The drive to scrub Christianity out of Christmas seems particularly persistent this year, especially on university campuses.
An article in the The Breeze student newspaper at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia reveals yet another attack on the Christian nature of a holiday that would not exist without the birth of Christ.
Into Hymn, a Christian a cappella group on campus, learned this the hard way after being invited to the university's Unity Tree lighting ceremony. Thinking that the event was centered around Christmas due to its nearness to Dec. 25, the festively decorated pine tree, and the inclusion of "Jingle Bells" and "Frosty the Snowman" on the approved song list, Into Hymn was shocked to discover that they could not perform any Christmas songs of a religious nature, including "Mary, Did You Know?", which they had been practicing for three weeks for the event.
The a cappella group, which has only learned Christian songs together, did not have enough time nor a desire to learn one of the approved secular songs.
The university maintains that the event and the Unity Tree have nothing to do with the Dec. 25 holiday.
JMU spokesman Bill Wyatt explains, “It wasn’t a Christmas celebration. It was an event intended to bring the community together in a celebration of community.”
Into Hymn member Michaela Kim didn't feel the togetherness the event was supposed to evoke.
“Unity is supposed to represent everyone and, as a Christian, I don’t feel represented,”
International affairs major Madison Beebe doesn't believe that the Unity Tree lighting event has nothing to do with Christmas.
“The Unity Tree should be referred to as a Christmas tree because that is what it is; if it were not about Christmas, it would be done at a different time of year. [Into Hymn] should have been able to sing Christian songs because we are in the Christmas season, which is about Christ.”
Sports and recreation management major Kenia Olivo attended the Unity Tree event and didn't feel that keeping Christianity out of it helped other religions feel less excluded from the holiday season.
“Taking one religion’s representation away doesn’t make it better for the rest.”
Ironically, the university's namesake President James Madison, according to IncreasingLearning.com, made strong arguments for not sanitizing American's government and public institutions of their connection to Christianity.
Into Hymn's music video performing "Wanted" by Dara Maclean: