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On How the Government Has Taken Prayer Out of School

20December2011

Last evening we went to our son’s High School Choir Concert.  It was extraordinary!  In a school with around 200 kids in each class, the choir numbered around 150 singers.  The orchestra has over 40 musicians.  Needless to say, as parents we are thrilled that our son has an opportunity to be a part of such an incredible music program.

Amazingly this combined orchestra/choir concert was labeled the “80th Annual NHS Christmas Concert.”  It is a tradition as you can see. . . something that carries on in a school district for 80 years is most definitely a tradition!  You can detect by the title of the concert that religion and faith most certainly do still exist in some public school districts in our country. It’s not that the choir director is blatantly shoving her  Christianity in our children’s faces, or on the audience for that matter. . . no, it’s nothing like that.  She is a Christian, this much is true, but her Christian vocation is music teacher.  She goes to work everyday and teaches hundreds of students from 6th grade until their senior year the art of singing.  The thing is,  Christmas happens to be the source of many wonderful hymns, anthems and songs about the events and meaning of Christmas.  She simply happens to be brave enough to teach these songs to her students in the concert choir.  With no apology, I might add.  No need to explain either. This is a Christmas concert, not a “holiday” performance.

So, the beautiful sounding choir sang pieces such as “Bell Carol of the Kings,” a song about those three wise men who brought gifts to Jesus; “The Little Drummer Boy,” a crowd favorite yet still a song about a boy offering his most humble gift to the Christ child, and “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” a catechetical song that was used in the early church to teach the basic tenets of the Catholic faith.

So what?

Well let me just say that I hear quite often from people this complaint, “Everything went downhill in this country when they took prayer out of schools.”  That’s the reason I offer this reflection about a high school choir concert. . . everything did not go sour when prayer was “taken out” of schools.  It is not your child’s teacher’s job to teach him the faith.  It is not the educational system’s task to instill in your young one the basics of Christianity; it is not the Principal’s task to lead your daughter in prayer right after the pledge of allegiance, furthermore, anyone can pray in school if they so choose.  You can even pray at work, at the grocery store, on the bike path, in restaurants, restrooms, reststops and myriad other places and no one will bother you one little bit about it. This is free country after all, so go ahead, stop complaining and get praying!

The problem, in my humble estimation, is that those of us who complain that the schools no longer allow praying is that we are unwilling to do our job as Christians!  It is OUR responsibility to teach the faith to our children, not the teacher’s aide who helps out with reading.  It is OUR responsibility to bring our children to worship amongst the community of faith, to teach them the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed and the Ten Commandments (sound familiar?  Yep, it’s part of the baptismal liturgy that we promise God we will uphold).  It is our job as a community of faith to pray for our towns, schools, government etc.  The problem is NOT that they took prayer out of school. . . the problem is that we Christians have dropped the ball on sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, the Word made Flesh, Emmanuel- God with us, the Light of the world. . .

So while I am absolutely thrilled that this teacher teaches her students these beautiful songs, I do not expect her to teach my kids about the birth of Jesus in a stable, the shepherds following a star to the site of his nativity, the virgin mother who sang of her love for God and obedience to his will, or the flight to Egypt to save the Messiah from certain death.  That is my husband’s and my job to do, as well as the people of our faith community who have promised to help us with the raising of our son and daughter in the Christian faith.

Have a blessed Christmas!  Christ is with you!  Thanks be to God.

ACL@CCD

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. John Mawhirter permalink
    20December2011 09:13

    Like…Like…Like!

  2. Scott Ness permalink
    20December2011 10:12

    Well said Amy! Well said indeed. It is parents responsibility to teach faith–not teachers or Sunday School Teachers for that matter. Thanks for your thoughts. Celebrating 80 years of Christmas Hymns with you!
    SMN

  3. 20December2011 12:59

    Oh yes! True, strong, and an important reminder. It is much easier to point out problems or short comings or deficits than it is to settle in and say “What am I going to do to focus upon the solution?” Thanks for the clear reminder! Blessings do abound!

  4. 20December2011 15:25

    Yay, Yay, Yay — I have been saying this to folks in this neck of the woods for 5 years. Way to help put it is a different perspective and voice.

    Blessings to you!

  5. 20December2011 16:10

    Thanks Amy. Well done. and Merry Christmas 🙂

  6. 20December2011 17:58

    Great post! Amen and Amen!

  7. Sharon Brown permalink
    20December2011 23:12

    🙂

  8. 10January2012 16:04

    Amen! Well said!

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