From Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, UK comes the story of children banned from performing the Christmas carols they had practiced for a winter festival because the ditties were too religious... or perhaps because they weren't "upbeat" enough?"
Around 60 children aged between seven and 11 had spent six weeks practising favourites including Once In Royal David's City and Silent Night for the Corringham Winter Festival....
The school's headteacher, Sue Morris, said pupils had taken part in 'a great deal of rehearsal' before they were informed the songs 'would not have dovetailed into the event's theme'.
'There was no time to reorganise the choir's planned programme and we thought it best we did not take part,' she added.
The non-religious event was planned by Corringham Town Festival Partnership, even though the area is in Thurrock, where 75 per cent of the population described themselves as Christian in the 2001 census....
Last year the Bishop of St David's in Pembrokeshire, the Rt Rev Carl Cooper, warned political correctness was destroying the meaning of Christmas.
'Teachers and other public servants have become paralysed with fear and political correctness. They need to regain confidence in our culture and traditions,' he said.
The chairman of the Corringham Town Festival Partnership yesterday made the bizarre claim carols had been dumped because the winter festival was meant to be 'upbeat'.
'It was nothing to do with being politically correct or anti-Christian, it was a Christian celebration,' he said.
Look, I have no objection to winter festivals, but there is only so much time, so much energy, so much money, (so much voice?) ... if those who believe that Christmas is important -- which surely includes all Christians? -- would refuse to spend time, energy, and money, on events, objects and entertainment that are in opposition to, or interfere with, the message of Christmas (which is NOT "for the children," or "really about family,") I suppose they could make a difference (particularly in an area that is nominally 75% Christian.)
But are they willing to forgo shopping the bargain Christmas Sales at Victoria's Secret, and singing about rosacea-plagued reindeer, and working on "Winter Festivals"? to spend as much time praying as they do cooking? give as much to the gospel message as to the mall?
It's up to us not to be Useful Idiots, (as was that loud mouthed TV host last year, whining and spinning about "Happy Holidays" supplanting "Merry Christmas" as the seasonal greeting, only to be exposed as the purveyor, or at least hawker of "holiday ornaments" on his website.)
And it's up to the Church to reclaim Christmastide, instead of buying into the insane build-up to a single day, and the abrupt end -- a timetable that serves nothing but commerce, and honors no god but moloch.