- (Photo: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)
New Jersey's MacFarland Intermediate School has lifted its controversial ban on Christmas carols after beings contacted by the Alliance Defending Freedom, in a decision that was said to have divided the parents in the district.
"In reviewing additional legal considerations and advice on this matter and the expressed sentiments of the community at large, I have reconsidered the decision on the musical selection for the upcoming winter programs so that pieces with traditional and historical religious origins will be permitted," Superintendent Constance Bauer said, according to an update on the school's upcoming winter concert.
Two families had complained about allowing Christmas carols for the winter concert, and Bauer originally decided to follow "legal recommendations" and remove religious songs from the festivities. The district's legal firm, Parker McCay of Mount Laurel, had determined that "religious music should not be part of the elementary program(s)," according to Burlington County Times.
The legal firm had apparently cited the case Stratechuk v. Board of Education of South Orange-Maplewood School District, heard in a U.S. District Court in August 2008.
The original decision led to Fox News' Bill O'Reilly calling out Bauer on his talk show, calling her a "pinhead" and asking her to "stop taking it out on the kids." O'Reilly suggested that if the superintendent does not like it, she can ask her Congressman to try and tackle the federal law that allows Christmas celebrations.
ADF explained in a press release that it had sent a letter to Bordentown Regional School District last week arguing why the ban on carols was both unnecessary and unconstitutional.
"Schools shouldn't have to think twice about whether they can allow students to perform Christmas carols," said Legal Counsel Matthew Sharp. "The school district has done the right thing in allowing religious Christmas carols to be part of its schools' productions. As our letter explained, courts have unanimously upheld their inclusion in such productions – even when songs deal with Christian themes that are naturally a part of the holiday."
ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco added that misinformation about the First Amendment is what often leads to such censorship during Christmas concerts.
"We commend Superintendent Bauer for once again permitting religious music to be included among the many non-religious songs performed at school concerts," Tedesco added.
The vast majority of American adults, or 79 percent, were said to be in favor of public schools cerebrating religious holidays in a Rasmussen December 2011 poll.