Atheist Group Lodges Complaint After Music Teacher Plays ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ During Announcements

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — A chapter of one of the nation’s most conspicuous professing atheist groups has lodged a complaint after being notified by concerned parents that a music teacher at a Tennessee elementary school played Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” during the morning announcements.

The East Tennessee chapter of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) recently emailed Linden Elementary School Principal Roger Ward to ask that the song not be used again.

“While this music may be beautiful and even inspirational for Christians, it is not acceptable for broadcasting to the entire student body at Linden Elementary,” wrote Aleta Ledendecker. “In consideration of all the possible choices of music, this piece with its distinctly religious content can be interpreted as proselytizing. Such actions are clearly prohibited by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

“Please see that the music director makes appropriate choices for broadcasting to your student body beginning immediately,” she continued. “Furthermore, please reply with a report of the actions you have taken to assure that there will be no future music choices with even a hint of religious overtones.”

However, the school says that the teacher only used the song because the class was studying George Frederic Handel that week, and only 20-30 seconds of the composition was aired. A different composer is studied each week.

“The passage was selected to correspond with the school’s overall music curriculum that, for that particular week, featured the musical works of George Handel,” an unidentified school district representative told conservative commentator Todd Starnes.

“The criticisms articulated by Ms. Ledendecker appear to have been based upon insufficient information taken entirely out of context, incorrect assumptions about the school’s music curriculum and a fundamental misunderstanding of the First Amendment’s relationship with historically sacred classical music compositions being taught in a public school music curriculum,” they said.

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The attorney for the district has since responded to FFRF to state that the teacher had not done anything inappropriate.

Ledendecker has acknowledged that she is unsure “if there actually is a legal issue at this time.” She has submitted a records request to review the school curriculum further.

“This is the litmus test I use: If I were a Christian parent walking in the school, and I heard over the PA system during morning announcements music with the words ‘Praise Allah. Allah is the king on high. Bow down to Allah,’ how would I feel as a Christian parent with that being broadcast to all the children in the schools? If I would find that somewhat unsettling, then it is equally unsettling for secular parents,” she told the Oak Ridger.

As previously reported, in 1828, just 52 years after the nation’s founding, Noah Webster, known as the Father of American Scholarship and Education, wrote, “In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed. … No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”


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  • Amos Moses – He>i

    so are we becoming more like China or are they becoming more like us … the Chinese government has banned Handels “Messiah” ….. it seems the leftist totalitarians and sexually depraved are joining together and just cannot stand to have any mention of a Holy God in any place or platform …… and yet at the same time they DEMAND that we allow them to desecrate anything that is Holy or even reminds them of a Holy God ……….. ACCEPTANCE WITHOUT EXCEPTION WORLDWIDE is their battle cry …… church ….. this means you …………..

    • Garbage Adams

      You can make your point without talking about leftist totalitarians and the “sexually depraved” – it isn’t relevant to the story.

      • Amos Moses – He>i

        it is absolutely relevant … but i get it …. that you dont get it ………

        • Garbage Adams

          No, it’s really not. This is about an FFRF complaint dealing with whether or not sacred music is appropriate in a secular setting, and has nothing to do with depravity. You are welcome to read the story again.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            blah, blah, woof, woof ….. the FFRF ARE the leftist tolalitarians ……….

          • Garbage Adams

            Don’t you think that sounds just a LITTLE bit like hateful conspiracy theory nonsense?

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            news flash …. it is not a theory if it is what they are …… a conspiracy does not have to have a meeting for the participants to act in their own self self interest ….. and since you do not know what “hateful” is …. i reject your characterization of it …..

          • Garbage Adams

            If only you could realize what a terrifying statement you are making. If a person making statements so hateful believes them to be messages of Christian love, it’s not surprising there is so much division.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            again … you are an anti-theist ….. you reject God and HIS MORAL STANDARD ….. and now you WANT TO APPEAL TO THAT MORAL STANDARD …… why …. and even if what you are saying is true ….. so what ………… you are an ANTI -THEIST …. who cares … what difference does it make ……………..

          • Garbage Adams

            You are saying that if you don’t believe in God you can’t possibly possess moral standards. What utter nonsense.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            i am saying when you reject God as an anti-theist … you reject the moral standard He set ….. there is NO MORAL STANDARD in an anti-theist worldview ….. you have stated openly a REJECTION OF GOD and His standard ….. so WHY do you think you get to appeal to it …. SO WHAT if i did …. that fit YOUR WORLDVIEW …………

          • Garbage Adams

            You don’t need the moral standard of any God. All you need is the one your parents raise you with. The Golden Rule works just fine for most people and it makes the most sense, and it instills a sense of empathy.

            The Golden Rule is a perfectly good moral standard from a non-fundamentalist Christian standpoint and has no connection to any higher power.

          • D. Witzell

            You obviously don’t know where the Golden Rule comes from, do you? It originated with — wait for it — Jesus!

            The “Golden Rule” was given by Jesus of Nazareth, who used it to summarize the Torah: “Do to others what you want them to do to you. This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets” (Matthew 7:12 NCV, see also Luke 6:31). [from Wikipedia]

          • Garbage Adams

            Incorrect – as early as 500BC, Jainism, a religion of India that
            promotes non-violence, compassion, and the sacredness of life, teaches
            the golden rule: “A monk should treat all beings as he himself would be
            treated.” (Jaina Sutras, Sutrakritanga, bk. 1, 10:1-3). It’s simply good moral philosophy that should be adhered by anyone.

  • Lexical Cannibal

    As it’s written here, I find it hard to agree with the FFRF on this one.

    Assuming the details are correct, the use of Handel’s work was educationally appropriate and does not seem to belabour the religious aspect moreso than would be strictly necessary; the hallelujah chorus is instantly recognizable by people who haven’t even heard the song, and it is the unavoidable feature of historical works that to study them, even at the grade school level, is to eventually involve yourself in the religious themes inherent to those times.

    Is it a Christian song? Yes, it is. In this limited case, though, the school is more than within its purview to teach on it, as to ignore classical music with religious themes is to ignore a very large body of classical music.

    I feel confident that I would feel the same way if we lived in some alternate universe, where the bulk of the classical canon was instead, say, Muslim, Buddhist, or Pagan; when religious themes permeate a subject, teaching them in the context of that subject is no longer necessarily promotion. It can be, but it loses its de facto status, for me.

  • Reason2012

    In consideration of all the possible choices of music, this piece with its distinctly religious content can be interpreted as proselytizing.

    These are not atheists. “can be” interpreted as proselytizing? Search on public school islam and see how islam is being taught with greater frequency in more and more public schools, which is obvious proselytizing, while all these “athiest” groups do nothing. It exposes them as pro-islam groups posing as atheists to censor Christianity. Wouldn’t work as well if they admitted they were islamists trying to shut down Christianity here in our Christian nation.

    • D. Witzell

      I don’t believe they are Islamists. They are humanists and may just be fearful to take the Islamists on or may just regard Christianity as the primary enemy. From their writings, the latter is the sense I get. Read my post to Tammy Henson, above. In it, I describe what I have recently learned about humanists and their goals.

      • Reason2012

        Atheists would also go after islam if they truly hated any beliefs in God. That they do not mind islam becoming more and more popular in public schools and hence becoming a very real danger to atheists far worse than they pretend Christianity is seems to say otherwise. They do what islamists do: attack Christianity.

  • bowie1

    If it was sung by Leonard Cohen would they still protest?

    • Hairpants

      Yes, That would be interesting.

  • Garbage Adams

    I disagree with the FFRF on this one. The music is culturally and artistically important. If you were to study medieval music and intended to avoid religious material, good luck – practically everything is written in praise to God (or Mary). With this, or with anything, you can appreciate that it was written in praise of God but it doesn’t proselytize.

  • Amos Moses – He>i

    Heather …. i want to thank you for the video above ….. in the church for 80 years … and FINALLY realizing he was NOT really saved ….. but Gods grace did finally find him and truly saved that man ….. he was so close for all his life …. and yet completely missing the mark ….. and a miss is as good as a mile ….. that is truly a blessing for any true christian who watches it …. and the SAD FACT is …. many are going to be here during the rapture … and they will be sitting in churches the day AFTER it happens ….. and finally realize TOO LATE that they were not really saved …… again …. thanks for finding that and posting it …. AMAZING …………..

  • Amos Moses – He>i

    The Great Abandoning: These Alarming Faith Stats Should Rock Every Pastor, Church and Christian to Their Core

    By Billy Hallowell
    September 6, 2017
    Much has been said about the rise of the religiously unaffiliated here in America, but over in England it seems the situation is much more dire than it is here in the states.

    In fact, more than half — 53 percent — of Brits now report that they are not at all religious, up five percentage points since 2015, the Independent reported.

    READ: ‘Statistical Crisis’: Millennials Are Fleeing Faith — but is There a Fix?

    And, perhaps more stunningly, this year’s proportion is up 19 percentage points when compared to 1983 when just 32 percent of the public said the same, according to statistics collected by the National Centre for Social Research, a social research group.

    Overall, just over four-in-10 British citizens said that they are Christian, with the declines coming in hardest among Church of England members, with just 15 percent of the population claiming allegiance to the Anglican church.

    Perhaps most concerning, though, is the fact that just 3 percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 consider themselves Anglican, with 71 percent of people in this age cohort saying that they have no religion, up from 62 percent in 2015. Read more about these shocking statistics here.

    In the U.S., these demographics look quite different, with 71 percent of citizens calling themselves Christian of some sort. That said, that proportion is down from 78 percent in 2007, with 23 percent of the public now calling itself religiously unaffiliated.

    As Faithwire previously reported, much has been said about the “statistical crisis” facing Christianity, particularly when it comes to young people. It’s no secret that Millennials here in the U.S. have been fleeing faith, as they’re much more likely than past generations to shun religious affiliation.

    In fact, nearly four-in-10 Americans born in 1981 or after count themselves as being unaffiliated with a particular faith or denomination. It’s a statistical crisis that has churches and pastors wondering what can be done to bring young people back into the pews. Find out more about what some experts believe can be done to curb the problem.

  • Ginger

    Deuteronomy 28:1 “…IF thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do His commandments” [KJV]
    Are we diligently seeking the Lord our God, or have we become a nation of biblically illiterate people? Continue reading the 28th chapter for God’s cursing look around you we can see it happening. His Word is the same today, as it was then, as it will be in the future.
    Psalms 14:1 “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. 2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. 3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” [KJV]

  • Always looking for something to fuss about – ALWAYS!!!

    • D. Witzell

      True. That is because it is a secular humanist organization. I learned through researching them in July, by reading some of their writings, that for at least half a century or more (it may even well be a century), humanists have been systematically and strategically working towards a very specific goal; they are out to totally transform society according to their vision of utopia. Humanists want a world with no religion, in which everyone is an atheist. They are particularly out to eradicate Christianity. One major tactic toward that end is to marginalize it as much as possible. Humanists see themselves as at war with us and view themselves as the victors in this war. With that comes a total abandonment of all Christian institutions (such as marriage and faith-based schools), values and morality. They believe it is possible to be “good without God” (although they use a small g).

      Humanists are behind all/most of the societal changes that have been going on for decades, conducting constant campaigns and using totalitarian bully tactics — whenever they can get away with it, to achieve their goals. They exploit the political process, the law, the media, and the schools to achieve their purposes. They have also conscripted corporations, but I don’t know just when that occurred. Check out the various humanist websites and you will see what campaigns they are working on in your area at any given time as well as some of their immediate future goals.

      Humanists are hypervigilant in their attempt to get any semblance of Christianity out of the public arena and keep it out. This is particularly true with regards to the schools, which they view as a critical key to promoting atheism. Humanists often use the “proselytization” argument when pushing for some object or practice to be removed or banned, yet I am quite sure they must realize they are doing their own version of proselytization for atheism in the process. They have foisted a humanist education on the public schools and view the promulgation of evolution as a central component in ensuring that children grow up as atheists.

      For example, in 2013 in the UK, after an intensive campaign of several years, humanists were successful at getting evolution instruction implemented at the lower grades, not just the higher ones and getting this instruction mandated for all schools, even faith-based ones, if they are publically funded. Not only are faith-based schools required to teach evolution, but they are not allowed to critique evolution or present the scientific evidence for creation at all and this applies to ANY class, even religion class, which is mandatory in the UK.

      Humanist associations in the UK harass the faith-based schools, using freedom-of-information laws to obtain the records of faith-based schools, so that they can monitor the schools’ hiring and admissions practices, curriculum, and compliance with the evolution dictates. As soon as they find a school not in compliance, they report them, to have their funding pulled. The humanists’ goal is to subvert the whole purpose of such schools by forcing them conform to the mold of state-run schools, although they describe their goal as ensuring “equity.” Pleased with their success, but not satisfied, their stated future goals include getting the publically-funded state-run schools subsumed back into the state-run system, thus eradicating them as faith-based entities, as well as getting evolution mandated for privately-funded faith-based schools and eventually, getting those ones eliminated as well. As I recall, homeschooling is also a target. Humanists everywhere hate both faith-based schools and home schooling. They want every child, everywhere, subject to a humanistic education and their goal is to ensure that no child escapes it.

  • Lydia Church

    We need a “Freedom from Atheist Attacks against Religion” group!

  • mr goody two shoes

    Dang those Lutheran boys Bach And Handel how dare they influence good public school music. lol

  • Pam Delaney

    Next time they should play AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” for them then?