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?

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Sounds like a precedent has been set to me.  If one can be exempted then all should have the same opportunity.  Good luck to you and your pals.
Say that as an atheist, your conscience prevents you from participating in the promotion of religious views. That doesn't have to be true, but it points out the double standard in their rules.

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.

Sue the bastid!

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.

You can go either way with this. If you enjoy music and want to learn, then go ahead & practice and perform. It will be good for you. But if you would like to slack off or take it easy(no shame in that IMO. I would do it) then you can go ask for an exemption for yourself too. The choice is yours.
I'd still participate in the concert and final exam - after all, this is your passion, is it not? But approach the instructor that she needs to offer this exemption to all students who feel participating would go against their views. If that doesn't get results, go to the department head/department dean and try there. Even if you still want to participate, I think you should say something...even if it is just to stir the pot ;)

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.

Evangelical students should not receive special priviledges.
Discrimination on the grounds of religion (or lack of). Precedent has been set.

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.


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