The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Silent plight: complaints put halt to Christmas carols

Seems the familiar tunes chiming from one university’s clock tower weren’t “inclusive” enough.


The clock tower at Southern Illinois University has played Christmas carols for nearly 15 years. But this year, someone complained, leading university officials to briefly silence the holiday tradition until they could add a more diverse selection of music.

“We got a complaint about not being inclusive in the music,” university chancellor Rita Cheng told Fox News Radio

She backed off comments she made to a local television station that claimed the music was indeed removed because it was “religious” and “offensive to non-Christians.”

“No one really complained about it being religious,” she told Fox News Radio. “They asked that their religion also be reflected in the music.”

Read more here.

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posted December 11, 2010 at 2:25 am

I won’t stand for this injustice. I’m going down there to picket until they play the trance version of Adagio for Strings!
Is this just a loudspeaker they have up there or a bell tower. If it’s bells, of course you’re going to get a heavy dose of traditional church jingles. I’m guessing there’s not a whole lot of Kwanzaa stuff written for carillon!

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The Bald Guy

posted December 11, 2010 at 3:42 am

What a sad thing for this country. Our country was founded on Christian principles and Christmas carols and Christmas music are part of our heritage. If people want to be a part of this country then they need to accept our traditions. These traditions are what has made this country. We should not have to kow-tow to everyone from a different background. All of the politically correct washington anti-americans talk about having tolerance. Where is the tolerance for our traditions?
Hum-bug on the aristocracy.

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posted December 11, 2010 at 5:34 am

Bald Guy, our country was founded by Christians, Atheists and Deists. It was founded as a secular
republic. Patrick Henry, for instance, was an outspoken atheist.
This country is not a theocracy and never will be one. There are causes I would die for but the cause of keeping the secular republic is one I would eagerly and frequently kill for.

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posted December 11, 2010 at 6:26 am

Well, Bald Guy, a secular institution is playing carols, and has taken a short time off to add similar music from other faiths and groups. When they re-start, the carols will be back as well, just not exclusively.
Sounds to me like they’re showing quite a bit of tolerance for the Christian tradition, just not all that much tolerance for the conservative-Christian tradition of exclusionary Christianity.
And that’s a good thing for a school with a large foreign community in the middle of the most conservative part of the state.

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posted December 11, 2010 at 7:49 am

Good grief, what’s next, removing the Matza Ball display at the supermarket?
As much as I loathe big government, I would like to call for a “special tolerance department” to aid those too weak to make it through Christian holidays. In fact, I’ll even volunteer to design the program. The first part would be removing the offended from “all things Christian”, which for the most part, is all of Western Civilization. Being that it’s so offensive, let’s consider what this country might look like without the Christian influence:
1. No colleges (goodby Ivy League Elites)
2. No hospitals
3. No legal system
The list is endless. I’m sure there is some land somewhere in America where the “offended” would not have access to any of the fruits of Christendom. I suggest the US Goverment sanction such a place and offer it to all offended.
The irony of it all is that the “offended” are the ones who receive the most cultural benefits.

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posted December 11, 2010 at 8:41 am

Let’s face it, week after week of Xmas carols gets pretty boring. Adding in some new stuff with different music and perspective will surely be an improvement.

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posted December 11, 2010 at 9:40 am

Frank does this sound like the words of an Atheist? They were uttered in a church in Richmond, Virginia, St. John’s Church in Richmond Virginia March 23, 1775 by none other than you supposed Atheist Patrick Henry: “An appeal to arms and the God of Hosts is all that is left us. But we shall not fight our battle alone.
There is a just God that presides over the destinies of nations. The battle, sir, is not to the strong. Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”
Isnt it funny how our lost schools now only teach the last part to our next generation?
The following year, 1776, he wrote this: “It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this great Nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, peoples of other faiths have been afforded…freedom of worship here.”
Please find a different Forefather to support your shallow, godless desire to re-write history and imply this country was founded by Aethists.

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Michelle Francl-Donnay

posted December 11, 2010 at 10:12 am

Well, frankly, I’m a Christian, a cradle Roman Catholic, who finds the pervasiveness of Christmas carols during the season of Advent to be an assault on the practice of my faith, which encourages a contemplative stance of waiting and an attitude of penance at this time of year. Why is this rarely, if ever, on the table when the annual conversations about the banning of Christmas carols in public begins? I’m always puzzled.
Perhaps we should be requesting that they be turned off as well?
(P.S. The church was being used, not as a church, but as the meeting place of Virginia’s House of Burgesses at the time Patrick Henry uttered those words.)

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posted December 11, 2010 at 11:10 am

At the University of Maryland the clocktower bells played “Maryland My Maryland” which also happens to be “Oh, Christmas Tree.” I don’t know if anyone every complained, but curious freshmen wondered why they were playing Christmas music in September.

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posted December 12, 2010 at 2:05 pm

I’m pissed that the leading Catholic jurist in this country, Antonin Scalia, has said that as a gay man (status not activity) I am not entitled to any of the Fourteenth Amendment’s legal protection including deprivation of life liberty or property without due process.
Perhaps all you put-upon Christians should focus on the sh*t you make others put up with. LIke the Pope’s demonization of gays during Christmas as his predecessors demonized Jews on Good Friday.
As for your notes on the contributions of Catholics to the culture:
Law- We don’t use Roman Law, which the Church does, we use Common Law.
Hospitals – pre-existed both Christianity and Islam in ancient greece.
Colleges- ditto.

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posted December 12, 2010 at 10:30 pm

“The following year, 1776, he wrote this: “It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this great Nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. ”
According to,, those words appear nowhere in the writings or recorded utterances of Patrick Henry.

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posted December 14, 2010 at 7:12 pm

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posted December 15, 2010 at 2:51 pm

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