Monday, May 8, 2006

Of Geese, Ganders, and Pink's "Dear Mr. President"

A mainstay of the conservative "War On Christmas" and "War On Christians" whining is that schools aren't letting Christian students sing Christmas songs in holiday concerts or say Christian prayers during graduation ceremonies. Nearly all of the examples conservatives cite aren't actually true, but setting that aside: it's their allegation, at least, that the First Amendment protects a child's right to sing what she damn well pleases without government, in the form of public school officials, censoring it.

So how delightful it is that public school principal in Florida has barred a 10-year-old girl from singing Pink's "Dear Mr. President" at a school talent contest, based solely on the principal's perception that the content is inappropriate. The child doesn't seem to be focused on the risque stuff, though (the principal doesn't like the word "hell"):

Molly said Thursday she thought the song was "really cool" because it spoke about important subjects like war and homelessness.

Molly said she liked the way the song addressed the president directly.

"He should try to listen to what other people say, not just himself," she said.

So I'm pinging Matt Staver of Liberty Counsel, which spearheads most "War On Christmas" lawsuits and the current Jerry Falwell-backed "Friend or Foe: Graduation Prayer" campaign: where do you stand on this particular instance of student self-expression? Is the word "hell" only OK if it's in a Bible quotation? Are you filing a lawsuit to protect this student's rights?

[sound of crickets]

That's what I thought.

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