A middle school in Virginia has banned songs mentioning "Jesus" from its annual Christmas concert as part of an effort to be "more sensitive" toward the increasingly "diverse population" of its student body.
"We had a few students who weren't comfortable singing a piece I have done many times in the past, but it is of a sacred nature and does mention Jesus," the choir teacher at Robious Middle School in Chesterfield said in an email to a parent who was concerned about the changes to the winter concert program, NBC News affiliate WWBT has reported.
Parent David Allen said the public school's efforts to encourage diversity while at the same time being exclusionary doesn't seem rational.
"It just seems like ... everywhere you look everyone's afraid of stepping on someone's toes or everything is being so sensitive," Allen told NBC News affiliate WWBT. "They were unable to [sing this song] because the word Jesus was in there and apparently someone assumed it was of a sacred nature."
Public schools in the United States have often seen their share of controversy over the extent to which they can reference Christmas in general and the Gospel story of Jesus' birth in particular.
For example, in December 2016, a judge in Texas ordered a school district to restore "A Charlie Brown Christmas" display after it had been taken down by administrators because it featured a Bible verse.
Bell County State District Judge Jack Jones had issued a temporary injunction against the Killeen Independent School District from enforcing its decision to prohibit the Christmas decoration.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, whose office backed the display, released a statement at the time expressing support for the injunction.
"I am glad to see that the court broke through the Left's rhetorical fog and recognized that a commitment to diversity means protecting everyone's individual religious expression," Paxton said at the time.