Friday, October 23, 2009

Now Handel's Messiah Is Banned

I have written before about how some schools are banning Christmas concerts, or are banning music with any religious basis from any concert whatsoever (which would leave out most of J.S. Bach's work, for example). Now we hear of a performance of Handel's famous Messiah being blocked because the performance venue was proposed to be a public school this year. The performance has a 17-year tradition.

Details of the conflict are not totally clear, at least as reported on the webiste. But there was a protest from a group "advocating the separation of church and state" which probably had some influence on the decision. Given actions in the past by the ACLU, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation, it is not hard to see how protests from such a group might give a school pause. Lawsuits are expensive for cash-strapped school districts.

But while many who attend the concert might have been there for faith-based reasons, many others may attend for musical reasons. According to Widipedia, "Messiah is Handel's most famous creation and is among the most popular works in Western choral literature." The source also points out that "...the work was conceived for secular theatre..."

Certainly it is well known. Its use in public is hardly restricted to religious services or celebrations. If you watch TV or movies and/or see commercials, you have almost certainly heard the main theme from the Hallelujah chorus. Is someone is happy about the whiteness of the wash, Hallelujah might play in the background. If someone is surprised by the exciting taste of their gum, Hallelujah! Even in adult scenes from some mainstream movies, some particularly satisfying sexual encounter might cause you to hear the theme.

But no matter. Performing this in a public school, even outside school hours, is now to be considered a Constitutional violation. Read the story below:

Popular 'Messiah' production may be on hold this year

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