Commotion over Charlie Brown Christmas

Friday, November 30, 2012
Bob Kellogg (

An Arkansas-based atheist group is complaining that an elementary school plans to take students to see a stage production of A Charlie Brown Christmas at a local church. But ADF asserts that the field trip is constitutional.

Sharp, Matt (ADF)According to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorney Matt Sharp, Terry Elementary School officials think seeing the production of this Christmas classic would not only be entertaining, but that it would be a great learning experience as well.

Fox News reports that teachers sent home a letter home with the students to tell parents about the play -- which will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 14 at Agape Church -- so that the parents who "took exception and wished to have their children remain at school could do so."

The Arkansas Society of Freethinkers was soon contacted by a parent, And while the group claims the trip is a violation of the students' constitutional rights, Sharp says there is nothing unconstitutional about it.

"The courts, including the Eighth Circuit, where the school district is located, have dealt with this exact issue, and they've said that … there's nothing unconstitutional about schools including religious songs, or messages, or things like that as part of a secular program of education," the ADF attorney notes.

So far, Terry Elementary is not caving to the demands of the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers, and the mother who contacted the organization is reportedly letting her daughter go to the performance "for fear the girl could be singled out."

"This is one of the great stories of a school doing the right thing, standing firm [on] what the law allows and what it's allowed to do, and not caving in to demands of groups like this -- the so-called Freethinkers that really want the whole world to adopt their limited point of view on things," Sharp comments.

The Little Rock School District has declared that it "does not promote or encourage students to support any religious affiliation." ADF has offered to help the school with legal counsel if it should come to that.

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