The Florida Music Educators Conference (FMEA)
The 16-9 Movement made its debut in our CEAI booth at the Tampa Bay Convention Center last week. It is so important that we share the big ideas of being Christians in the public schools because we are not alone. I am convinced that there are Christians (and not just one) on every campus in America, but everywhere I go, I find that teachers and administrators in general are scared because they don’t know the law. The 16-9 Movement keeps it simple. Know the first 16 words of the First Amendment and the 9 fruits of the Spirit as your banner to live by in your public walk.
Being with music teachers was especially fun because they are always presented with the issue of what they can and cannot play/sing with their students. Many music teachers do what they think is right in trying to provide a balanced education, but are often misled by an administrator who thinks they can’t play anything of a spiritual nature. Every music teacher that came by the booth had a story about how their schools handle Christmas programs and each story was different. It shouldn’t be that difficult. Can they play Silent Night? Can they have a Christmas tree in the school? I was most encouraged when I was studying this issue as it went all the way the Supreme Court. Sandra Day O’Connor summarized it as the “Reindeer Test.” We have come to know it as, “Three reindeer and a baby Jesus.” In other words, in the public arena, if there are three secular to one spiritual, the Supreme Court of this great land has ruled it constitutional. For 16-9 educators, we want to be sure that when our “Congress” hat is on, we are honoring the law of the land with love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, self-control, patience and faithfulness. Is that easy to do? Of course not! But aren’t all good things worth the effort?
So, for our music teachers in the public schools who are Christians, be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. Give your students a well-rounded, balanced exposure to all types of music within your curriculum, make sure your administrator is educated in the law and be gracious and balanced.
If you need any help with administrators, parents or other teachers who don’t know the law, sometimes all it takes is a phone call from me or our executive director of CEAI, Finn Laursen and misunderstandings are cleared. We always want to be legal and gracious because we represent the One we serve. Will you help me raise up 16-9 educators?