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It doesn’t matter how great your public high school music program is, the choir shouldn’t be performing at a religious service. Full stop. That should be obvious.

And yet people are acting like some travesty has occurred now that the Groton-Dunstable Regional High School Chamber Chorus (from Massachusetts) will not get to perform during Easter Sunday Mass at St. Anthony’s Basilica when they take a spring break trip to Italy and Croatia.


Americans United for Separation of Church and State got in touch with the administration when they were informed about the event:

[AU] wrote a letter to the school superintendent saying in part “Taking public school students to worship services as part of a public school activity is a flagrant violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution.”

Members of the chorus WBZ spoke to are upset because they believe it has nothing to do with religion.

They pointed out they had performed at churches before and no one complained.

There’s a difference between performing inside a church (within reason) and performing at a worship service designed to promote the religion.

And, of course, the person who tipped off AU to this unconstitutional performance is already feeling the wrath of the community. They’re mad because they see the First Amendment as negotiable if the defenders are outnumbered.

Leslie Lothrop knows people are angry at her. She denied suggestions she filed the complaint because she’s Jewish, saying “I’m just concerned the chorus adheres to what the statutes say.”

The chorus will still perform several times all over the countries they’re visiting. They just won’t be promoting Christianity while they’re there. It’s hardly a big deal.

But try telling that to online commenters. I promise you, though, that if the choir was (somehow) scheduled to perform inside an Islamic mosque, the conservatives whining about this canceled invitation would be up in arms over it.

(Screenshot via CBS Boston. Thanks to Todd for the link)

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.

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