Skip to comments.After Action Report--Maplewood NJ "Illegal" Christmas Caroling Protest, 12.21.04
Posted on 12/21/2004 8:25:30 PM PST by Coleus
Columbia High School, Parker Avenue, Maplewood, NJ Merry Christmas
Having heard about the event on the Free Republic I decided to go down and check out the action and participate in the illegal rally singing those illegal religious songs. I arrived about 5:00 PM the time it was supposed to start and joined in the crowd, about 100 people, which was already singing Christmas Carols. We were standing in the middle of the road in front of the school where the police had blocked off the street with barricades and police cars and about 5 police were there for crowd control. It was an easy night for them with no incidents. We were not Counter protested. There was a young lady handing out packets of music containing Christmas and Chanukah songs.
I noticed that just about every NJ and NYC news vans were there (Fox-5, UPN-9, News12, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC) with their cameras and bright lights going. The reporters were out interviewing the crowds.
There was a nice group of black students singing songs and holding signs. They were students in the school who belonged to a Gospel Choir in town who were very enthused and sang very well that complemented the others who were singing. I just noticed the Channel 9 reporter didnt do them justice, she interviewed them for a few minutes and did NOT show anything on this evenings news. What a shame, I guess the reporter didnt like what they had to say.
We sang such songs as: I have a little Dreidel, Silent Night, Joy to the World, Hark the Herald Angels Sing and O Come all Ye Faithful. There were many people of many faiths and political parties in attendance, it wasnt just republicans who attended.
One person was dressed in a Grinch Costume. Among those interviewed there was Susan Rosenbluth, of the Jewish Heritage Magazine and some students as well as the republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan who organized the event. Not everyone there was a Lonegan supporter or republican for that matter.
The music director came out and introduced himself and spoke to us for a minute inviting us to attend his Concert and handed out the programs. We chose not too. I asked him if he were a democrat, which elicited no response from him.
I was surprised that I did not see any Knights of Columbus members there with their banners. The National Organization pushes and sponsors the Keep Christ in Christmas Campaign and no Catholic Priests or other Protestant and Jewish clergymen were in attendance. Oh, thats right, the rally involved a republican. There was an Immaculate Conception Church down the street, maybe it was dinnertime and they couldnt come.
The event ended early at 5:30 pm (now I know why, they had to appear on Scarborough Country in Fort Lee) . Many people came afterwards and were very disappointed that it was already over. I met people who came from Rahway and NYC. This poor old guy from NYC came by bus and had to walk a mile or two from the bus stop to the school. When we were about to leave I offered him a ride to the grocery store and bus stop.
Mayor Steve Lonegan, Ambassador Ray Flynn and atheist Ellen Johnson appeared on MSNBC Scarborough Country with Pat Buchanan interviewing them.
Columbia High School, Parker Avenue, Maplewood, NJ
Great work; great report.
Bravo. As my son was changing channels, I thought I heard ABC or NBC make mention of the protest so perhaps they did a better job covering it than Channel 9.
Thanks for being there and reporting.
Well, it's nice to see our excellent law enforcement officers protecting us from those dangerous Christmas carolers. I suppose we can all sleep easy tonight.
Super effort and great report!
Thanks for the report.
I wish I could comprehend Jewish Christmas Songs. So far I'm stumped.
You had to be there.
Coleus--you are the man. Nice work, and thanks for the report.
Merry Christmas to you!
DFU--your songs have never offended me.
Merry Christmas to you from a red county in the blue state of NJ!
Merry Christmas from a red county in the very, very blue state of California.
WABC's Curtis Sliwa played a news report which said only about 30 people turned up. Sliwa mentioned how sarcastic the reporter was about the event.
Sliwa also said that most of the newspapers this morning didn't even cover it, but I'm not surprised.
I'm glad it was as successful as it was. One hundred people on a cold night is a good turnout.
Carolers protest religious-music ban
By Ralph Z. Hallow
Susan Rosenbluth and fellow Orthodox Jews yesterday came to Maplewood, N.J., to join a crowd of more than 100 carolers in singing Christmas and Hanukkah songs in front of Columbia High School.
Holiday hymns were sung in response to school policies that Steve Lonegan -- the Republican mayor of nearby Bogota, N.J., who organized the event -- called "intolerance" toward traditional religious beliefs.
The carolers showed up outside the school, which held its annual holiday music program last night, to protest a South Orange/Maplewood School District ban on religious songs at schools in this community across the Hudson River from New York.
"The greatest works of art in Western civilization are inspired by religious -- predominantly Christian -- convictions," said Mrs. Rosenbluth, editor of Jewish Voice and Opinion, an Englewood-based monthly.
"We are religious Jews who believe Western civilization is the heritage of all of our children in the United States," Mrs. Rosenbluth said, explaining why she and other Orthodox Jews joined the protest.
"This started out as a small event I decided last week to do," said Mr. Lonegan, who is Catholic. "I expected a handful of people and attacks against me by newspaper editors. Instead, there's this groundswell of support and the newspapers haven't attacked me -- yet."
He, Mrs. Rosenbluth and about 200 fellow carolers, all in high spirits, sang such traditional tunes as "Silent Night," "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and "Joy to the World" -- as well as "Come Light the Menorah" and "I Have a Little Dreydl."
Mr. Lonegan, a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor, said he asked the other Republican candidates and the Democratic governor of the state to join in the protest caroling, but they hadn't responded. Maplewood Mayor Frank Profeta, a Democrat, came to the event to shake hands and greet the protesters.
"I've been on all three network channels here and have been doing radio shows on stations all over the United States, from Kansas and Texas to Florida and Vermont," Mr. Lonegan said.
Mr. Lonegan called the school district's prohibition of traditional Christmas music "the ultimate demonstration of intolerance by a small minority of people who appear to be offended by the very core values that the vast majority of Americas live by -- Jews, Moslems, Christian, who all believe in one God."
A recent Opinion Dynamics poll "found that more than half of American say they call the upcoming festive time the 'Christmas season,' while under a third call it the 'holiday season' and 12 percent say they use both terms," Fox News reported.
Outcries over anti-Christmas rules have been heeded by some politicians, including California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Republican reversed an edict by former Democratic Gov. Gray Davis that designated an official state "holiday tree," and reverted to the familiar title of "Christmas tree" during the annual lighting ceremony in Sacramento.
A Virginia-based group calling itself "RightMarch.com" has been airing a radio ad across the country urging people to "stand up and defend Christmas from ... blatant attacks."
rest of article: http://www.washingtontimes.com/functions/print.php?StoryID=20041221-103610-9207r