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


Where Has All Our Road Money Gone? - And Response

I travel four roads almost daily:  Dodds Avenue, Dayton Boulevard, Third Street and Northpoint Boulevard.  Why these roads cannot be repaired I will never know. I know, part of Northpoint is privately owned, by not the most. Just about everywhere you go the streets are in terrible shape. We need to get this resolved.  Joan Smith Chattanooga  ... (click for more)

Bakewell Mountain Community Thanks Commissioner Fairbanks - And Response

The residents of Bakewell Mountain want to formally thank Commissioner Randy Fairbanks for standing up for our community in protecting our property rights and families. He personally made several trips to our properties and homes to see how the proposed gun range would affect our daily lives with noise, traffic, and a decrease in property values. Sometimes the little guys need ... (click for more)

Jumoke Johnson, 23, And Christopher Woodard, 20, Shot And Killed On 12th Street; Vehicle Crashes Near Willow Street

Jumoke Johnson, 23, and Christopher Woodard, 20, were shot and killed in the 2100 block of E. 12th Street on Friday night. The vehicle in which the shooting victims were riding crashed, landing on another car near Willow Street. The people in the car that wrecked were dead when officers arrived. Police said the incident happened around 8:15 p.m. Police are looking for ... (click for more)

3 People Shot Early Saturday Morning On East 3rd Street

Three people were shot on East 3rd Street early Saturday morning. They were identified as Countess Clemons, 24, Kezia Jackson, 23, and Dutchess Lykes, 26.   The Chattanooga Police Department responded at 2:40 a.m. to a person(s) shot call at a local hospital. All three victims were transported to the hospital via a personally-owned vehicle.   All three ... (click for more)

Bradley Girls, Cleveland Boys Post Big 5-3A Wins

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – At this juncture in the District 5-3A basketball season, the No. 1 question around District 5-3A is can anyone slow down the Bradley Central girls and Cleveland boys? About 3,000 fans that packed Raider Arena on Friday night probably left feeling like the No. 1-ranked Bearettes and No. 3 Blue Raiders are entrenched atop the league standings and are possibly ... (click for more)

Arts & Sciences Shows Improvement In Win Over Silverdale Baptist

When the Arts & Sciences and Silverdale Baptist boys’ basketball teams met for the first time this season, the Patriots fought to pull out a 10-point victory in the District 5-A game. For Friday’s rematch, CSAS wanted to prove that it had improved since that Nov. 29 matchup, and it only took one quarter for the Patriots to do just that. Coach Mark Dragoo’s ... (click for more)