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O'Reilly Wrong Again: School Never Rewrote "Silent Night" Lyrics!

Reported by Marie Therese - December 21, 2005

During an interview with Jim Pinkerton on December 9th, Bill O'Reilly accused the Dodgeville Wisconsin School District of deliberately altering the words to "Silent Night" in an attempt to be politically correct. He fumed that this was yet another assault by the secular forces on the Christian tradition of Christmas. However, it seems that O'Reilly got the story about Dodgeville completely wrong and owes that town an apology and a retraction. Here's what the Dodgeville School District has to say on their web page (News & Information) yesterday.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Today, as part of its winter program, the Ridgeway Elementary School presented an adaptation of “The Little Tree’s Christmas Gift,” a production copyrighted in 1988 by Amalgamated Talents, International, Van Nuys, CA. The production was written by Ann E. Lambert, arranged by Dwight Elrich, and illustrated by Stan Sakai. The production tells the story of a family going out to buy a Christmas tree and finding only one small scraggly tree left on the tree lot. To the delight of their families, our students have performed this program several times over the past 18 years, and today was no exception. The District opted to present the narrative version of this play, permissible under copyright, rather than using a collection of familiar Christmas carol melodies to tell the story. Although some attendees lamented the “change of the words to satisfy Liberty Counsel,” it should be noted, again, that no words were changed. The play was presented as published.

As originally planned, the remainder of the program included the singing of traditional Christmas carols. Since district policy allows the inclusion of both religious and secular music in our curriculum and performances, that plan was executed today.

This report from Think Progress reveals that the authors of the script for The Litte Tree's Christmas Gift suggested certain familiar songs be used as melodies for the various poems in the play, which was copyrighted in 1988. As anyone who's taught music in a school knows, the more familiar the tune, the easier it is for the children to learn to sing it, even if the words are different. The play has been performed throughout the United States, including in churches, since its publication. The play's creator, Dwight Elrich, leads the New Covenant Singers at the Bel Air Presbyterian Church.


Below are three clips sent to us by our anonymous tipster, featuring an article from the Dodgeville Chronicle that includes some awful emails written by "Christians" who clearly have no idea what the real message of Christianity actually is.

What O'Reilly and the other rabid Christian groups did was use massive intimidation tactics to force the Dogeville School District to change the way in which they presented this charming story. Bowing to pressure, they eliminated the sung version of the play, opting to use the narrated version only, so no one would be offended by linking the familiar MUSIC to altered WORDS for "Silent Night."

Since it has now become offensive to Christian groups to sing different words to "traditional" Christmas carols, I hope no one lets O'Reilly know that my piano students (and millions of children throughout the United States) have been engaging in this nefarious, reprehensible and anti-Christian behavior for many years! In fact, I must confess I myself was guilty of such behavior when I was a child.

For example, here are the words some of my students sing to the tune of "Jingle Bells":

Jingle Bells Batman smells
Robin laid an egg
The Batmobile lost a wheel
And Joker got away.


And how about this one to the tune of "Joy to the World"?

Joy to the world, Barney's dead
We barbecued his head
What happened to his body
We flushed it down the potty
And round and round it goes
And round and round it goes
And round and round it goes!

And, my own shame-faced admission. When I was a kid, my friends and I would sing this quaint version of "We Three Kings":

We three kings of orient are
Smoking on a rubber cigar
It was loaded, it exploded.

(Long pause)

We two kings of orient are
Smoking on a rubber cigar
It was loaded, it exploded.

(long pause)

I one king of orient are
Smoking on a rubber cigar
It was loaded, it exploded.

(End of song)

Now that I've published these grossly anti-Christmas versions of traditional carols, am I putting myself and all the young people of this nation in the sights of the Christmas traditionalists? Will the self-righteous forces of God and purity - heralded by their media prophets O'Reilly, Gibson and Hannity - now broadcast from the hallowed halls of FOX Central a new crusade to rescue Christmas from barbarian assaults by our very own children?

Quick, Bill! Wake up!

It's time for a Jihad against the kids! They're clearly tools of the anti-Christmas, anti-Christian, secularist campaign to take the sanctity out of this noble celebration. Such assaults must not go unpunished. Get out your flaming sword of Christian anger, rise to your bully pulpit and preach hellfire and brimstone! It's for the kids' sake, Bill, the kids you profess to be looking out for. You and Gibson and Hannity need to save their precious souls, show them the error of their ways, let them know how they offend Christians by changing the lyrics to age-old Christmas tunes!

It's not too late! You still have four days left! Onward! To the ramparts! Man the parapets!! Zip off one of your zinging Talking Points Memos decrying the lack of respect for Christmas rampant in these United States today.

Their salvation is in your hands!

As for me, I'm gonna go have a cup of cocoa, turn on some holiday music, write my cards and wrap presents.

If you'd like to demand that Bill O'Reilly issue an apology to the people of Dodgeville, Wisconsin and retract the story, here is the contact information for FOX News:


Call FOX News Channel at 1-888-369-4762

News Hounds was alerted us to this story by a regular reader, who wishes to remain anonymous. We are constantly touched and amazed by the support we receive on a daily basis from you, our loyal readers.


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