Sunday, December 26, 2004


A cathedral dean in Wales has ruled out the singing of "Merry Gentlemen" on Christmas Day, ordering the choir and congregation to use the words "God Rest Ye Merry People" instead. The alternative version, found in some hymn books, was chosen by the Very Reverend John Lewis, Dean of Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff, for the parish choir and worshippers to sing.

But Don Jessett, deputy chairman of the cathedral Choral Society, said the change to God Rest Ye Merry People "takes all the bounce out of the line". He added: "If the cathedral choir had been singing it we would have chosen the other version. "So far as I am concerned as a singer I am not worried about this politically correct business. But God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen goes jogging along nicely."

The Dean said he had not chosen the newer version to avoid offending women in the congregation. He added: "To be quite honest, this was done back in November and I came across this version and I thought we haven't sung this carol for some time and it expresses all the feelings of Christmas.

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A parent of a Hampton Academy Junior High School student says the principal of the school told his son to leave the school’s holiday dance on Friday night because the boy was dressed in a Santa Claus costume, which was politically incorrect. Michael Lafond said his son, Bryan, went to the dance dressed as Santa because it was a holiday party. "He asked if he could dress like Santa and we said yes," said Lafond. "We went to Brooks and purchased the outfit and everything."

Lafond said his wife dropped off Bryan at the school. "I went to the dance with my friend," said Bryan Lafond, who is in seventh grade. "He had an elf hat on and we thought it was pretty cool. Everyone loved the suit, but when I went by the principal, he asked why I was dressed like that." Principal Fred Muscara said he told the boy he couldn’t get into the dance because he was wearing the costume. "It was a holiday party," said Muscara. "It was not a Christmas party. There is a separation of church and state. We have a lot of students that go to Hampton Academy Junior High that have different religions. We have to be sensitive to that."

Bryan said while Muscara didn’t say he had to leave, he told Bryan if he wanted to go the dance he would have to change out of the suit and put on proper attire for the dance. Having nothing to change into, Bryan left the dance to try and find his mother. "My wife was leaving the parking lot when she saw Bryan running out of the building," said Lafond. "He told her that the principal said it was politically incorrect to wear the Santa outfit."

"I saw him running out of the building crying," said Leslie Lafond, Bryan’s mother. Lafond said while he disagrees with their reasoning he could almost understand it. What he couldn’t understand was why his son was able to leave the dance. "One of reasons why we are so angry is that the school has a policy that says once you go to the dance you can’t leave until it’s over," said Lafond. "You can’t leave school grounds unless they call a parent. If my wife wasn’t there, my son would have been out roaming the streets." Bryan’s mother picked up her son and drove him home to change.

Lafond said his wife had to persuade Bryan to go back to the dance. "He was so embarrassed," said Lafond. "It wasn’t like he was trying to pull a prank. He is just a good-natured kid getting into the holiday spirit who just happened to walk right by Scrooge." .... Lafond said political correctness is getting out of control. "I don’t get it," said Lafond, citing a PTA breakfast with Santa at the school a couple of weeks ago. "What’s next? Are they going to get rid of Halloween because of paganism?" he asked. "The last time I checked, Christmas was the celebration of the birth of Christ and not Santa Claus," Leslie said. "I want them to make an apology to my son. My son was humiliated."

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