Holiday Hits?


Maggie: November is underway! And for many, that means it is time to kick off the holiday season. But as Scott Evans shows us, for one school district in Wisconsin, this time of year is ringing in a season of controversy.

Scott: These talented performers from Wausau West High School might be changing their tune in future holiday seasons. The school district had proposed a ban on all religious music in schools, and seniors Kevin Ruhl and Isaac Buttke aren’t happy about it.

Kevin Ruhl: I am very upset about it, but I’m trying to stay back and kind of keep the emotions under control.

Isaac Buttke: There’s definitely a lot of choral literature that’s religious.

Scott: Members of the Wausau West’s Master Singers, the district’s elite choir, are upset because they say having religious music limited is like taking Shakespeare out of a literature course.

Kevin: It’s such a big part of it that it’s going to seem empty if we’re not able to use that kind of literature.

Eric Penniman: We’re going to try to take the religion out of the music program, we’re going to really hurt the quality of music program at Wausau West High School.

Scott: Eric Penniman had three daughters graduate from Wausau West and says the music program should be adding experiences, not taking them away.

Penniman: We know all of the benefits to our children and to our young students, as they grow up, in having a full spectrum of exposure to all types of music.

Scott: The controversy started after a suggestion was made by the Wausau School District’s attorney to limit all religious music performed during the holiday concerts. Now, the concerts are school-sponsored events and the district was concerned that the religious music would violate the U.S. Constitution’s separation of church and state because it would promote a religion.

Williams: The goal is to make sure that students do not feel coerced into performing songs that make them very uncomfortable.

Scott: Rabbi Dan Danson says the community in Wausau should be represented by more than just one religion during the holidays.

Rabbi Danson: Increasingly diverse community with many different elements in our community, and we need to be constantly reviewing what that means, that all of our students are really feeling that they’re part of the programs in our community.

Scott: But after almost five hours of debate at a recent school board meeting, officials decided to hold off on making any changes this year. School board member Pat McKee says more in-depth conversation should be had before any new policies are put in place.

Pat McKee: Let’s get through this holiday season, form a much larger committee to study this that will involve many, many more groups from the community.

Scott: So, for now, the choir is back in rehearsal and gearing up for the holiday concert. But next year, things may change.

Scott Evans, Channel One News.

Maggie: Now we want to know what you think. Should religious songs be allowed in schools? Head on over to and let us know your take. Your comment might just end up on tomorrow’s show.


30 comments on “Holiday Hits?

  1. Billy

    Yes, because if someone wanted to sing in a religious way then they can. They call it a free country so the people can do want. There is also a small possibility that an unreligious person can also become a christian.

  2. Jasmine Riddle

    I think that they should keep the religious songs at schools because if you believe in Jesus it’s your religion, and that if some one doesn’t like or doesn’t believe in Jesus then they shouldn’t go to the holiday concert.

  3. Ciera

    Well, I don’t think they should ban it because, if someone wants to sing a religious song then they should be aloud to. I think they should sing religious songs in school so they can remember them and get those songs stuck in their head instead of a rap song, because rap has cuss words in it. And also a unreligious person could go to church once and become a religious person.

  4. Maddie

    I think religious songs should be allowed! If people want to sing songs about Jesus they can! Its a free country and its there decision to be religious . you cant keep them from being it!
    If they want to sing religious songs they can. Why would you want to try and keep kids from showing there religion? I am a Christian and think that showing your religion is important!

  5. Sydnee Greene

    Yes, I think you should be able to sing a religious song at school. At my school, on Wednesday mornings we have a group of people who have a meeting. In the meeting we learn more about the lord an in the meeting we sing religious songs. It is a free country, WE CAN SING WHAT WE WANT!!! If people can cuss, we can sing a religious song.

  6. katie

    yes we should be able to sing what we want when we want if you are not a religious person we would like you to be but it is your decision but we that are Christian we also have our thoughts and our decision and so my decision is we should keep all kind of music in the school.

  7. Seth Davis

    yes. Cause you won’t have to go to church just to sing a couple of songs but then if they let the school sing religious songs they could sing songs everyday instead of just singing on sundays.

  8. Sydney McNeil

    Yes, because If there is an unreligious person that is going there, there might be a possibility they would be a Christian and if they would burn the United States of America and make us stand by and watch then they should be able to sing a Christian song.m

  9. Hannah Tripp

    I think they shouldn’t take away the religious songs, because it’s not doing any harm to the people in the schools. We do have religious rights, and we should be able to sing songs about Jesus. It’s weird how it’s okay to burn flags, but not okay to sing songs about Jesus.

  10. Ashley Nelson

    I think that if some people like to sing church song in school then they can. If people are uncomfortable with singing church songs in school then they don’t have to sing them. But if we can burn the American flag then we can sing church song in school. I think it would be pretty cool if we sang songs in our school.

  11. karsyn

    yes, I think they should get to sing religious songs in school. I think it helps people understand the all and powerful lord Jesus Christ and I love christen music and it a free country.WE CAN SIN G WHAT WE WANT TO SING!! ……. THATS WHAT I SAY!

  12. Alexis

    I think we should be able to sing whatever religious songs we want because if people want to sing about Jesus then let them. As long as its not phyisically hurting people then I dont see what the big deal is!! This is a FREE country dont forget that!!!

  13. Zaven Thulin

    I think that we should keep the religious music in school plays, because its a free country. We should be able to sing what we want to sing.

  14. Zaven Thulin

    I think we should have religious music in school plays, because a free country we should be able to sing what we want to sing.

  15. Joe V.

    YES!!!! Religious songs should be allowed in school shows. I understand the desire for the separation of church and state but religious songs are HUGE part of the musical holiday genre. If a person does not wish to take part in the concert they do not have to!

  16. Grace

    I think schools should allow religious music because not only is it fun and entertaining to sing and hear, but it also teaches us more about different religions that we don’t follow.

  17. Katherine B.

    Yes just because you listen to Christian music doesn’t mean that the school should take it out its a free country you should be aloud to listen to what ever type of music you wantb

  18. hanna

    I think we should because we have the right to singing like what ever we want to some people people might disagree but this my opinion

  19. Patrice

    By this logic, we’d have to take Christmas break out because it’s a religious holiday. The same with Halloween and valentine’s day, which are both saints days.

  20. Edie Mondazze

    It’s impossible to ban religious music. I am christian and the idea of idolizing Santa Claus is against my personal religion, should we exempt those songs, too? What does that leave us? Where would we draw the line? If we really do want to be kids of America, we must represent the diversity it contains. That includes our religions and beliefs. We always have the option of not participating.


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