School play is drawing criticism
Thursday, November 18, 2010
DuBOIS - Santa Claus may not be going green in the DuBois Area School District.
Resident and leader of the Pennsylvania Freedom Fighters, Patty Fish of Reynoldsville presented a citizen's request to the DuBois Area School District Wednesday asking for the play "Santa Goes Green" to be reviewed.
Fourth-and fifth-grade students are slated to perform the play in December, which boasts of melting ice caps, global warming and surfing reindeer.
In the play, the North Pole is going green and everyone is excited - except Santa, that is. Father Christmas thinks solar panels, LED light bulbs, and other new power sources are too inconvenient for him. Mrs. Claus, along with the elves, toys and reindeer, explain to Santa why change is important and how wasteful many Christmas traditions are.
One of the students set to perform in the play is Fish's son. Fish said she is upset by the play's political agenda - which is environmentalist to boot.
For those who still think the play is cute and innocent, Fish traced its author, John Jacobson's roots, to show why she feels it drills the green agenda into children's heads through guilt.
Jacobson ran for Congress in northern California in 2008, stressing green topics - the same year "Santa Goes Green" was published.
Fish isn't saying the music teacher who chose the play is pushing a political agenda, but that Jacobson is - especially because several parts of the play stress the world will end if green practices aren't accepted, she said.
Ultimately, Fish said she wasn't at the meeting to debate the validity of the issue of global warming, although she did take the time to ask the board when humans ever had control over nature.
Fish said she isn't alone in her disapproval of the play. She claimed to have presented her concerns to the principal and superintendent, receiving no acknowledgment or resolution to her complaint.
She added that she would expect this subject matter and response from big schools in the big cities but not from her small town.
Superintendent Timothy Deluccia said per the schools procedure, a committee will be put together and given 30 days to review the play in regard to Fish's request.
Deluccia added the school district has also received many positive responses about the play.
Solicitor Ed Ferraro added the board, by state and federal law, can't institute pre-censorship to a play which won't cause serious harm to the school community.
DuBois/Sandy Township resident Jeff Harrison said he is offended Christ has been taken out of Christmas and he agrees with what Fish said.
Treasure Lake resident David Singer sees the play as being a potential legal issue for the school district.
He has no children who are currently students in the district, nonetheless is concerned that in allowing the show to go on, the school district will be violating the schools norm to not promote religion.
Singer said he firmly believes he can make a case in court that environmentalism is a secular, humanist religion.
In the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Congress defines religion as "a belief (that) must be sincerely held, and within the believer's own scheme of things religious."
One source he used to support his opinion was Richard Lindzen, a professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lindzen believes the subject of climate change creates global risk which needs global response.
Lindzen equates environmentalism to religious fanaticism in that it, "Requires devotion rather than intellectual rigor." Additionally, Lindzen writes environmentalists believe they possess a higher truth; are intolerant of dissent; and perform rituals such as changing light bulbs and planting trees.
DuBois resident and DuBois Area Senior High School instructor Terry Swope said he has been a personal friend of Jacobson for 25 years. He added that if Jacobson knew the discussion which was taking place at the meeting tonight he'd be upset.
Knowing Jacobson and performing many of his pieces as a music instructor, Swope said the program under debate is written as music for kids, not as a political agenda.
"Personally, I poo-poo the idea (of global warming)," Swope said.
Addressing the idea of "religious" expression, Swope said 80 percent of all music written for voice has some kind of religious context. He added that the day artistic freedom in schools is so limited music with any kind of sacred undertones cannot be expressed within the walls of the school he will openly oppose it.
"To say this program ("Santa Goes Green") shouldn't be performed is a grave injustice," Swope said.
Reported by Katie Weidenboerner, staff writer. Email: email@example.com.
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