Saturday, October 10, 2015

Atheists Help Liberal Schools Ban Christmas Choirs

By threatening a lawsuit, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) gave the Portland, Oregon school district the excuse it needed to forbid students from singing for the 28th Christmas at the local botanical garden Catholic shrine.

In contrast, the Concord Community Schools and the citizens of Elkhart, Indiana are standing up against a lawsuit just filed in federal court by the FFRF and the ACLU demanding censorship of the Nativity scene in the Christmas Spectacular performed at Concord High School for over 30 years.
“That is not accurate statement of the law. . . . [Besides,] As always, if a student or parent finds objectionable any portion of the Spectacular, or any school assignment for that matter, that student is free to opt out of the performance or assignment.”
-- John Trout, Superintendent, Concord Community Schools
For background, read about myriad attacks on Christmas in schools around the nation, but Indiana Protects Christmas from Atheists' Lawsuits.

But click headlines below to read about Americans' response:

Atheists' Complaints Motivate Christmas Fervor Across America

Atheists Threaten School so Citizens Pray Publicly

New Mexico Mayor Tells Atheists Nativity Scene Stays in Place

Also read Texas School Supt. Tells the FFRF Atheists to Go Fly a Kite

-- From "PPS choirs will no longer sing at The Grotto" by Cole Miller, KOIN-TV6 (Portland, OR) 10/8/15

Complaints from an out of state group has led Portland Public Schools to ban its choirs from singing at The Grotto in Northeast Portland.

The Grotto is a Catholic sanctuary and the district’s choirs perform there during The Christmas Festival of Lights. But not anymore.

“This legal complaint was brought against the venue that public school students were participating in. They felt it broke the religious boundary,” said Christine Miles, spokesperson for the district. She told KOIN 6 News the district will not challenge the complaint.

“Well, you know, we run into how do we want to best our very limited budget. Do we want to go to court on a case that we believe we could be in violation of? That would not be a good, fiscally responsible thing to do.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Portland Public Schools choirs forbidden to perform at The Grotto's Festival of Lights" by Laura Frazier, The Oregonian 10/9/15

Choirs from Lane Middle School and Grant, Cleveland, Wilson and Lincoln high schools were set to perform this year, according to district spokeswoman Christine Miles. . . .

Choir directors are disappointed that their students will miss out on performing in The Grotto's chapel, which is known for its high quality acoustics, Miles said. She said the district had never gotten a complaint about the festival before.

An online petition asking the district to allow choirs to sing at The Grotto had more than 1,060 signatures as of Friday morning. The petition describes the concert as a performance opportunity and annual tradition.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Christmas wars in October: School district sued over holiday show’s live Nativity" by Lindsey Bever, Washington Post 10/8/15

Each December, students at a northern Indiana high school step onstage for their winter concert. The band plays, and minutes before the curtain falls, the choir sings “The First Noel” and “Oh Holy Night” and a narrator reads a passage from the Bible.

A Concord High student and his father claim it violates the Constitution, which prohibits the government from “establishing” a religion. The two, represented by the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union, filed papers Wednesday in U.S. District Court to force the public school district to try to put a stop to the Nativity tradition.

Concord High’s Christmas Spectacular is planned by the school’s performing arts department each year and put on by students enrolled in performing arts electives, according to court documents. Throughout the production, students play various holiday favorites such as “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “Christmas Time is Here” and “Walking in a Winter Wonderland.”

The pageant does not take on a religious tone until the end, when students portray Mary and Joseph, the Three Wise Men and the shepherds and angels during the 20-minute Nativity scene, according to court filing.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Indiana school district sued over Nativity scene in Christmas Spectacular" by Lindsay Deutsch, USA TODAY Network 10/7/15

They claim the Nativity scene as part of the Christmas production "is coercive, represents an endorsement of religion… has no secular purpose and has the principal purpose and eggiest of advancing religion," and are asking for the scene to be omitted from the performance at the school moving forward.

Jack Doe, how the unnamed high schooler is being referred to in the case, is an active member in Concord's music program, and will perform in the 2015 Christmas Spectacular, according to the suit. His participation includes performing "one or more of the religious hymns that are part of the live Nativity Scene and the telling of the story of the birth of Jesus," despite his objection to its telling.

Meanwhile, more than 6,400 people have joined a Facebook group titled "Save Concord's Christmas Spec's Nativity Scene," organizing and voicing their support of the high school's inclusion of the Nativity scene.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Concord Community Schools sued in federal court over live Nativity scene in high school's Christmas Spectacular play" by Michelle Sokol, The Elkhart Truth 10/7/15

The lawsuit is not a complete surprise to Concord Community Schools, as the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter regarding the issue to Superintendent John Trout in August. The letter asked the high school to drop the Nativity scene and keep the performance entirely secular. Sam Grover, an attorney with the foundation, said at the time that if the school continued with its Nativity scene, it would expose itself to the risk of legal action.

But at the Sept. 8 meeting of the Concord School Board, Trout made it clear the district would not be backing down and that the Nativity scene will remain part of the holiday performance. The community has largely stood behind Trout in defense of the Nativity scene. The performance in question has been an important part of the Concord holiday experience for more than 30 years, Trout said.

The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. Judge Jon DeGuilio has been assigned to the case.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read about the atheists' outrage against any Christian presence in public schools across America, including the war on Christmas, and read how the schools support atheists, even though polls show that most Americans support prayer in school.

Why is there NO outcry from atheists about overt indoctrination of Islam in public schools?