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School removes Christmas from play
Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 12/10/2004 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled
An elementary school in Oklahoma pulled all references to Christmas from its holiday play at the last minute, but left in references to Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.
The superintendent overseeing Lakehoma Elementary School in Mustang, Okla., banned a nativity scene and the song “Silent Night” from the presentation, which was scheduled for last night, citing fears that non-Christians might be offended and file suit against the school. However, a parent reported that students sang the song at the matinee performance of the program yesterday despite the school’s decision.
Superintendent Karl Springer nixed the Christian reference based on a recommendation from the school district’s attorney, the Associated Press reported.
“Including Christmas in the play does not violate any law,” Brent Olsson, an attorney in Oklahoma City allied with Alliance Defense Fund, said in the statement. “It is a myth that the so-called ‘separation of church and state’ requires officials to suppress the celebration of Christmas in the public schools.”
Continued Olsson: “Ninety-six percent of Americans celebrate Christmas. If the superintendent is truly concerned about offending someone, then he just made a very wrong decision.”
Springer told Eyewitness News of Oklahoma City he was concerned about violating the law since the play highlights the Christian tradition of Christmas above other religious and cultural traditions.
“I just could not break the law,” Springer said. “We may have sins of omission occasionally, but we won’t have sins of commission. If I know about something that I believe to be against the law, (then) we will take action on it.”
Parent Shelley Lewallen was outraged by the superintendent’s action.
“My daughter plays the piano, and she sings ‘Silent Night’ to me. … I love that Christmas song,” Lewallen told the TV station. “What is that offending? Who is that making so mad that you had to take it out of a fifth-grade program?”
AP reported a group of parents were planning a silent protest by staging a nativity scene on private property across from Mustang High School auditorium, where the play was to take place.
As WorldNetDaily reported, a high school principal in the Seattle area canceled a dramatic performance of Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol,” partly because he feared it would raise questions about the place of religion in public schools.
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