It’s no secret that “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is an overtly faith-driven holiday special intent on delivering the real, biblical meaning of Christmas — a fact Faithwire highlighted over the weekend.
And it’s the Christmas program’s faith-based sentiment that has sometimes led to problems when it comes to public school children and the First Amendment. Some schools have, in fact, cut out the biblical portion altogether, sparking controversy.
The latest flap, however, involves a Texas school principal who reportedly asked a staff member to remove a six-foot-tall decoration featuring a reference to the section of Luke that is famously recited by Linus in “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
If you need a refresher regarding what young Linus had to say, watch the clip below:
Dedra Shannon said her display, which was put up on Dec. 5, at Patterson Middle School in Killeen, Texas, included Linus, the well-known Charlie Brown Christmas tree and the Bible reference about Christmas, Fox News’ Todd Starnes reported.
It didn’t take long for school officials to take notice.
“(The principal) said, ‘Please don’t hate me, but unfortunately you’re going to have to take your poster down,'” Shannon said of her encounter with the administrator, which unfolded two days after the signage was posted on the door to the nurse’s office. “I’m disappointed. It is a slap in the face of Christianity.”
While the principal asked that at least the biblical portion of the door decoration be removed, Ken Paxton, the state’s attorney general, stepped in to call the school’s decision “unlawful,” KWTX-TV reported.
The school district, though, has doubled down on its stance, saying the “Merry Christmas Law” that was passed at the state level in Texas back in 2013 wouldn’t permit the signage, considering that it appeared to tout one religious tradition.
That law reads, in part, “A display relating to a traditional winter celebration may not include a message that encourages adherence to a particular religious belief.” It is that language that has the school saying it acted in accordance with the law.
“Our employees are free to celebrate the Christmas and holiday season in the manner of their choosing,” the Killeen Independent School District said in a statement. “However, employees are not permitted to impose their personal beliefs on students.”
The text continued, “The district added: “The Killeen Independent School District celebrates and embraces the diverse cultures and values of our students and employees. We remain proud of our diversity and the community which we serve.”
But Paxton maintains that the law was passed to stop instances such as this one.
“No school official in Texas can silence a Biblical reference to Christmas. 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.”
Shannon was reportedly told she could keep the display up if she removed the Bible verse, though she decided to take it all down, as she believes the very purpose of the display was Linus’ comments about the true meaning of Christmas.
It’s unclear what will happen next.
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