A school district in Kentucky has ordered all administrators under its jurisdiction to remove religious references from Christmas productions, leading one facility to censor its planned elementary presentation of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” to blot out the Gospel of Luke read by little Linus.
“It disappoints me that we have to do this,” said Superintendent Tom Salyer, about the order to teachers at W.R. Castle Elementary School to take out the Gospel of Luke recitation given by Linus in the decades-old cartoon “Charlie Brown” production, Fox News reported.
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Salyer said he was a church-going man who was simply following advice from the Johnson County School District attorneys.
At another school, the planned production of “Silent Night” was omitted and in its place, put the “Whip/Nae Nae” song, Fox News reported.
“How do you go from ‘Silent Night’ to the ‘Whip/Nae Nae,'” one grandmother said to Fox News. “We’re not at all happy about it.”
In a message posted on the school district’s website, Salyer said: “In accordance with federal laws, our programs will follow appropriate regulations. The U.S. Supreme Court and the 6th Circuit are very clear that public school staff may not endorse any religion when acting in their official capacities and during school activities. However, our district is fully committed to promote the spirit of giving and concern for our fellow citizens that help define the Christmas holiday. With core values such as service, integrity, leadership, and commitment, our staff and students will continue to proudly represent our district as recently demonstrated by our many student successes.”
The announcement was met with resistance by some in the local church community.
Fox News reported Baptist preacher Tom Winston launched a picket line operation outside the local high school to try and convince administrators to overturn their ban on Baby Jesus.
“If you take Christ out of the Christmas play, it’s only a play,” he said, to Fox News. “That’s the bottom line.”
Alliance Defending Freedom, a nonprofit that works to fight attacks on Christianity and religious freedom, wrote a letter on behalf of a parent who’s decrying the censorship, asking the district to reconsider.
ADF senior legal counsel Jeremy Tedesco wrote, Fox News reported: “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. Moreover, students may learn about the religious origins of Christmas as part of school activities without offending the Constitution.”
And Winston called outright for Christians to fight back.
“We should not be backing down,” he said, to Fox News.