I apologize in advance, this is a long one 🙂
“Is this legal?”
I was asked that question in my classroom as I introduced my students to a new “winter” song for their concert. It’s a song that uses “Go Tell It On the Mountain” in it.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time a student asked me if it was legal to sing a Christian song. I also had a student say they were worried people might be offended because we are singing a Christian song.
Now, let me tell you that before this concert we did a Halloween concert were we sang a medley of songs from the musical Sweeney Todd. If you’re familiar with this musical you will know how dark and gruesome it is. We sang songs about murder. And NO ONE, not one student, voiced a concern that someone might be offended by that.
Hmmm, interesting don’t you think? I mean if anything would be illegal it should be singing about a murderer not someone who was murdered. But no one questioned it.
You might be wondering why I would even teach that music. Well, the answer is the same for why I can teach Christian music.
I didn’t show my students the movie, I didn’t talk about what Sweeney Todd actually did, I didn’t lecture them on his justification for killing people. I simply taught the music because it is challenging and stretches my students to try new things. It is complex music, it gave the kids a chance to sing in many different arrangements. But I don’t embrace the message of those songs.
The same is true with any song with a faith message. I don’t preach the message, I’m not telling the students that this is what I believe (unless they ask). I’m not showing them a movie about the song and proclaiming the message. I’m not looking up the scripture the song references. I am teaching the music because it is going to be challenging for my students, it has some great rhythmic play and vocal back and forth between parts. It is in a gospel style that we don’t sing too much and it’s acapella.
So, is it legal to sing a song about Jesus in public school? It is legal to sing a song about a murderer in public school?
The answer to both is yes, as long as there is musical reasons for teaching it and I’m not promoting the story behind either.
But why is the Christian song the only one questioned?
Because the enemy is getting a hold of our children and we aren’t teaching them any different. He is lying to them and as parents we need to teach our children the truth. It is okay for a music teacher to teach songs with a Christian message as long as it is balanced with other music that isn’t Christian and the teacher isn’t inserting his or her own beliefs.
Since one out of five songs I am teaching is Christian I don’t think I’m inserting my beliefs.
If we eliminated all faith based songs we would be loosing a rich history of music. Most songs sung by slaves have a faith base. Isn’t that part of our history?
It is becoming so evident that darkness is trying to push out any light at all. We need to be teaching our kids so when they go into school they can stand for what is right and they can be light.
If it ever becomes illegal to teach some great music that also happens to be Christian then I guess that’s when it’s time for me to stop teaching.