A Republican in the blue state of New Jersey is bucking what some decry as a national trend to eradicate all traces of religion in public places.
Steve Lonegan, who is running for the Republican nomination for New Jersey governor, is defying a school-district edict that bans religious music from holiday-season celebrations this year.
Mr. Lonegan has asked local residents of all religions to join him at 5 p.m. tomorrow "to sing and listen to" songs such as George Frederick Handel’s "Messiah" and "Silent Night," which have been banned from schools, even in instrumental form, by the South Orange/Maplewood School District.
Residents will sing and hear Christmas, Hanukkah and other music outside Columbia High School, where students and parents will assemble later that night for the school’s official holiday concert.
"The school district’s decision to prohibit even instrumental versions of classic Christmas tunes shows that those who claim to speak for tolerance are, in fact, the most intolerant," Mr. Lonegan said.
"It’s time people lighten up and enjoy the Christmas and Hanukkah season, instead of denying the religious foundation of our nation and the holiday season," said Mr. Lonegan, who is mayor of Bogota, a small town across the Hudson River from New York. [Source]