Do you enjoy Christmas caroling through your community? If you live in Philadelphia you better think twice before you start an impromptu caroling session for your neighbors. Tuesday morning the Philadelphia City Council passed a new ordinance requiring Christmas carolers to register with the city before they attempt to spread Christmas cheer. The registration process includes going to City Hall and auditioning in front of a panel of judges. The judges, who also happen to be secretaries, must deem the carolers “good enough” before a caroling license will be issued.
The city is divided over this new requirement with some residents decrying first amendment rights to others heaving a sigh of relief.
Meredith Jackson is in favor of the restrictions. She said, “Last year the carolers started up outside my door and scared me to death. It sounded like a medley of chain smoking chainsaws roaring through a piano factory.”
James Nelson disagrees with the new restrictions saying it amounts to censorship. “If I want sing in public I shouldn’t have to get some bureaucrats permission to do so. This is censorship of a religious holiday.”
Proponents of the bill actually agree with Nelson saying that the religious carols shouldn’t make the people passing by “hold their ears shut with their hands while muttering obscenities under their breath. It’s not respectful for people to sing like neutered Chihuahua’s on Jesus’ birthday.”
City Hall has already seen crowds of people attempting to get the caroling license. Sheri McKenzie is one of the judges. She says, “I wasn’t in favor of this law until I heard all these people who otherwise would be out their ‘singing,'” She said while gesturing large quotation marks in the air with her fingers. “It might sound like an oxymoron, but this law has effectively saved the city’s Christmas spirit.”
Bob Mackawitz is a local shop proprietor in Big City Mall. He says a big difference can be noticed already. “You can hold a conversation in the mall now, ” He says, “before all you could hear was the gravelly voices of ill prepared carolers echoing off your eardrums. ‘Silent Night’ sounds much better when I play it over my two dollar stereo.” Indeed, with all the bad carolers gone sales have been up at malls across the city.
The city is divided over the new restrictions but the lawmakers say it’s not going to be reversed anytime soon. Donald Murphy, a city council person, says, “The homeless people in the park are no longer coming to City Hall and complaining about adverse living conditions.” He smiles. “Everyone is happier when they can recognize the songs the Christmas carolers are singing.”