ACLU Unveils Religion-Free Holiday Program By Iowahawk

Washington, DC – In an effort to help American elementary schools adhere to federal guidelines regarding religious content in school activities, the American Civil Liberties Union today unveiled a new holiday musical program for the nation’s 120,000 public elementary schools. The program, entitled “Holly Jolly Solstice,” will be performed in all federally-funded public schools starting in 2005.

According to spokesperson Emily Kelleher, the new program was prompted by the ACLU’s concern that many of the nation’s schools were openly flouting constitutional prohibitions against religious content in their December holiday programs.

“Shockingly, we found that many elementary schools are incorporating overt religious themes in their musical shows. For instance, in Washington state and Indiana, we identified references to ‘Frosty the Snowman,’ elves, trees, and other religious themes,” says Kelleher, a senior Enchantress at the ACLU’s national headquarters in Washington.

Kelleher says the problem seems to be more acute in the Bible Belt.

“In Alabama, Florida and Georgia, we found children being coerced into wearing religious garb, such as fake red noses and construction paper antlers,” she noted.

ACLU Legal Affairs counsel Kevin Evans said that rapid intervention hopefully kept psychological damage to a minimum.

“In most cases, we were able to deploy therapists and deprogrammers to the offending schools,” said Evans. “We’re keeping an eye on the children to see if they develop any odd behaviors as the result of their religious exposure. Like excessive piety. Only time will tell.”

This year, rather than fight hundreds of piecemeal legal battles against individual school districts, Evans said the ACLU decided to take a more positive approach.

“Instead of saying, ‘this is prohibited, that is prohibited,’ we felt it made more sense to say, ‘you HAVE to do this,’” says Evans. “That way we have uniformity.”

To develop the new religion-free holiday program, the civil rights organization turned to Klaus-Maria Francis and Serge Bruno, the duo who penned the controversial all-heterosexual Broadway musical Straight!

Using grants from the ACLU, National Education Association, and a matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Francis and Bruno set about creating a “secular masterpiece for children.”

Unveiled yesterday at ACLU headquarters, the program features bouncy, major-chord melodies with strong kid appeal and a libretto that “is 100% certified religion-free,” according to Kelleher.

The program opens with the upbeat ‘All I Want for Solstice is My Ritalin’:

I’m all worked up for the holidays,
Can’t keep my Tourette’s in check,
I’m hyperactive with A.D.D.
An eight-year-old nervous wreck!

All I need for Solstice is some Ritalin, Prozac and therapy
So I can be stable at the holiday table
Worry and jitter-free!

My counselor says I’m manic – depressive
According to my Rorschach test
Not only that, I’m obsessive – compulsive
And my poor little memory’s repressed


Next, the program takes on a wistful tone with the slow tempo ‘Value Neutral Solstice’:

Oh, I’m visualizing a value-neutral Solstice,
Won’t you be non-judgmental with me?
I’m OK, and you’re OK
Who’s to say they’re better than we?

Oh, I’m visualizing a value-neutral Solstice,
No western culture hegemony!
Please don’t hurt my fragile self-esteem
And don’t lay a guilt trip on me!

Every kid’s favorite holiday character is celebrated in the next number, ‘Here Comes Mother Earth’:

Watch out loggers and resource hoggers,
Here comes Mother Earth!
Watch out polluters, with your Microsoft computers!
Here comes Mother Earth!

(Mother Earth speaks)
Global warming and acid rain,
Capitalism is to blame!

Hey meat eaters and overbreeders –
Here comes Mother Earth!
Behind the wheel of your automobile!
Here comes Mother Earth!

(Mother Earth speaks)
E-coli and cow methane,
Capitalism is to blame!

The grand finale of the program is the joyous “Safe Sex Solstice”:

The stars are bright, and it’s frosty tonight
But it’s so warm when we linger
‘round the pentagram, with a dental dam
And some latex on my dinger!

Have a safe sex Solstice, Mr. Happy wrapped up tight!
Have a safe sex Solstice, at the bath house party tonight!

HIV and STD,
They don’t stand a chance!
There’s a rubber-wrapped present waiting for you
Underneath my leather pants!


Oh, I’m in-vi-ting
All my favorite Druids!
Oh, I’ve got a con-dom
To contain my body fluids!


Columnist Frank Rich of the New York Times says the new federal holiday program “is long overdue.”

“I’ve attended some of these school shows, and quite frankly, they are embarrassingly amateur,” says Rich, who writes on both theater and politics. “The costumes and sets are worse than anything I’ve seen, including off-off-Broadway. And the actors – my God – half of them can’t even remember their lines. This new program brings sorely needed production values to the schools, without all the disturbing references to mangers and snowmen.”

Kelleher is proud of the ACLU’s effort, calling ‘Holly Jolly Solstice’ an “instant classic with a strong educational message.”

“Catchy tunes and flamboyant dance numbers aside, this exciting program teaches all of us an important constitutional lesson,” said Kelleher. “Parents and children can rest assured that wise men have no place in American schools.”

If you enjoyed this satire by Iowahawk, you can read more of his work here.

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