Parents in the US were left incredulous this week after a school removed references to Christ and the Gospel from its Christmas play.
After receiving just one complaint, teachers at W.R. Castle Elementary School in Kentucky were told to remove a scene from ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’, in which the character Linus recites from the Gospel of Luke.
The Superintendent of the school said he was following advice from lawyers. WSAZ News reported on the “controversy”.
Christ the Lord
The scene depicts Linus reciting Luke 2: 8-14, where an angel of the Lord appears to shepherds and tells them of the “good news of great joy that will be for all the people”.
Linus recites verse 11: “Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”
After walking off stage, he tells Charlie Brown: “That’s what Christmas is all about”.
Jesus is the reason
Dozens of parents protested outside the Board of Education building on Monday, holding up signs which read: “Jesus is the reason” and “Standing for Christ”.
The removal of religious content was celebrated by Amber Duke of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky.
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.Luke 2: 14 (NIV)
Duke claimed that: “School involvement in the planning and promotion of a religious play after receiving a complaint from a concerned student or parent would show disregard for every student’s right to remain free from government imposed religious viewpoints”.
Solid legal basis
However, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) said the school has a “solid legal basis” for keeping references to Christ in the play.
Spokesman Matt Sharp said: “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”.
ADF expressed their hope that the school will uphold the true meaning of Christmas and have offered legal support if anybody objects.