Local News

'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' causes stir at school

Posted December 9, 2008

— "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" caused a stir at a New Hanover County school.  A parent complained about the song's religious reference and got it pulled from her child's kindergarten Christmas show at Murrayville Elementary School.

The song was pulled “because it had the word Christmas in it,” said Rick Holliday, assistant school superintendent.

A Jewish mother, who didn't want her name published, objected to what she called "religious overtones" in the song. So the principal agreed to pull it from the program.

School administrators said they were then flooded with complaints from other angry parents.

“I would say it's not a very religious song. It's about Santa Claus,” parent Anne Vanslyke said.

School board members, administrators and attorneys listened closely to the song's lyrics and decided the song was secular.

“Rudolph is a secular song. It was about a flying reindeer, not a religious symbol,” Holliday said.

Many parents shouted out with glee when they heard the song was back in the program.

“I think it's great that they let the kids sing because all the kids love that song,” Vanslyke said.

Any student who objects to singing a Christmas song or attending a program can decline participation and will not be penalized, according to school administrators.

“We do try to be cognizant of everyone's feelings,” Holliday said.

School administrations also decided that for future concerts, religious songs can be included, as long as other faiths are represented as well.

222 Comments

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  • TexasKate Dec 11, 9:50 p.m.

    To add to the uproar: if you have a decorated Christmas tree in your home you are in direct violation of the preachings of the great prophet Jeremiah who expressly forbade it as PAGAN.

    Git that thang outta the house!!!!

  • col101 Dec 11, 9:02 p.m.

    There is always going to be stupid people making frivolous complaints as this Jewish mother did. However one would think a school principal would have enough brains to dismiss such a complaint. The only real story here is why the school principal has not been sacked for displaying a propensity for irrational thought and unsound judgment.

  • 2headstrong Dec 11, 8:22 p.m.

    "I was married to a Jewish person who took offense to everything Christmas, but enjoyed the presents on Christmas Day. Have the person with non-Christian beliefs move to where his/her kind are...and stop complaining. BTW..No longer married to the non-Christian." ---MOM AND LOVIN IT

    .....

    Is that some of that famous xian tolerance I keep hearing of here?

  • MOM AND LOVIN IT Dec 11, 7:45 p.m.

    I was married to a Jewish person who took offense to everything Christmas, but enjoyed the presents on Christmas Day. Have the person with non-Christian beliefs move to where his/her kind are...and stop complaining. BTW..No longer married to the non-Christian.

  • 2headstrong Dec 11, 7:19 p.m.

    jaredg, I think you hit the nail square on the head.

    If this wasn't taking place in the school in the first place, there would be no argument. This is a diverse country, and out of respect for that diversity, celebration of what many consider to be a religious holiday should be left for people to do in their homes and/or places of worship.

    It's not like the kids are deprived of celebrations to begin with.

  • exwife1956 Dec 11, 6:32 p.m.

    The woman needs to find somewhere to sit down and read what Christmas is all about.

  • jaredg Dec 11, 4:36 p.m.

    ""School administrations also decided that for future concerts, religious songs can be included, as long as other faiths are represented as well."

    I think this is the right approach...be inclusive of many faiths instead of excluding all references to faith."

    This is a slippery slope. Next year people will be wanting to include Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, etc. Granted it should be all or none, but in my opinion anything supported by government funding should be the latter. Have your Christmas pageant, but do it at church, not school.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Dec 11, 4:12 p.m.

    What happens if your name is Christian?!?

    UNCG4Heels

    Nothing. Just don't pay any attention to the naysayers? Its a pretty name etc.

  • NeverSurrender Dec 11, 3:15 p.m.

    "NeverSurrender, maybe folks should respect you, if that's your desire, but like that little boy, there are millions who don't know what's about to hit them. So we persevere for their sake not yours."

    ---

    Respect would certainly be a more realistic goal than being "liked". :)

    But seriously, there is a important difference between the oblivious boy of your allegory and a rational thinking adult who is reasonably aware of their purpose and place in this universe.

    There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not doing my dead-level best to ensure that my three children don't do something equally as catastrophic because they just don't have the experience or the knowledge to navigate this world on their own.

    But like all parents, there comes the age where your child is capable of standing on their own. I'm sure it will be just as tough for me to allow them to live their own life.

    But as your path is not mine, neither is mine theirs.

    We all deserve to walk our respective paths in peace.

  • NeverSurrender Dec 11, 3:08 p.m.

    "Actually, Never, the comment was "pray for those who reject Him." That was not directed at you, but at a group of people of which you happen to be a member. Had the commenter said "pray for the troops" and you were a soldier, would you be just as offended?"

    ---

    There is a whole world of difference between someone putting out a thought to keep the troops who are defending your rights (including the freedom of religion) in your thoughts whether it be a prayer to God, Jesus, Buddha, Osiris, Zeus, or whatever...and someone getting in my face telling me that they're going to "pray for me" because they've judged me to be some sort of sinner that requires their personal intercession.

    It is the latter situation and arrogant presumption that goes along with it that is an incredible turn-off for me and pretty much any reasonable person you'd likely meet.

    I would also point out that you're also assuming you know what I believe or don't. I would respectfully suggest that you don't...

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