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York Preparatory Academy in Rock Hill, S.C. sounds like a private school – but it isn’t. It’s a public charter school. One trying to sound exclusive.

Which is why its leaders recently told students they were forbidden from performing an instrumental version of the Christmas hymn “Joy to the World” (because doing so would expose the “Academy” to lawsuits).

According to Fox News’ Todd Starnes, leaders issued this ban on “Joy” after being warned that groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) “would be monitoring holiday concerts in South Carolina schools for possible constitutional violations.”

Seriously ACLU? There’s not a friggin’ massive domestic spying scandal or anything else your group could be focusing on right now?

Anyway, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom – a group which provides “a strong, coordinated legal defense against growing attacks on religious freedom” – the exclusion of religious-themed Christmas music represents an “impermissible hostility toward religion.”

As long as songs from other religions are incorporated in holiday performances, the playing of Christian hymns at government schools is perfectly legal.

That may be the case, but this strikes us as yet another reason why government intervention in the education marketplace is so ridiculous (and why parents should be free to spend their tax dollars as they see fit – not as the government dictates).

Every school ought to be free to mark the holidays as it sees fit … with parents incorporating their approval/ disapproval of such observances into their rationale for making a marketplace decision about their child’s education.

That’s the way the system ought to work, anyway …

UPDATE: According to a news release from the Alliance Defending Freedom, York Preparatory School has lifted its ban on “Joy to the World.”