A teacher in Italy replaced the name of Jesus with the word “Peru” in a children’s Christmas carol, ostensibly to avoid offending Muslims.
The teacher in Zoppola, a city in the region of Pordenone, taught the song to 8-year-old students. Parents learned of the switch when two boys sang the carol on Christmas Day, according to the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero.
“There is no form of violence, arrogance, pretentiousness worse than that cloaked by good intentions,” Italian lawmaker Sandra Savino told Il Messaggero. “Like that of the teacher of Zoppola di Pordenone who decides to replace the word Jesus so as not to offend (this is his justification) the students who follow the Islamic faith.”
Savino predicted that the teacher would not be punished, because the school did not deem the offense serious enough, but she insisted it was no minor error.
“The ideological initiative of the teacher is of extreme gravity for two reasons: because he casts aspersions on a historical fact like the birth of Christ, deliberately and arbitrarily mixing different disciplines and creating confusion to conceal concepts deemed inconvenient and above all because he uses eight-year-olds to fight his own political battles,” the lawmaker said.
The name of Jesus was not removed from a previously known Christmas carol, like “Silent Night” (“Jesus, Lord at thy birth”), but from a children’s carol called “Minuetto di Natale,” written by the Italian artist Giomilly in 2011.
The story of “Jesus” being replaced by “Peru” sparked outrage on social media, and parents demanded an explanation. The principal insisted she did not know about the teacher’s initiative, and she reprimanded him. The teacher apologized.
“Crazy stuff: now the politically correct have exceeded all limits of decency, and have become grotesque and ridiculous,” Giorgia Meloni, president of the political party Brothers of Italy, said in a statement.
Debora Serracchiani, president of the Italian region Friuli-Venezia Giulia (not to be confused with Venice), insisted that “tolerance and openness to all cultures and regions is a historical heritage of Friuli Venezia Giulia, but great attention must be paid to all acts that could appear to be a censorship of Christian traditions.”
These Italian politicians are correct — political correctness has gone too far, especially in cases like these. It is important to recognize the historicity of Christmas and of Jesus of Nazareth, even if people do not recognize Jesus as the Christ. Unfortunately, The Washington Post tweeted out an article arguing that Jesus wasn’t historical — on Christmas Day, no less!
Would schools remove references to Mohammed from Muslim songs, or references to Moses or YHWH from Jewish songs? Would major news outlets publish stories doubting the existence of Mohammed on Ramadan or Judah Maccabee on Hanukkah?
These attacks on Jesus are petty, but they represent a secular culture that thinks Christianity is the majority religion and therefore acceptable to attack. The same courtesy given to Islam, Judaism, and other faiths is often withheld from Christians, and this is problematic. None of this suggests persecution (cases like that of Jack Phillips might), but these cares are notable nonetheless.