Would it be OK now for a US Park employee to lead in the singing of "Rock of Ages?"

A while back, I was enjoying a tour of Carlsbad Caverns. One of the speleothems is called the “Rock of Ages.” A sign near the “Rock of Ages” indicated that at one time, when the tour was guided by a park ranger, when the tour group arrived at the Rock of Ages, the ranger would cut off the lights and lead the group in singing the hymnal “Rock of Ages.” Personally, I would have felt coloss

. . .colossally embarrassed, that is, especially after hitting “Submit Reply” too quickly.

Anyway, would that be considered illegal now, as a violation of Church and State?

I sat there looking at the GQ forum for about thirty seconds thinking “Why would they WANT to be doing a group sing of Def Leppard?”

I think you’d look like one colossal crybaby for objecting to it. You could, after all, choose not to sing or just walk away. Unlike a teacher, the park ranger has no authority to make you participate or compel your prescence.

Why would you feel embarassed, anyway? It’s not an unpleasant song. And I’m as hard-core atheist as they get.

It could get a bit tiresome, though, if everyone in the tour group suddenly felt moved to sing any songs that came to mind concerning stones, rocks, and so on. Quite a din.

(Incidentally, I thought Toplady must have been a bit of a fool to hide in that rock in Burrington Combe when there are perfectly good caves nearby, but, as with all cute tales of that sort, it is now pretty well debunked, I gather.)

I’d never object. I’m just not much for public sing-alongs. I’d feel just as embarrassed if we were asked to join in the “Theme from ‘Ice Castles,’” which I dearly love.

Generally speaking, if the park ranger did it for historical reasons there should be no problem. After all, he or she is recreating a historic event, regardless of the origin of the event.

OTOH, if the park ranger did it for personal religious reasons, and stated it as such, it may very well be a first amendment issue. That’s because the ranger at that time is an agent of the government and not a private person. The government is to remain neutral in religious matters.

Lyrics here.

Those are quite unmistakably Christian references. They would be hard to defend under today’s law, IMO.