Thursday, December 17, 2015

Kentucky School Censors Christmas from Charlie Brown

A religious liberty attorney representing a Kentucky Christian family has complained to the Johnson County School District about its decision to delete all Biblical references from the play "A Charlie Brown Christmas" at W.R. Castle Elementary School in Wittensville.  The district's attorney and state officials recommended the censorship after a lone complaint.
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night, and lo the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid, and the angel said unto them, Fear not, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a savior, tis Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men.’ . . . That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”.
-- Character Linus Van Pelt, from the play

For background, click headlines below to read previous articles:

Christmas Tree Flyer Censored by New Hampshire School Supt.

Atheists Help Liberal Schools in Oregon Ban Christmas Choirs

Christmas Parties Banned at Univ. of Tennessee

-- From "School cuts Bible references from Christmas play" By The Associated Press 12/16/15

Principal Jeff Cochran said all Biblical references were removed from the play after receiving a message Friday from Superintendent Thomas Salyer.

Salyer told the newspaper Tuesday that Christmas programs across the district were being reviewed for possible modifications of religious references after receiving a complaint.

Salyer says he made his decision based upon the advice of his attorney and state officials.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Bible passages cut from ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ at Eastern Kentucky school" by Valarie Honeycutt Spears, Lexington Herald-Leader 12/15/15

Salyer said that district officials had received a complaint about religious references in Christmas programs at schools. But he said for “confidentiality reasons” he would not confirm media reports that the complaint originated at Castle Elementary.

CNN reported last month that Linus’ recitation of the Bible passages was also at issue in the development of the 1965 animated television special “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Peanuts creator Charles Schulz wanted to include the speech, CNN reported, but the producers were hesitant. After much back and forth, the passage was left in, the network said.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Schools asked to reinstate Bible references in ‘Charlie Brown Christmas’" by Valarie Honeycutt Spears, Lexington Herald-Leader 12/17/15

Matt Sharp, an attorney with the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom, said it was contacted by and is now representing Joey Collins, whose daughter is a cast member in the play that is scheduled for Thursday at W.R. Castle Elementary School.

“There is no violation of the so-called ‘separation of church and state’ by allowing children to learn about theater and the origins of Christmas through participating in a stage version of this beloved program that contains the same religious elements as the television version,” the letter Sharp sent to the district on Tuesday said. “. . . Given that courts have consistently held that schools may organize and sponsor Christmas programs and performances that include religious songs and study the historical origins of Christmas, there is no basis for the district’s decision to censor the religious aspects of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas.’”

Meanwhile, Sharp said that his recommendations to school district officials are “constitutional.”

“We would even be willing to help the school district if the school district was sued” for putting the religious content back in the play, he said.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Legal group asks Johnson Co. Schools to allow religious references in Christmas plays" by Kaitlynn LeBeau and Brad Myers, WSAZ-TV3 (Huntington, WV) 12/16/15

"The Supreme Court has consistently held that schools can teach about religion, and can use the Bible as a resource in curricular programs," ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp said. "So, when the issue has come up with Christmas programs, {The U.S. Supreme Court has} held that you can sing 'Silent Night' as part of a Christmas program, or include biblical references."

"They're losing all of these great works of classic western culture, of the musical impact and of being able to understand how the bible has influenced Shakespeare and 'Moby Dick' and all of these other things," Sharp said.

“Schools should not have to think twice about whether they can allow students to perform a classic Christmas production simply because it contains biblical references,” said Sharp in a press release. “‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ has become an iconic Christmas story and tradition. Are school officials going to start demanding that other classic productions, such as Shakespearean plays, be censored just because they contain religious references?”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Christians across America are standing up!  Click headlines below to read previous articles:

Mississippi Town Defies Atheists' Anti-Christmas Demands

Georgia Sheriff's Christmas Sign Peeves Atheists

New Mexico Mayor Tells Atheists Nativity Scene Stays in Place

Texas School Supt. Tells Atheists to Go Fly a Kite