• Breaking News! ‘Joy to the World’ Does Not Constitute a Constutional Crisis

    Surge Summary: A northern California school has reversed itself: It will allow a student to play “Joy to the World” on the piano as part of a school project.

    13-year-old Brooklyn Benzel, is a student at South Sutter Charter School in Placerville, California. She wanted to play “Joy to the World” as part of a student piano performance for a nearby retirement home. A recording of the performance would then be included as part of Brooklyn’s independent-study portfolio. However, per the Benzel family’s attorneys at Pacific Justice Institute, the teen was originally informed the Issac Watts-penned Christmas standard was too religious – it was recommended to her that she take a stab at “Jingle Bells” instead.

    This girl is obviously a trouble maker; up to no good …

    Chris Woodward/OneNewsNow fills in the rest of the details:

    “We stepped in and said the courts have made it very clear that the government cannot censor student speech like this simply because of its religious content,” reports Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute (PJI). “That amounts to state hostility of religion and a violation of her free speech and free exercise rights.”

    A melody which has been a staple of holiday celebrations for centuries forbidden? “State hostility to religion”? Ya think?

    Because she is presumably a sane person, Brooklyn’s mother, Julianne, initially thought there had been some kind of mix-up. In follow-up e-mails, though, school officials confirmed their fecklessness was, in fact, quite genuine. They must “err on the side of caution”, they explained, and pointed to words like “Savior” and “heaven” in the carol. These references, it seems, were deemed problematic.

    “The Benzels were floored,” says Dacus. “For one thing, the piano performance would not actually include the lyrics of ‘Joy to the World,’ as it was purely instrumental.”

    Yes, but don’t you see? The lyrics would be implied, which might prompt a spiritual thought or two which is flatly a breach of the sacred – oops, sorry – revered “separation of church and state”. Or something like that.

    Woodward informs the reader (Warning: searing understatement alert):

    The legal defense organization specializing in the defense of religious freedom helped the school see the situation sensibly.

    “We’re thrilled that Brooklyn will now be able to bring joy to this retirement home with a timeless carol,” says PJI attorney Matthew McReynolds. “No student should be made to feel that their choice of a musical performance is unacceptable just because it has both religious and cultural significance.”

    This clear-thinking defender of religious liberty (and advocate of non-lunatic school policy) warns that we’ve arrived at a place in society where these kinds of “grinches” can be anticipated annually around this time of year, essaying to strip away the traditions and features of the season.

    PJI is currently suing another charter school operated by the same officials over similar concerns. In that case, the charter school rejected an application from a piano teacher to become an approved vendor because they thought the name of her studio—His Song Piano—was too religious. They also said she would need to tear out or cover up songs in her piano teaching songbooks like “Amazing Grace” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

    Are these God-hostile educators aware that classical, 18th-century composer Johann Sebastian Bach, out of devotional habit, routinely inscribed the initials S.D.G at the end of his works. Per Wikipedia, these letters represent Soli Deo gloria, a Latin term for “Glory to God alone”; and signify the work was produced for the praise of God. What would indubitably be even more scandalous for some secularists in these modern times, the phrase is one of the five solae which had been esteemed by Reformers as essential to their basic beliefs during the Protestant Reformation.

    Here’s to hoping the anti-Christ set never discovers that historical nugget – a J.S, Bach composition might never again be heard in the environs of our public school system.

    The Pacific Justice Institute has printed a free, downloadable book called Reclaim Your School to empower students, parents, teachers, and communities on all that they can do legally to express and live their faith in public schools.

    H/T: Chris Woodward/OneNewsNow

    Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay 

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