PAINTSVILLE, Ky. – A Kentucky school district banned students from performing the most important part of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” after a single complaint, but parents happily filled in the blanks at the student play Thursday.
Johnson County Schools Superintendent Thomas Slayer announced last week that all religious references – including a monologue by Charlie Brown’s buddy Linus Van Pelt in student productions of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” – are banned from district schools after a complaint from a parent.
The decree meant students at W.R. Castle Elementary were forbidden from acting out the most important part of the play, when Linus recites the Bible verse Luke 2:8-14. Parents expressed outrage over the decision, both online and in protests at district offices, but school officials refused to reverse the ban, EAGnews reports.
Slayer alleged he is simply protecting the district from a potential lawsuit for violating students’ rights.
“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,” Slayer wrote, according to the Herald-Leader. “However, our district is fully committed to promote the spirit of giving and concern for our fellow citizens that help define the Christmas holiday.”
Many folks who believe Christmas is about much more than “the spirit of giving and concern for our fellow citizens” took up a suggestion by conservative media host Glenn Beck to ensure the district doesn’t scrub “A Charlie Brown Christmas” of the real reason for the season.
When students at Castle Elementary reached the controversial monologue in their play Thursday, when Charlie Brown questions whether anyone really knows the meaning of Christmas anymore, parents in attendance were ready and waiting to fill in the blanks, WKYT reports.
They read aloud Luke 2:8-14:
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and they glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring to you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Se shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Castle Elementary School parent Joey Collins appeared on Fox & Friends today to discuss the moving experience.
— FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) December 18, 2015
“The parents in the bleachers basically quoted the verse from the book of Luke, and it was just an amazing moment – it really was,” Collins said. “Everybody was pretty much in tears and clapping. It was just a great time.”
Glenn Beck’s The Blaze pointed out that Peanuts creator Charles Schultz faced resistance from CBS over religious aspects of A Charlie Brown Christmas when it first aired in 1965, but insisted on keeping Linus’ monologue.
“Humor which does not say anything is worthless humor,” Schultz told Decision magazine, according to The Blaze.