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Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 9:00 pm

As Christmas nears, two local school districts find themselves being drawn unwillingly into the battle against religion in the public square — but both districts maintain that allowing students to participate in traditional Christmas concerts does not violate anyone’s rights.

Choirs from Glacier, Flathead and Whitefish high schools will perform as planned today and Friday during the “Peace on Earth Community Christmas Celebration” despite receiving requests from the Freedom from Religion Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union of Montana to cancel.

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          Welcome to the discussion.


          • mooseberryinn posted at 11:37 am on Thu, Dec 19, 2013.

            mooseberryinn Posts: 2690

            yeah, heard some good ones about the Chairman and the 12 days of Christmas. funny stuff. But, at least no one has filed suit to keep folks from worshiping King obama. [beam]

          • CMartel2 posted at 11:38 pm on Wed, Dec 18, 2013.

            CMartel2 Posts: 17

            Our Constitution has sadly been polluted by years of judicial abuse and frankly tyrany. Jefferson himself used state appointed funds to purchase Bibles and prayerbooks for use in Virginia public schools. The ACLU doesn't talk about that much. Or the appointment of Congressional chaplains. Or church services held in the capitol rotuda.

            Of course, it didn't necesarily matter in the case of Jeffferson and the Virginia public schools, as the First Amendment applied ONLY to Congress passing laws establish a religion or preventing the free exercise thereof (Don't believe me? Just read the text!). This establishment clause was to prevent a system that existed in England with the Church of England that suppressed other branches of Christianity, e.g. the Anabaptists. The First Amendment didn't anymore apply to public schools in Virginia, Montana, or Timbuktu until a Ku Klux Klan judge by the name of Hugo Black in 1925 mandated that it did through his judicial opinion, despite what the First Amendment actually said. Well, sort of. It really wasn't until rulings in 1948 that the ACLU had any footing.

            In other words, those foisting the belief that the Constitution prohibits a Christmas concert performed in a public school are also perpetuating the belief that it took a full 150 years for anyone to figure out what the Constitution meant and that the ruling of a single judge at that point changed everything.

            No thanks.

            I get that we're stuck with a system of stair decisis, but it's a backwards and frankly dysfunctional system.

            It's sad that it's come to this, but I see vouchers given to individual parents as a way to actually give parents and students the liberty to pursue education that respects their basic fundamental religious beliefs and rights.

          • kohana posted at 11:51 am on Sat, Dec 7, 2013.

            kohana Posts: 2109

            Let's see the ACLU and The Freedom From Religon take on the USAF


          • jennydoe posted at 8:42 pm on Fri, Dec 6, 2013.

            jennydoe Posts: 2198

            mooseberries....I heard this on the radio, .....

            As I rise..no compromise, of the love for our great one, O-B-A-M-A!
            oh great one, oh great one, oh great one, O-B-A-M-A!

            My heart is cleansed, the soul is sensed, oh so immensed with O-B-A-M-A!
            oh great one, oh great one, oh great one, O-B-A-M-A!

            I will dance for thee, sing for free, for there is ultimate glory in O-B-A-M-A!
            oh great one, oh great one, oh great one, O-B-A-M-A!
            oh great one, oh great one, oh great one, O-B-A-M-A!
            oh great one, oh great one, oh great one, OO-BB-AA-MM-AA!

            I liked the guitar in the background particulary.

          • kohana posted at 8:26 pm on Fri, Dec 6, 2013.

            kohana Posts: 2109

            Somebody should file a suit against ACLU and Freedom from religion, for coming into our community and creating havoc and distention.

          • kohana posted at 8:24 pm on Fri, Dec 6, 2013.

            kohana Posts: 2109

            It would be a sad place indeed if all signs of Christmas were removed, and all caroling stopped. What a dismal holiday season it would be. But the atheist among us are not happy so their feelings are more important than the feelings of the majority? We have one or two children that are sad because they don't like religious music, but 40 or more do. What do the couple of kids who don't like any kind of religious music prefer, hip hop with filth for a message? Each school should have 2 choirs, one for each group.

            volunteer firefighter posted at 9:04 am on Thu, Dec 5, 2013,

            Oh and no Muslim choir is allowed by their Imams, against their religion. Any kind of music or joy is forbidden in Islam. They worship death, while the rest of us worship life. Well, not all of us, a few diehards agree with the Islamist.

            Lord, some of you people make me sick by your whinny complaints, if you don't like it then home school your kid, or keep him/her out of the choir. Jeesh!

          • mooseberryinn posted at 7:40 pm on Fri, Dec 6, 2013.

            mooseberryinn Posts: 2690

            Hmm, some very good points here. Question - would it be allowed for students and/or teachers to pray to the God/King Obama? Sing songs of worship to The most holy and great one obama? Just curious. [lol]

          • averagejoe posted at 6:58 pm on Fri, Dec 6, 2013.

            averagejoe Posts: 253

            The point most of you are missing is that by performing as a sanctioned group representing Kalispell schools if a student wishes not to participate there is a very good chance that they will be bullied into it by the more religious kids and teachers. There is no place in our schools for religion of any form. Ever since Dan Zorn has been assistant superintendent these types of incidents have escalated. They allow Grady Bennett to conduct bible study for his football players, the students say very Christian prayers before most athletic games, they allow parents to come into the schools and pass out religious literature, and a couple of years ago a teacher at the middle school gave two girls detention for not attending an assembly put on by one of the local Christian sects. Representatives of the movie theater church are constantly recruiting kids in the high schools and the principals are fully aware of it. When my kids were in school they were pressured by members of a born again Christian church to join their church and become Christians, when my kids told them they were Catholic and already Christian they were told that they were going to hell because Catholics are not Christian, when my daughter asked the teacher of the class the teacher stated that Catholics really are not Christian.
            There is to big of a chance that a kid will be ostracized in this community if their religious views differ from the majorities and that is why participating as representatives of Kalispell schools is wrong. If the choir director and students wish to do this performance on their own I wish them well but pressuring kids into doing this, as what is being done here, is wrong and all of you know it.

          • Fast posted at 6:34 pm on Fri, Dec 6, 2013.

            Fast Posts: 248


          • jennydoe posted at 6:15 pm on Fri, Dec 6, 2013.

            jennydoe Posts: 2198

            I don't understand why Christmas music doesn't offend everyone!
            But then again I don't understand why people buy processed food.

            Rebel, I read your last post, can't recall being offended a bit.
            Guess that's what lack of religon does. Desensitizes us from the demons imagined.
            Makes us aware of the demons adored.

          • Rebel Rouser posted at 9:28 am on Fri, Dec 6, 2013.

            Rebel Rouser Posts: 1564

            My last post was removed. Probably because it was offensive. I apologize to anyone who found it to be over the top and were offended.


          • kal posted at 6:55 am on Fri, Dec 6, 2013.

            kal Posts: 21

            spot on, people are PRETENDING to be offended. It's the "in" thing to do.

            I'm no religion nut, but religion, historical or someone showing their faith, is in almost everything we do every single day. What are these people going to do when they realize this?

          • Mntgal posted at 11:27 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            Mntgal Posts: 145

            A lot of the older pieces are historical and are religious. They were written in a different time and place. All of our music today is based on the past. Its completely mad in my opinion that people pretend to be offended.

          • janedoemt posted at 9:44 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            janedoemt Posts: 9

            My 5 kids & 3 grandkids have and are part of the Flathead school system. I attended as well as my husband and both my parents. I WANT complete separation of church and state. I promise you Flathead high school is in violation all the time. I hope Whitefish and Glacier take it more seriously. My kids sit through all kids of religious songs and prayers at school, it is wrong. They are uncomfortable and want it to stop. Very glad this group from Wisconsin helps.

          • stunned posted at 8:54 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            stunned Posts: 181

            Wow, have things changed. When I was a choir member at the Flathead High, we prayed before each concert. It was student lead and voluntary. We had one person who was an amazing talent that was an atheist. He chose not to pray with us. Nobody cared. We didn't treat him any differently. Many of us who were Christians felt bad for him. His father forced his atheism down his throat and made sure that he knew that no matter what, he wasn't good enough.( he was an amazing pianist) His father forced him to play for hours everyday. It was never enough. He desperately needed to know that his heavenly Father loved him. He ended up killing himself not long ago. It broke my heart. He was an amazing man. [sad]

          • Claus posted at 7:50 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            Claus Posts: 401

            But Jesus said, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children."

            Matthew 19-14

          • Been there done that posted at 7:12 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            Been there done that Posts: 101

            FHS has a new choir director; hopefully she doesn't punish students for not performing at "church based events" if a student does not feel comfortable doing so. The PRIOR choir director made the performances optional, but really they were not.....if you didn't perform he was punitive for your non-participation and your grade suffered.....it WAS required as a grade. Hopefully, the new director is not as vindictive......we are a Christian country governed by the constitution.......which should answer all questions of whether you have to participate........ or not.

          • krispistofferson posted at 6:53 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            krispistofferson Posts: 265

            so moosedung, you're the example of Christian values?

            Just curious, are you really from Alabama?


          • mooseberryinn posted at 5:12 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            mooseberryinn Posts: 2690

            Rebel - Yup, if they hadn't learned Christian values, they might turn out like you. [beam]

          • momof4 posted at 4:16 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            momof4 Posts: 118

            Gosh! I don't have a "religion of hate!" I just don't believe my child should have to sing numerous religious songs in order to participate in a class that she loves. Let me be clear - the class was NOT extracurricular - while it WAS an elective course it does affect the student's GPA and once a child is in the middle of the semester, he/she can't drop the class without being behind in credits.

            I was not physically forced to sit in the performance last year, but had to if I wanted to watch my child perform. And she was told that her grade would have been negatively affected if she chose not to participate in the performances or songs. Besides, with all but 2 songs being religious in nature, it would have been kind of difficult to accurately grade any student who would not sing bible songs.

            And what does it hurt, you ask? How would any of you feel if your child had to sing songs day after day that conflicted with your beliefs? Songs about Islam and Buddhism, perhaps? Would you smile and nod sitting in a mosque watching your kid sing songs of that religion? I think not.

            You all wonder why the FFRF and ACLU gets involved in our "little town." But most of you posters have shown exactly why those big guys get involved. Us little guys get "tarred and feathered" when we don't drink the local kool-aid.

          • Westvalley posted at 3:19 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            Westvalley Posts: 100

            We need to stand up to the Freedom From Religious group and the ACLU, I', so sick and tired to them twisting the Constitution around and trying to take our rights away, bcullum and janie are right there is no violation of the kids rights and mom of 4 I call bs on your child having to quit choir because of the Christmas program, my children are in music and it is well known that if they do not want to perform a religious song they don't have to, also really think about it what is it hurting? We allow our kids to sing songs that are on the radio with derogatory & swear words in them and songs about killing people but we can't let them sing a religious song? Superintendent Darlene Schottle has my full support good job!! Oh and pittbullmama you also make a very good point Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays;)

          • janie posted at 2:33 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            janie Posts: 174

            Mom of 4: You need to educate yourself on what the seperation of Church and State is. It is just the opposite of what you state. It is so State can't control how you believe.....Period. Now if you are a nonbeliever. Don't join you have that right. just a those who do believe have their right. The grade for chior is not pivital to graudation. It is extra curricular. If it offends you and your daughter but she still in interested in music and singing I am sure there are many other outlets for her. [smile]

          • mooseberryinn posted at 1:55 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            mooseberryinn Posts: 2690

            Why do you suppose so much music has been written in the celebration of Christmas? Why has this been on-going for 2000 years or so? Do ya think anybody had a really big issue with all this, say 20 years ago? Now, if a singer has some strong negative reaction to singing songs about Christmas, they can ..not sing, pretend to sing, whatever. But we really just don't need orders from the "Freedom from Religion" folks or the ACLU, in our little corner of the world. [beam]

          • bcullum1952 posted at 1:16 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            bcullum1952 Posts: 32

            Having read the Constitution, I failed to find any "freedom FROM religion", just a prohibition which prevents the government from enacting any law establishing a state religion, and which also prohibits placing restrictions on a citizen's free exercise of his/her religious beliefs.

            If the schools were to require that a student join the choir and perform religious songs as a requirement of graduating, that would be unconstitutional. If a student chooses to participate in choir, and the choir chooses to perform religious songs, and forces the child to participate, that is unconstitutional. But, if joining the choir is voluntary, and if the child can opt out of performing any particular song(s), there is no Constitutional violation.

          • kohana posted at 1:05 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            kohana Posts: 2109

            Pittbullmama posted at 8:50 am on Thu, Dec 5, 2013

            I am a Jew, and I arrived in MT with my 9 year old grandson. He wanted to be in the school choir and had a great time. During the Xmas season, I was contacted by his choir director about him singing Christmas carols. I left it up to the boy, and he wanted to continue. I went to the concert, conducted in the gym, and thoroughly enjoyed the music. Much to my surprise, the choir sang a delightful Hanukkah melody, "dedicated to the Jews among us."

            It's too bad momof4 that your education did not extend to learning what the pastor and rabbi attempted to teach, about the holidays, not convert you to a religion of some sort. As it is, your religion seems to be one of hate.

          • mom posted at 12:48 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            mom Posts: 629

            Nobody has to sit through any program they don't want to. Nor do they have to perform any music they feel strongly against. Bullspit.

          • momof4 posted at 12:25 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            momof4 Posts: 118

            My child dropped choir because of having to participate in the holiday performance last year. It was bad enough having to sit thru a "sermon" by the pastor and the rabbi last year in the school's auditorium; I can't imagine sitting in a CHURCH in order to hear my child perform with her class. And the "opt out" is complete crap - she was REQUIRED to attend and participate last year.

            So this has nothing to do with a Wisconsin based group sticking their noses in Montana business. This is local people who have CHILDREN IN THE SCHOOLS IN QUESTION speaking up because our children are being forced to participate in religious events in order to get a good grade in a public school choir class, or have chosen to drop a class they love instead of participate.

            There are so many public schools that gracefully, professionally, and successfully deal with the seperation of church and state each holiday season. Unfortunately, Kalispell's schools are not ones who do.

            I hope more parents will now speak up and come together so this violation of rights ends quickly. My kiddo would sure like to sing with the choir again...

          • mooseberryinn posted at 12:11 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            mooseberryinn Posts: 2690

            Now that is funny. But hey, you're obviously an expert on history and theology, so go for it. Soon, no doubt, we'll have souring and majestic theme music for the 'god/king". enjoy. [lol][lol][lol]

          • Rebel Rouser posted at 11:50 am on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            Rebel Rouser Posts: 1564

            Most of, (if any of you), will ever know the painfully emotional turmoil a youngster must go through, when they are not christian, growing up in this hateful christian (school) environment. My daughter went through the entire school choir system and was treated with disdain, because she openly stated she did not believe in the christian religion. The students (and some teachers) treated her like an outcast. It is totally the "you ain't with us, youz agin us" mentality. I am thoroughly disgusted by these hateful "people of love" nutcakes. The music is beautiful, but the words are nothing more than a bunch of blatant lies. You live a lie, and you try to perpetuate the lie by ganging up on innocent young children while you force indoctrinate them. In my opinion cChristians are nothing more than a bunch of totally ignorant, mentally challenged, hateful, disgusting, hypocritical, JERKS! This is why we Americans want to insure your contamination of society does NOT make it any further into the governmental law making process, get it? Merry Christmas!

          • allhatnocattle posted at 10:01 am on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            allhatnocattle Posts: 1

            If Congress and the President can do the following, I think the schools can have their Christmas concert. By the President of the United States of America

            A PROCLAMATION

            Whereas a joint committee of both Houses of Congress has waited on the President of the United States and requested him to "recommend a day of public humiliation, prayer, and fasting to be observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnities and the offering of fervent supplications to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these States, His blessings on their arms, and a speedy restoration of peace;" and

            Whereas it is fit and becoming in all people at all times to acknowledge and revere the supreme government of God, to bow in humble submission to His chastisements, to confess and deplore their sins and transgressions in the full conviction that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and to pray with all fervency and contrition for the pardon of their past offenses and for a blessing upon their present and prospective action; and

            Whereas when our own beloved country, once, by the blessing of God, united, prosperous, and happy, is now afflicted with faction and civil war, it is peculiarly fit for us to recognize the hand of God in this terrible visitation, and in sorrowful remembrance of our own faults and crimes as a nation and as individuals to humble ourselves before Him and to pray for His mercy--to pray that we may be spared further punishment, though most justly deserved; that our arms may be blessed and made effectual for the reestablishment of law, order, and peace throughout the wide extent of our country; and that the inestimable boon of civil and religious liberty, earned under His guidance and blessing by the labors and sufferings of our fathers, may be restored in all its original excellence:

            Therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do appoint the last Thursday in September next as a day of humiliation, prayer, and fasting for all the people of the nation. And I do earnestly recommend to all the people, and especially to all ministers and teachers of religion of all denominations and to all heads of families, to observe and keep that day according to their several creeds and modes of worship in all humility and with all religious solemnity, to the end that the united prayer of the nation may ascend to the Throne of Grace and bring down plentiful blessings upon our country.

            In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed, this 12th day of August, A.D. 1861, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-sixth.

            ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
            By the President:

            WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State .

          • volunteer firefighter posted at 9:04 am on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            volunteer firefighter Posts: 131

            I will bet you that this would never have been an issue if the choir was performing at a Muslim Mosque. These people want diversity, as long as it has nothing to do with Christianity or white Americans. Niki Zupanic- the public policy director for the ACLU of Montana- Yup, you guessed it- from Sacramento Calif. https://www.facebook.com/niki.zupanic


          • Pittbullmama posted at 8:50 am on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            Pittbullmama Posts: 34

            It's sad to hear such arguments during a time of joy and peace. Even if someone doesn't believe, we can all agree in joy and peace, right? I say, Merry Christmas and you say, Happy Holidays-who cares, its all good and good is what we need more of in this world, not fighting and hate. Sure, I get the separation from church and state, that's what makes this country great-our freedoms. But making people feel bad because they want to celebrate Christmas or the holidays with happiness, well, there is something wrong with you. If kids singing Santa/reindeer songs or any other Christmas/holiday songs defends you, there is something definitely wrong with you. I'm not Jewish, but if my child's school threw in a Hanukkah song, I wouldn't be upset because that's not the purpose-its all happiness. I want my child to be happy singing songs of happiness. The Wisconsin group is another extreme & radical group. I frankly I'm tired of ANY extreme group-religion or not. Groups like these are dividing our country and is showing the ugliness of this country. Whether its these whack jobs or Westboro Baptist Group or any other radical group. Enough is enough!

          • mooseberryinn posted at 8:30 am on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            mooseberryinn Posts: 2690

            Golly, where were the ACLU and the wacko Freedom from Religion groups when the elementary school kids were video taped singing songs of worship for obama? [lol]

          • jennydoe posted at 7:40 am on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            jennydoe Posts: 2198

            frustrated59901 posted at 6:39 am on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.
            What a bunch a raging lunatics
            For a moment I thought you were referring to the previous commentors.
            I agreed.

          • lousia posted at 7:29 am on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            lousia Posts: 196

            Why can't these other states like Wis. leave Mt. alone always something , If you moved here and don't like what the people in Mt. do get the heck out of here move back to what you created in your state, It just seems these kind of people never have any rest unless they are creating hate and discontent why don't they use some of their skills if they have any on something useful. But I doubt if they could they want attention thats all atheists are after is attention. And i back there Libs and if they can get hard working Montanan's . to pay their court cost they will do that to. making fun of us how dumb we can be. Its sure getting to be a mess in America; You great Montana people have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS;

          • thislife posted at 6:56 am on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            thislife Posts: 23

            I hope every time these lunatics PAY to take legal action against anyone, they look at the back of their dollar bill and IN GOD WE TRUST jumps out and bites them!! REALLY!?!?? What's next??!!??!! You didn't get our Jesus statue and you are not going to win this. Get a LIFE!

          • frustrated59901 posted at 6:39 am on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            frustrated59901 Posts: 39

            What a bunch a raging lunatics. This crap has gone too far, and I for one am sick of it. I personally think these wacko groups should be taken to court for violating civil rights and the Constitution. They are completely missing the spirit of the document...I believe it is about freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion. So leave these students alone who are doing a great thing around the holidays. Maybe instead waste your time and energy on finding a job and perhaps become a productive member of society!

          • perplexed posted at 12:16 am on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

            perplexed Posts: 3

            There are really better and more important things to be fighting for. Like freedom from government control regarding our healthcare privacy and ability to protect ourselves from harm. Go away Liberal out of state nosey buddies.....The schools and the students should be able to sing where ever they are invited. If a student does not want to participate I am assured they will be excused.....

          • mooseberryinn posted at 10:11 pm on Wed, Dec 4, 2013.

            mooseberryinn Posts: 2690

            The "uber-liberal" ACLU and now the "Freedom from Religion group is, in effect, saying their opinion trumps the kid's right to perform as a choir. Neither the ACLU nor the wacko group are being harmed in any way. The singers are responding to an invitation, not a command. They are not participating under duress. They are simply desiring to perform as a choir. I would say neither the ACLU nor the Wackos have any cause to be involved. [beam]

          • wkingmtmom posted at 9:38 pm on Wed, Dec 4, 2013.

            wkingmtmom Posts: 5

            If the kids don't want to participate they don't have to. GO AWAY! you lost on the Big Mountain issue and you just need to leave use alone. Let the kids sing. Let them perform. Nobody is shoving a bible at them and saying "YOU MUST BELIEVE THIS IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE" find something productive to do with your time and do it in Wisconsin. If locals have an issue with this then fine. The Montana ACLU should maybe focus on the other issues in the state and not something that is not a violation of a Civil Liberty. The constitution is very clear. We cannot mandate a religion or state sponsor it. Last I checked there is no school sponsoring of this activity- the school is not putting it on. They were invited to perform as a guest. Not a religious group but as a group of kids. If the foundation doesn't think that these kids have the fortitude to stand up and say they don't want to participate they need to learn a bit more about our valley and our kids.

          • Mntgal posted at 9:21 pm on Wed, Dec 4, 2013.

            Mntgal Posts: 145

            Why does someone in Wisconsin care what we do here in the Flathead. Where do they get the money for these frivolous lawsuits. Go away.


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