In the neighborhood of 30 newspapers ran the Happy Holyday piece along with a slew of websites. Alas, to make sure these sources knew I had not deceived them, I sent this out today.
Thank you for publishing or considering for publication my recent article, Happy Holyday. The response to this piece has been significant with mostly favorable reactions.
My reason for writing has to do with some feedback from readers I have received pointing out that the Dodgeville School District in Wisconsin (mentioned in the article as the district associated with singing â€œCold in the Nightâ€) changed their program to allow the traditional singing of Silent Night at the end of the program in which Cold in the Night was to have been sung. Furthermore, I have learned that the song Cold in the Night was to be sung by an unwanted Christmas tree character as a part of a pre-packaged school program called â€œThe Little Christmas Treeâ€™s Giftâ€ and not by all children. I wanted to send along this postscript and correct any misunderstanding about this event. I attempted to verify all the details before the piece was sent out but the school district did not return my calls. I sent the piece to Mat Staver of the Liberty Council as well but heard nothing back from them. Many of you printed this piece before these changes were relevant but I wanted you to hear this from me first and not disgruntled readers. (And I should clarify before I knew anything different than I reported).
If you have not run the piece and still wish to, please let me know and I will immediately send you an edited version. If you archive articles on a website and wish to have the edited version, please let me know and I can send that to you. In any case, it is archived here on the Internet: http://www.drthrockmorton.com/article.asp?id=175 or http://gcc.savvior.com/Happy%20Holyday.php and you are welcome to use the edited version.
I can understand why those Dodgeville folks did not return my calls; they were inundated with calls and emails and probably carrier pigeons dumping on them for the Cold in the Night thing. Sigh. Happy Holydays to all…
I wrote Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel for more information so I could clarify in my own mind the order of events and why LC did not let their mailing list know about the context for the children’s play. Here is his reply:
When concerned parents learned that their children were being taught Cold in the Night they meet with school officials prior to LC sending a letter to them. The issue was not resolved. LC was contacted and requested to help. LC sent a letter to the school officials, including Ms. Diane Messer, the District Administrator and to Julie Piper, the Ridgeway Elementary School principal. The letter stated our understanding and concerns, addressed the law, and requested a response. Neither Ms. Messer nor Ms. Piper responded. The District never responded to dispute our letter. LC then sent another letter to Ms. Messer, stating that we needed an immediate response. Two days later, Ms. Messer issued a statement, saying “Silent Night will be sung. Cold in the Night will not be sung.” We then confirmed in writing her written statement, and based on her written statement, the concerns of the parents who contacted us were resolved. The school kept its word and did not sing the song.
The District has now stated to the media that there was a misunderstanding, that this song was part of a program about a Christmas tree. If it were a misunderstanding the District could have cleared this up quickly. The District did not.
No wonder the School district did not reply to my requests for information; they were not even providing context for the entity prepared to sue them. Only later, to the media did the school claim a misunderstanding.