The saga over Charlie Brown-themed Christmas signage that was taken down at a Texas public school has apparently taken yet another turn, with a judge granting a temporary restraining order mandating the return of the poster.
According to Fox News commentator Todd Starnes, Texas Judge Jack Jones issued the order against the Killeen Independent School District on Thursday, just a few days after debate over the sign went viral.
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As Faithwire previously reported, the poster in question was placed on the door of an office inside the Patterson Middle School; it featured an image of Peanuts character Linus van Pelt along with his famous proclamation about Jesus — the cornerstone of the beloved “A Charlie Brown Christmas” TV special.
That line reads, “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.”
Watch Linus deliver his speech in the original special below:
Drama first broke out after administrators asked the school employee who posted the signage — nurse aide Dedra Shannon — to take it down, saying the associated biblical reference violated the law.
But then Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stepped in to defend Shannon and demand that the display be allowed to remain. The school board, however, wasn’t having that, reportedly voting 6-1 to uphold the removal, but to also draft new guidelines surrounding holiday displays.
That back and forth quickly landed in Jones’ courtroom after Paxton sued the district, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The judge’s argument is that adding a singular line to the text of the display — one that reads, “Ms. Shannon’s Christmas message” — would help ease district fears that the school is endorsing Christianity by allowing the Bible reference. This seems to be in line with Paxton’s argumentation throughout the ordeal.
The text of the attorney general’s lawsuit proclaimed that Bible verses or religious messages that are student or teacher created don’t violate state law, according to the Chronicle.
“To the contrary, Texas law prohibits (the district) from expressing hostility toward religious messages, and it also specifically encourages school districts to take a more inclusive approach to religious and secular celebrations,” read the text of the complaint.
READ: ‘A Slap in the Face of Christianity’: Charlie Brown Bible Spat Pins Texas AG Against School Principal
The Killeen Independent School District released a statement on Thursday night, saying that “Christmas and winter celebrations and messages are important to our community” and that the board had been working on a way to implement new regulations. In the end, though, officials apparently agree with the judge’s order.
“We believe that directing the individual to include the additional text better complies with state and federal law. We support this decision,” the district said in the statement, according to KCEN-TV.
The school district previously said that the state’s “Merry Christmas Law,” which passed in 2013, wouldn’t permit the signage as it originally stood, as it purportedly appeared to tout one religious tradition over others.
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.”
Read more about the original debate over the Charlie Brown-themed decoration here.
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