Monday, December 29, 2008

Bah humbug to Intolerant Minority kvetching

Merry Jewish Christmas!

My friend Marty Beckerman calls attention to an ironic skirmish in the "War on Christmas":

"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.

Irony? "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was written by a Jew, Johnny Marks, who also wrote "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day," "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," and "A Holly Jolly Christmas." As Beckerman notes, Jewish songwriters also wrote or co-wrote such holiday standards as:

  • "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)" -- Mel Torme and Bob Wells, both Jewish;
  • "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" -- co-written by J. Fred Coots, Jewish;
  • "Silver Bells" -- Ray Evans and Jay Livingston, both Jewish;
  • It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" -- co-written by George Wyle, Jewish;
  • "Sleigh Ride" -- co-written by Mitchell Parish, Jewish;
  • "Let It Snow" -- Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne, both Jewish; and
  • "White Christmas" -- Irving Berlin, Jewish.

Of course, none of these songs is as important as the original Jewish contribution to Christmas, but if the "religious overtones" of Johnny Marks' innocuous song are enough to shut down a kindergarten Christmas show, let's not risk an ACLU lawsuit by mentioning that whole Bethlehem-and-the-manger trip.





The mother in question is an intolerant bigot. She care's not a whit about diversity, or the tolerance that is needed, above all by religious minorities.
I bet she is not actually religious and would be mortified at the actual message of Hanukkah (Fundamentalism, national liberation, death to collaborators. There is a reason this holiday was intentionally downplayed after the failure of the Bar Kochba revolt.)
She should spend her time teaching her child to be Jewish. Perhaps a nice presentation to the class for Passover would have been nice. However, I doubt she knows enough for this. She likely defines herself as "not Christian" more than actually Jewish. Grievance politics makes a poor ersatz faith.

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