to the rescue and offered to provide free legal counsel to the school in defense of the ridiculous complaint. I am not admitted to the Alabama bar, but please let me know if I can be of any help.