There was an issue that flared up amongst my friends and I at our University recently. We are all university music students. Our choir was singing Schumann's Mass in C minor and because this is a class there is a mandatory test on the piece. If you don't participate in the test and the final concert, then you fail.
The issue was that a certain student, who happens to be the leader of the bible study group at our school, went to the music director and told her that they refused to participate in the exam and their final concert. The reason being that this person is an evangelical and the Mass is a catholic song. This individual said they were uncomfortable promoting catholic views. My atheist friends and I thought it was ridiculous, until we found out that this person was actually exempted from performing and the final exam. All the other students would have to practice and take time out of their weeks to prepare for this exam and concert, but he gets special treatment because he's "not" catholic. Not to mention the atheists in the group, who have to spend an hours and hours during practices of the mass singing about the "glory of god." How do you think they feel? We feel like complete idiots, but we suck it up because it's not about religion. It's about the music and art.
I am posting this because I want to know if I'm just crazy or should we have actually done something about this. Any feedback?
I would confront the instructor with the fact I found the mythology against my world view and how was the instructor going to handle the situation based on the earlier ruling for evangelical?
I agree that the music is an art form that in part helped formed western thinking even if I don't agree with it's message.
Aimee and Steve have it right. A precedent has been set.
If you are willing to view it as a piece of music and art, then participate. If you don't and it makes you feel stupid, you should most certainly be exempt from participating under the same terms as your evangelical peer.
I agree with Andrea, the exemption should be made available to all of the students. To add to that though, what I would do if I were the professor is have an alternate assignment to do in place of the exam and performance. Call out the professor (politely) by confronting them and making it clear that the exemption should be available to all students who do not want to participate because of (whatever).
Now for the rebel in me: What a spoiled little crybaby. Seriously? You're performing a song and taking an exam for a grade, and what are you guys putting in? Three weeks? A month? Holy hell what is this world coming to? Quit crying and do the damn assignment(s). It's not like the people that watch the performance will spontaneously convert to Catholicism because of the lyrics. Some people man, some people.
The more you let this go, the more it will happen.
I would say that everyone in that class should get an A because you have all been discriminated against for not being Catholic and consequently did not get away with not doing any work.
I think you should have a discussion with your director. It seems that people are too afraid to offend strongly religious people these days. If you point out to your teacher that you have every intention to do the song even though you are an atheist, your teacher might see that he was a bit foolish in exempting your classmate.
And how exactly is a song about god going against any Christian's religious views? That is ridiculous. Extremely so.