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Judge orders 'Charlie Brown Christmas' display restored
Old 12-15-2016, 09:51 PM
 
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Quote:
AUSTIN -- In a victory for free speech rights, a judge on Thursday ordered a "Charlie Brown Christmas' display at a Killeen school restored after it was ordered taken down over a biblical message that educators said could be offensive.

After an hour-long hearing, state District Judge Jack Jones ruled that the door display featuring the Peanut character Linus, and his explanation of why Christmas matters, should be put back up with an added line: "Ms. Shannon's holiday message."...
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See also:

Disputed local school Christmas decoration should go back up

Merry Christmas Bill [background]
text of bill


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Well
Old 12-15-2016, 11:04 PM
 
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We are promised freedom of religion in our laws, but in practice only Christians and once in a while Jews get to display their religious icons on government property and in schools. So, I guess it really means free speech for 2 out of 3 Abrahamic religions are the only religions out of thousands that are allowed to show their messages.

I am just waiting for a Pagan teacher, a Muslim teacher, Scientologist or a teacher who belongs to the Satanic Temple to use this "victory of free speech" and post their holiday message on a bulletin board in a public school! I am sure the people who fought for this will rejoice to see them use their free speech too.

Yes, I know there are very limited isolated places where other religions and nonbelievers have been allowed to place their signs. These places are often taken down because they offend others and if not they are usually vandalized within a few days.

Last edited by funkster; 12-16-2016 at 07:20 AM..
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I guess
Old 12-17-2016, 09:20 AM
 
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I am a believer in the separation of church and state. Public schools are funded by state and federal governments. As such, I believe that there should be no preference given to any religion. I know our first graders study celebrations and look at commonalities and differences across cultures. I think that learning about different religions is wonderful and will hopefully encourage tolerance and acceptance. I am saddened that the display in question was reinstated for the reasons given in the article. I agree with Funkster that should an atheist, a Muslim or a Wiccan put up a similar display, there would not be a similar outcome.
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Swings both ways
Old 12-17-2016, 09:46 AM
 
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I have one student in my class who doesn't celebrate Christmas, so I have the only class in first grade that doesn't have Christmas decorations up. I'm respectful of his rights, but quite honestly, I don't understand why my whole class has to be deprived of having decorations and fun Christmas activities because 1 student doesn't observe Christmas. Just because non-Christians don't put up bulletin boards or anti-Christian decorations does not mean they're not getting their "freedom of speech". We try to accommodate for them, but there needs to be some compromise. One group should not have to give up everything while the other group gets their way.
Before you flame me, please remember that I said I AM making accommodations for HIM, and I am doing it with a smile. The other kids, however, are not being that kind. They're six. They don't understand why they aren't getting to do Christmas activities. We've done snowmen and penguins, and other winter things, but no Santas or reindeer, which are, by the way not a Christian theme of Christmas anyway.
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I understand what you are saying...
Old 12-17-2016, 05:51 PM
 
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I don't see anything at all wrong with the secular decorations that are put up on government grounds. The article specifically states that it wasn't just Charlie Brown, it was the message about Jesus Christ that crossed the line.

I know this is something that has always been done and the public always tolerated it, but there is a good reason why our Founding Fathers wanted a separation of church and state.

Other religions are asking that they are given their freedom which means equal treatment, not just "be tolerant" of us. There is a difference.
Many slave owners were tolerant and not abusive to their house slave, the house slaves were never treated as equals.

I have come to understand equality by putting my group/belief in the place of the other. Then it is easy to see if the action is equal or not.
For instance, my son is the only Christian child in a class of Scientologist in first grade in public school. His teacher will put up bulletin boards about the leader of Scientology and give the class all kinds of activities involving Scientology. Even referencing the "reason for Scientology" I can see how this is not freedom for my Christian child. We have individual rights under the law, not the majority rules.

BTW-where I live Christmas decorations, music, promotions, bill boards, movies start the day after Halloween. It is hard to believe that kids need to see even more Christmas things. We also acknowledge that some Christian sects do not want their children exposed to Santa or other Charlie Brown type things.


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Old 12-17-2016, 07:18 PM
 
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If we do Santas and reindeer, we also need to do activities that reflect Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, Holi (Hindu holiday, very fun!), Eid, Ramadan, etc. I actually think we SHOULD be doing all of those things, even if there aren't kids from those religions in our classes. It isn't about one student preventing others from naming symbols at school. Those kids can still include Santas and reindeer in their writers' workshop stories, draw them in art class, and talk about them in class discussions. It's just that if the teacher *presents* these symbols in their teaching, or the town/city presents them through a display on public property, then they need to present equally the symbols of other major religions. Otherwise, there is a pretty clear bias. Plus, things go from 'weird' to 'normal' for kids by acknowledging them and talking about them. When our students do finally meet someone who is Hindu or Muslim or Jewish or Buddhist or whatever, we want them to think, 'Oh, I know a little about that' and not 'What a weirdo.'

I love teaching social studies in November and December. We do Holi, Hanukkah, New Year's Eve/Day, and Christmas around the world (surfing Santa in the southern hemisphere, leaving shoes outside the door in Nordic countries, different traditions for elves, Las Posadas in Mexico, etc.). We do Chinese New Year and Eid when they come around, too. The kids LOVE the unit. Nobody has ever complained, even the Jehovah's Witness parents, because we're learning ABOUT other cultures rather than having embedded religious symbols within the classroom.

If it's fair to put up Christmas decorations (and no reindeer aren't Christian but they certainly aren't Muslim or Jewish so they definitely imply Christianity) then we better not have a problem with a Menorah or a crescent and star or the Arabic script of the word Allah or a Ganesh or a lotus showing up on our town commons or banners hanging from street lights. Just because something has 'always been done' doesn't mean it's right.
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Old 12-19-2016, 06:44 PM
 
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I have never had any Muslim,Jehovah Witnesses , or any other faith complain about a non fiction study of reindeer. Santa is not emphasized but certainly mentioned in read alouds. Any biblical or other religious message is not taught. No non Christian families have ever complained about the Christmas tree ,Reindeer or Santa art. In fact,the families enjoy hearing about American traditions and I allow the families to share their traditions too.
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