Is “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” Religious?

December 15, 2008 1 min read

A kindergarten Christmas show at the Murrayville Elementary School in Wilmington, N.C., generated an unlikely church-state controversy when a mother at the school complained about its inclusion of the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” The parent objected to the song’s “religious overtones,” reportedly complaining in particular about its use of the word “Christmas.” As a result the song was temporarily pulled from the program line-up.

After many other parents complained about the decision, however, school officials give the matter further study. “School board members, administrators and attorneys listened closely to the song’s lyrics and decided the song was secular,” according to local news station WRAL.

“Rudolph is a secular song,” proclaimed assistant school superintendent Rick Holliday. “It was about a flying reindeer, not a religious symbol.”

School officials decided to return the song to the kindergarteners’ holiday show, a decision that sat well with many parents.

“I think it’s great that they let the kids sing because all the kids love that song,” said Anne Vanslyke, a parent of a student.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.

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