A school in Norway has been forced to deny censoring references to ‘Santa’ and ‘elves’ from Christmas songs in a bizarre attempt to avoid offending atheists.
Children at Nyland school were told to just hum the melody of one hymn, ‘Deilig er jorden’, while the lyrics in another tune were changed so ‘elves’ became ‘all men’ and a reference to ‘Santa Claus coming here’ became ‘our friends coming here’. ‘Christmas lantern’ also became ‘winter lantern’.
School principal Frøydis Anthonsen told Stavanger Aftenblad: “Someone who doesn’t want the Christmas message would perceive it as offensive that the word ‘Christmas’ is included, because they associate the word ‘Christmas’ with something Christian.”
However, she then quickly backtracked, claiming she misspoke and that the rewritten songs were merely draft proposals that had been sent out by mistake.
She told Dagbladet: “In a hurry I answered questions when the reporter called earlier today and without checking the matter further they published the story as if we wanted to change the Christmas songs.”
However, she did admit that the school’s annual Christmas celebration would not be held in a church this year, but in the school itself.
“There, we will of course sing the original Christmas songs. And next year we will be in the church again, and then those who do not want to take part can opt out,” she added.
Breitbart London reported last week that an Italian priest declined to put up a nativity scene at his local cemetery in case it offended Muslims.
Fr Sante Braggiè said the annual tradition in the town of Cremona “could be seen as a lack of respect for followers of other faiths, hurt the sensibilities of Muslims, as well as Indians and even atheists.”
His decision caused a backlash, however, with Fr Oreste Mori, the priest’s predecessor, saying: “Seriously? I can’t believe it!”
I am, for the time being at least, in Italy, not Saudi Arabia,” he added.