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Charlie Brown Christmas at Center of TX School Controversy

Charlie Brown Christmas at Center of TX School Controversy

“it might offend kids from other religions or those who do not have a religion.”

It’s difficult to think of anything less controversial than Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts crew but the classic Christmas special mentions Christianity explicitly which is a problem for some people.

A staffer at a middle school in Texas decided to use imagery from the special as decorations but was told the decorations had to come down.

Todd Starnes of FOX News reported:

School censors “Charlie Brown Christmas” poster

One of the most poignant scenes in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is when Linus stands on a stage and recites a passage from the Holy Bible describing the Christmas story.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior which is Christ the Lord. That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown,” Linus said…

Dedra Shannon, a staffer at Patterson Middle School in Killeen, Texas, was so inspired by the scene she decided to use images to decorate the door to the nurse’s office.

The decorations included a picture of Linus, the scrawny Christmas tree and that classic passage of dialogue about the true meaning of the holiday.

The decorations were installed on December 5. On December 7, Ms. Shannon was confronted by the school’s principal.

“She said, ‘please don’t hate me, but unfortunately you’re going to have to take your poster down,” Ms. Shannon said. “I’m disappointed. It is a slap in the face of Christianity.”

The principal went on to explain that the poster violated the U.S. Constitution.

“She said my poster is an issue of separation of church and state,” Ms. Shannon told me. “She said the poster had to come down because it might offend kids from other religions or those who do not have a religion.”

The story doesn’t end there. Texas has a “Merry Christmas” law which protects references to Christianity in Christmas decor and a state official became involved.

Starnes followed up with this report:

Texas attorney general drops a great big Yuletide truth bomb on school district

The incident proves that public school tolerance can only be achieved by being intolerant towards Christians.

But it turns out the principal may have inadvertently broken the 2013 “Merry Christmas” law. That law stipulates no school official in Texas can silence a Biblical reference to Christmas.

“I am proud to have voted for the Merry Christmas law in 2013, when I was a member of the legislature,” Paxton said. “We passed that law precisely because of this type of discrimination against people of faith.”

Paxton minced no words in describing what happened in that hallway at Patterson Middle School.

“This is an attack on religious liberty and a violation of the First Amendment and state law,” he said. “I am calling on the school board of the Killeen ISD to immediately reverse their unlawful decision.”

You want another reason why Trump won? There you go.

Merry Christmas!

Featured image via YouTube.

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Comments

A Charlie Brown Christmas has always been controversial.

When Sponsors were shown the program just before its original airing – they agreed to continue with the showing only because airtime was already purchased and TV Guide already had it listed. It was considered too religious for a Christmas Special.

    Ragspierre in reply to MattMusson. | December 12, 2016 at 9:08 am

    But that’s more a question of market sensitivity.

    Hell, the producers and writers of “Ben Hur” were conflicted about how to depict the entire “Christ” thingy back in the 50s, especially the crucifixion and aftermath.

    “You want another reason why Trump won? There you go.”

    If you mean by that that Americans are ignorant of the Constitution, that’s a statement I can support.

thalesofmiletus | December 12, 2016 at 8:59 am

“You’re a Nazi, Charlie Brown!”

They probably realized that Lucy grew up to be Hillary Clinton

Mark Finkelstein | December 12, 2016 at 9:57 am

It’s especially disappointing to see that this happened in Texas, and not Vermont, Oregon or some such place! Killeen is literally on the doorstep of Fort Hood, by the way. Argh!

Liberal mindset:
1) Bemoan how the holiday has become so commercialized.
2) Fight like starving weasels to prevent any possible mention of the reason behind Christmas.
3) Repeat.

It should have been kept out of school. 11 and 12 year old kids don’t need religious confusion. If a kid and his parents don’t practice a religion, the child shouldn’t have to address the issue in school. For those who do celebrate Christmas it seems innocuous, but it does interfere with education for some.

A wise man in my community wrote to the local paper and asked people to stop advocating for Christmas celebrations in schools. He said if parents wanted their children to learn about the holiday, they should brig their kids to his church or another one in town. And that is the truth. Schools are neither necessary nor appropriate for any Christmas celebration or education.

    Milhouse in reply to WTell. | December 12, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    It’s not a matter of confusion. Even if every single kid in that school is Christian, it is illegal for them to be given the impression that the school endorses and agrees with their faith. The USA is by explicit design not a Christian country, even if Americans are, by and large, a Christian people. The founders explicitly wrote that the USA must be a country where Hindoos, Mohammedans, and every kind of heretic can feel equally at home as any Christian. And the central core of founders were not trinitarian Christians, though they were very much religious.

    filiusdextris in reply to WTell. | December 12, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    To the extent our nation ceases to be a Christian nation, it will fall. There should never be coercion, but a display is not coercion under a rights-based population. Discomfort is not the same as being subject to coercion either.

      You are wrong. The free exercise clause forbids coercion, but the establishment clause forbids official endorsement. The USA is not allowed to be a Christian institution. And according to everyone but Clarence Thomas the same is true for the states and their subsidiaries.

        filiusdextris in reply to Milhouse. | December 12, 2016 at 12:57 pm

        In the Providence creche display case, O’Connor opined that we are a Christian nation. I think she stated the obvious.

          In the Providence creche display case, O’Connor opined that we are a Christian nation. I think she stated the obvious.

          No, she didn’t. She wrote that in a private letter to someone, and when it became public she was terribly embarrassed.

        MattMusson in reply to Milhouse. | December 12, 2016 at 1:16 pm

        The USA is expected to be a Theistic Nation – relying on Divine Providence and humbling ourselves before our Creator.

        That is the Constitution’s POV.

Right now I am sitting in the middle of Europe. There is government sponsored Christmas themes at every corner and filling the markets. We tried to tell people how we really like the experience as we cannot have it in the states. They can’t understand it. It reminds me of the 50s before we lost even more of our freedom.

    Jimbino in reply to david7134. | December 12, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    The logical outcome of forcing Christianity on the general public can easily be seen in Europe, where only mothers and the young children they command are to be seen in any church services, gott sei dank.

    Milhouse in reply to david7134. | December 12, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    In Europe there are government sponsored Christmas themes but no Christians. Even if a head of government happens to be religious they are embarrassed to express it in public, whereas in the officially secular USA public figures are very open about their personal beliefs, and the vast majority of the public is religious. I think that is a far better situation.

    MattMusson in reply to david7134. | December 12, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Our Founding Fathers did not want the Government Controlling Religion as in Europe. There were plenty of examples where this was a bad thing i.e. Henry the 8th’s divorce or Nazi control of the German Lutheran Church.

    The State Sponsored Churches of Europe are dying out simply because the State is head of the Church and not Jesus Christ.

No Christmas, no Christmas break.

    rinardman in reply to Bob00. | December 12, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Oh no, they like having the break; just give it a name that doesn’t offend them, like ‘winter holiday’ break.

      Xenomethean in reply to rinardman. | December 12, 2016 at 11:47 am

      Then it loses its purpose allowing them to scrape it off the calendar. A religious war between Christians and Godless church of the Left.

        Milhouse in reply to Xenomethean. | December 12, 2016 at 1:28 pm

        You show ignorance of history. The only reason Christmas became popular and an official holiday in the USA in the first place was that it was not religious. Until the mid-19th century most protestants in the USA were against it, and only accepted it because it was so secular.

The two largest bonding agents in American society are family and religion. Statist liberals understand that it is over conflicts between love of family and/or religion and government that Americans are most likely to disobey government dictat. Hence, two of the biggest leftist agenda are to undermine American religion, by far predominantly Christian, and the American family. The public school system is the best place to do it.

We should grant Christianists no quarter until they agree to remove their insulting references to god on all our coins and bills and in pledges, anthems and oaths.

    Milhouse in reply to Jimbino. | December 12, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    The only reason those have been acceptable is because they’re careful to be neutral and generic and not to endorse any specific vision of God. The God in which America trusts is whatever each person understands by that term.

The principal is right. Ms Shannon didn’t act in her own capacity, but in her capacity as a representative of the school, which is a government entity, and thus is forbidden from being seen to endorse any particular religion. Putting up a picture from an explicitly Christian scene can easily be seen, especially by impressionable middle schoolers, as an official endorsement of what is said in that scene. The school is effectively telling them that Jesus is God, and it has no right to do that. Any other scene from the movie would probably be all right (though it would probably also be a breach of copyright), but not that one.

It’s not a question of whom it offends. Even if it offends nobody, it gives the school’s imprimatur to something that it must not. The Texas law is irrelevant, because no state has the power to override the constitution.

“It is a slap in the face of Christianity”, only in the sense that it’s an explicit statement that this is not a Christian school, which is exactly right. There is no “discrimination against people of faith”; people of faith can say whatever they like, so long as it’s clear that they’re speaking for themselves, not for the school. This is easy to do at a university, but very difficult to do at an elementary or middle school, where students can’t be expected to make the distinction between a teacher’s private opinion and that of the school. To the extent that there’s any debate it’s about high school.

NOTE: The above assumes the overwhelming consensus of legal opinion, that the entire 1st amendment is incorporated in the 14th. However Clarence Thomas believes that the establishment clause — and only that clause — is not incorporated, because it doesn’t protect an individual right. I think he has the better argument, but so far nobody else seems to agree. Until Thomas can persuade four other justices, it remains a fringe opinion.

    filiusdextris in reply to Milhouse. | December 12, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    I agree that Thomas has been very persuasive in this regard for decades. The First Amendment protected citizens from federal-only overreach; it obviously presupposed religious states since several of the Founders lived in states that had official state-supported Christian sects and did not see any conflicts between the First Amendment and that practice.

      Pre-14th-amendment examples are irrelevant, since nobody claims the first amendment itself applies to the states. The only question is whether the 14th amendment incorporates the whole 1st amendment, or everything but the establishment clause.

The administrator and the Principle should be named and we should allow those offended by this bigotry work to have the two drummed out of their jobs…

The left doesn’t believe Christians are allowed to have jobs and should live on welfare… it is time the favor has been returned…

I’m offended by the middle school. Can we tear it down?

“The principal went on to explain that the poster violated the U.S. Constitution….She said my poster is an issue of separation of church and state”

Not this canard again. No, “separation of church and state” is NOT in the Constitution (nor in the Amendments), and if the principal had actually bothered to read the Constitution she could have avoided making such a dumbass statement. That “wall of separation between church and state” phrase came from a private letter from Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists.

https://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danpre.html

Hard to take someone seriously if they can’t even get basic facts straight ~

    Thank you, you saved me the trouble.

    The phrase “separation of church and state” is not in the constitution, and was first introduced into American jurisprudence by former Klansman Hugo Black. But it’s often taken as a stand-in for the establishment clause, and that seems to be the way this principal was using it. He used the wrong term, but his point was completely valid.

I just found out that this poster was even worse than this article makes it seem. The poster didn’t just show the Peanuts characters as depicted above, but actually included Linus’s explicit declaration that Jesus is the christ, and is the lord and a savior. The principal actually allowed Ms Shannon to keep the poster up if she would only omit these words; she refused. This proves that her only object is to evangelize the innocent children in her care, in the name of the school. That is so blatantly illegal and intolerable that I’m shocked anyone would support her, especially on this blog, which is decidedly not a Xian forum.

Is there anyone here who would not be outraged if a teacher at a public middle school, in her official capacity, declared to her students that Satan is Lord, or that Mohammed was a prophet of God?! What if, before the election, she said that Hillary Clinton deserved to be elected? Or that black people should be re-enslaved? Of course everyone would say that is not tolerable, and would support the principal in preventing her from saying these things as a representative of the school.

If she said these things in a clearly private capacity, making sure the students understood that this was merely her own private opinion and not that of the school, her speech would be protected by the first amendment; but when she is perceived as speaking with the school’s authority, that same first amendment forbids her speech.

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