A primary school in London has angered parents by removing references to Christ’s divinity from Christmas songs.
Whitehall Primary School is to hold a carol service and nativity play today, but headteacher Zakia Khatun says the words have been changed to be more inclusive.
“Little Lord Jesus” was changed to “baby boy Jesus” in Away in a Manger; “Jesus our Saviour” to “Jesus the baby” in Love Shone Down; and “new King born today” to “a baby born today” in Come and Join the Celebration.
“He is our Lord and Saviour and King of Kings – that’s the whole point.”
King of Kings
One mother said the changes were unacceptable.
She said: “If he was just a baby boy named Jesus, there wouldn’t be a celebration in the first place. He is our Lord and Saviour and King of Kings – that’s the whole point.”
She added: “My kids are being stopped from having the freedom to express their beliefs. They are shocked.”
“We live in a multicultural society, so we should respect other beliefs but unfortunately Christianity is not getting respect.”
God with us
The former Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali said Away in a Manger was known around the world. “The words ‘Lord Jesus’ are about the central message of Christmas, which is that God is with us in Jesus.
“To put it very simply that’s what Christmas is about.”
The Diocese of Chelmsford, which includes the church where the carol service is due to take place, defended the school’s decision.
A spokesman said: “The service maintains the traditional Christian message of the joy of Christmas in a way that can be celebrated by everyone, including those of other faiths and none.”