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Rudolph and Santa given a second chance

Good, simple common sense….some have it, others fail miserably to grasp the concept.

Thank goodness there is at least one public governing body that is able to use common sense to overcome the senseless debate over the religious connotations which go hand-in-hand with this time of the year.

According to an online article I read this past weekend on the Wilmington Star News Web site, the New Hanover County Board of Education gave Murrayville Elementary the green light to include Rudolph and Santa in its school musical.

It seems that a parent of one of those elementary students was upset over the words “Santa” and “Christmas” included within one of the most beloved seasonal songs of all time – “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” That song was scheduled to be performed as part of the Murrayville Elementary’s annual musical.

The objecting parent was upset about the words in the song, feeling that they carried religious overtones. Officials at the school went weak-kneed over the objection. Rather than telling the objecting parent, who was in the definite minority concerning this subject, to sit down and shut up, the school’s leadership opted to axe the song from the musical’s line-up.

That decision, in turn, upset the majority of parents.

The final decision boiled down to the school board who, with their team of lawyers, deemed the song was nothing more than a secular song about a make-believe reindeer.

“They’ve determined that it signifies just a day in time, Dec. 25, not the promotion of a religious symbol,” said Ed Higgins, chairman of the county Board of Education, in the Star-News article. “So Rudolph is back in.”

School officials also found the use of “Santa” to be okay because he’s considered a nonreligious figure.

The kindergarten chorus’ holiday concert for the school’s PTA will now include Rudolph along with the songs “Winter Wonderland,” a snowman rap and “Jingle Bells.”

According to the article, the protesting parent is Jewish. She told the Star-News that she was trying to have a Hanukkah song added to the musical lineup but had not received a return phone call about it from school officials. Over on the side of the majority, one parent said, “It wasn’t my point in the beginning whether it was about religion or not. The children have been learning this for weeks and some person was trying to push their own personal feeling and agenda for this for their own child alone and you just don’t do that.”

To that person I say thank-you! For once, someone in the majority got off the sideline and told the minority what we, for some strange reason or the other, are afraid to say….Shut Up!!!

I’m not criticizing those who do not believe in Christianity or even in the magic that is Santa Claus. They have the right to not believe in God and dismiss the notion of a white-bearded man dressed in a red suit pulled by a team of reindeer. But when you know you’re in the minority opinion over a certain subject, my best advice is to zip up that opening under your nose.

(Cal Bryant is Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be contacted at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.)