Roy Exum: Don’t Change ‘Silent Night’

Saturday, December 21, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

When the Osgood Intermediate School in King’s Park, N.Y., was preparing for this year’s Christmas concert, it wasn’t exactly the Three Wise Men who made the decision they should change the words to a song rather than offend anybody. Nope, it was school superintendent Susan Agruso, principal Rudy Massimo, and the choir director who decreed this is an age of political correctness, got out their scissors and clipped three small phrases from the most beautiful Christmas song ever written.

Dashed from the songsheet to “Silent Night” were the lyrics, “Round yon Virgin” and “Holy Infant” and “Christ the Savior,” all replaced with the words, “sleep in heavenly peace.” A cluster of clowns would have known that “Silent Night” might be the most universally recognized Christian song in the world and, while the choir could mumble and hum all they wanted, every man, woman and child in the audience was furious by the final curtain. Now the rage has made Kings Park infamous.

Kings Park is a small but proud community located on New York’s Long Island – that sliver of land you see on maps at the bottom of the state -- and this week the uproar has been a dandy. Network television and newspapers across the country have reported what the three Grinches did but when the School Board met, angry parents were there in force.

One, a man named Kevin McDonald, said, “I decided to speak to the Board not because I am intolerant, but because I believe in tolerance. We should all be free to practice or not practice our own faith in our own way. I believe that what I think is sacred based upon my beliefs and my faith should be respected. I believe that what you think is sacred based upon your beliefs should also be respected.

“The decision to change the words to Silent Night was unfortunate, disrespectful and wrong,” McDonald added. “Using poetic license on a song that tells the story of the birth of Jesus is just a bad idea. There were many other songs that could have been performed, and there really was no reason to torture the integrity and meaning of Silent Night, a sacred, simple and timeless Christian hymn.”

The school board immediately issued a statement: "The Board of Education sincerely apologizes to our community members who were offended by the change of lyrics to the song Silent Night and we share in your sentiment. This action was not approved by the Board of Education or district administration, nor is it their role to approve the songs chosen for our concerts."

* * *

The Reuters news agency is reporting that a man who is married to a man in a state where same sex marriages are allowed is wondering if he could now come to North Dakota and marry a woman without breaking the law. The answer is: Of course he can – North Dakota does not recognize same-sex marriages. But we’ll have to get back to you on marriage benefits, same-sex benefits, tax exemptions and bigamy/polygamy puzzlers.

* * *

The Marist Institute for Public Opinion has announced the most annoying word in the American language is the casual “whatever.” Spokesperson Mary Griffin told reporters, “The word is dismissive and rude.” Other words that cause angst and should be removed from a one’s personal vocabulary are “like” (via Facebook), “you know,” “just saying,” and “obviously.”

* * *

Remember Robin Roberts, the gutsy co-anchor on ABC’s “Good Morning America” who had some real health issues and, this time last year, was undergoing a bone marrow transplant? You’ll be glad to know she has made such a rebound ABC just handed her an annual contract for $10 million. Asked what she attributes to her success, Robin smiled and said her parents taught her the three D’s: “Discipline, Determination, and De Lord.”

* * *

Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitts’ beautiful wife, recently underwent a double mastectomy in order to keep from getting breast cancer and now there are reports she will have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed. It is widely known the death of her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, last year at age 56 affected Angelina deeply and doctors fear Jolie’s genetics are worrisome.

* * *

Today (Saturday) marks the day the Earth’s axis points in a northernly direction close to the second-magnitude star Polaris, also known as the Pole Star. At exactly 12:21 p.m. today, everything in the sky will appear to revolve around Polaris. It is known as Winter Solstice and is one of four major way stations in the Earth’s yearly orbit of the sun. In other words, fall turns into winter today.

royexum@aol.com


Keep A Good Thing Going On Signal Mountain

For the past eight years Signal Mountain has been fortunate enough to have Annette Allen and Susan Robertson as members of the town council.  We pay them nothing.  Yet they have poured thousands of hours of their time, energy, and talent into making the town a special place.   Annette and Susan take the time to learn, listen, and understand issues.  They approach ... (click for more)

Kudos To Sheriff Watson

Thank you for doing what you promised, Sheriff Watson.  And a special thank you to all those that work for you and have "lowered the boom" on crime here in Bradley County. You are the talk of the town; everywhere I went today I could hear your name spoken in very positive ways and it made me proud that I voted.     It's refreshing to have someone in office ... (click for more)

Downtown Chattanooga Apartment Complex Fetches $15 Million

Walnut Commons, the first downtown apartment complex built in many years, sold for $15 million, one of the developers said. John Clark said the initial estimate on the project was $11 million and it wound up costing around $12 million to build. "We're very pleased with the sale," he said. Mr. Clark, along with partners David Hudson and Bob McKenzie, are selling their stock ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Principal Ronald Hughes Named Tennessee's 2014-15 Principal Of The Year

A Hamilton County elementary school principal and an Anderson County supervisor have earned top honors for their work in Tennessee education. Ronald Hughes, principal of Apison Elementary School in Chattanooga, was named Tennessee’s 2014-15 Principal of the Year. He has served as principal at Apison Elementary for the past six years, and spent three decades working in Tennessee ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Soccer Advance to A-AA State Semis

MURFREESBORO - Juniors Sofia Olenchek and Emma Higgins scored two goals each to lead Notre Dame to a 4-0 victory against No.9 Spring Hill here Wednesday night in a TSSAA A-AA State Girls Quarterfinals at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex. The win advances No.2 Notre Dame (11-5-4) to the state semis against Jackson Christian Thursday at 5 p.m. EDT. Jackson Christian ... (click for more)

CCS Soccer Wins 1-0; Advances to State Semis

MURFREESBORO - Freshman striker Olivia Hoffman was in the right place at the right time as her goal in the 26th minute proved to be the match winner as No.4 Chattanooga Christian defeated No. 5 Hume Fogg, 1-0, here Wednesday in a TSSAA A-AA State Girls Soccer Quarterfinal at Richard Siegel Soccer Complex. "The ball bounced off a couple of players and I was able to put it ... (click for more)