My 12 year old daughter came home from school with a new song for chorus class. The song is called "The Echo Carol" with lyrics like "praise the lord, child in bethlehem, redeem the world from sin." and so on. She goes to a public middle school in R.I. Does anyone know the precedent or what can be done. I don't really want to draw attention to my daughter, its hard enough being a middle school-er. i was thinking of trying to anonymously call and complain. Does anyone have any experience with this situation?

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As far as art and music are concerned, maybe you can tell her to look at it as a cultural curiosity. I mean, look, nobody hates religion in school more than me, but I think that we can't deny that religions are the subject of a lot of great music. There's really no way to teach about the history of music without a lesson on Gregorian monks (which I incidentally first learned about in a public middle school).

Here's my stance on this. Teaching a religious song in a music class is like teaching the bible in a literature class. Both of which I'd support, if they were done in a secular way. Too often these things (more so the bible) are taught from a christian point of view. But the truth is the Bible is an important piece of literature. It gives us insight into the values, social structures and reasoning of its time. It's when public school teachers start suggesting that this is a way to live our lives today that I have a problem. I was never taught that I had to follow the Bhagavad-Gita in order to be considered a good and moral person, but I learned the book in public high school. The Bible should be the same way and I think religious songs should be treated that way too.

That being said, If you want to call the school and complain I back you 100%, cause I have to assume that the music teacher isn't an enlightened citizen of the world trying to expose children to all cultures and history through music, but more likely a Christian who gets some secret pleasure or feels shes doing gods work by forcing a religious song into a public school.

I guess the question is, what do you know about this music teacher? And what does your daughter think about religion?
thank for everyone's reply's on this issue. i decided to let it go after talking more with my daughter about the teacher and class. she told me that the teacher was not pushing religion or preaching about religion in class. It was just a holiday song that she likes and thought to include it in the group of secular songs also being sung. I also got a "please, please, please, please daddy don't say anthing." which is the main reason that i'm not persuing the issue any further. But we'll see what happens at the chours concert later this month. How much god and jesus is talked about is yet to be seen. i'll keep everone updated afterward.
The local public radio where I am runs a show on Sundays that is nothing but gospel music. Gospel music is a deeply ingrained part of Appalachian culture. I enjoy the show and take no offense, as it is presented as a cultural thing and not a "you should be a Christian" thing.

That said, I think the school should be informed about your perceptions as a parent regarding chorus.
Anonymously call and complain, because it is illegal.

However, considering you are all ready concerned about the situation, it means you've already done your job as a parent at giving her an open mind. However, as long as your complaints are anonymous, I think your daughter would be shielded from any sort of "outing". Your daughter's well being comes first, and as much as you would hate to see her singing about something that goes against your beleifs, know that it is nothing compared to the years of mentoring and raising you give to her as a parent. I think it would be best to bring it up to her only if you feel it makes her uncomfortable.

I was in chorus in seventh grade, and we sang a number of more or less religious themed songs. They were classic carols though, which, looking back, I am completely okay with (Amazing Grace is a classic) because we did not sing them because they were religious, more so that they are classic songs.

If this song, however, was written with recently and or with the intent to proselytze a religion, then it is illegal, and I'm sure you aren't the only parent who wants to complain.
I don't know I was in choir and we sang songs of all types. All religions and many different languages.
I went to public schools and I can remember singing "Dry Bones" in music class in elementary school. This song is taken from a story about the valley of the dry bones in Ezekiel.

The song goes:

Ezekiel cried, "Dem dry bones!"
Ezekiel cried, "Dem dry bones!"
Ezekiel cried, "Dem dry bones!"
"Oh, hear the word of the Lord."

The foot bone connected to the leg bone,
The leg bone connected to the knee bone,
The knee bone connected to the thigh bone,
The thigh bone connected to the back bone,
The back bone connected to the neck bone,
The neck bone connected to the head bone,
Oh, hear the word of the Lord!

Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk aroun'
Dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk aroun'
Dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk aroun'
Oh, hear the word of the Lord.

I don't think I even considered the meaning of the words at the time. To me, it was just another stupid song we had to sing.

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