Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters to the Editor

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters to the Editor

Article excerpt

Question of religious music at school during the holidays

In regard to the Dec. 16 Opinion piece, "Ninety minutes of school holiday music - and nary a note about Jesus": While author Barbara Curtis finds her children's holiday musical programs lacking in any reference to Jesus, I find secular holiday music is often infused with expressions of love and longing for togetherness.

Why does Ms. Curtis mention the ancient Aztec practice of infanticide? Surely in all our combined years of education in Roman Catholic schools, my children, siblings, and I were never taught about the Inquisition.

We Christians do indeed sanitize the religious education of our young. We focus on the love and generosity which Christianity (and other belief systems) teach, and leave out the more unsavory aspects of its history.

And why must the one Jewish family be singled out by Curtis as "nonpracticing"? Surely they may be deeply spiritual, value their culture, live remarkably ethical lives, and still not participate in organized religion.

Children need models of empathy and tolerance, not bigotry. Perhaps if parents lived these values there would be no need for teachers to do anything but impart knowledge.

Andrea Hitt Winchester Center, Conn.

I have little sympathy for complaints from some Christians that multiculturalists have stolen "their" holiday, which actually has aspects that are pre-Christian in their origin.

In addition, the quotes from the music teacher in this commentary were somewhat offensive to me as a Jew, by implying that only Christian music has "artistic merit." That teacher has obviously never studied Jewish musical traditions, African musical traditions, or religious songs and chants from India and the Far East, if he or she implies that only Christian music is "any good."

Music can be a very powerful psychological and social force. It has unifying power. While I agree that sacred music should be part of a well-rounded musical education, perhaps college is a better place for it than grammar school. …

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