Texas School Bans Charlie Brown Christmas Poster
A Texas school district is doubling down on claims that a teacher forced her religious beliefs on students by hanging a poster of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" over her office door. Even after the state's attorney general, Ken Paxton, said the ban on the poster violated state law, the school district insisted on keeping it.
Dedra Shannon, a staffer at Patterson Middle School in Killeen, was ordered to remove a door-length poster featuring the iconic scene of Linus in front of a kid-sized tree uttering the true meaning of Christmas: "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior which is Christ the Lord. That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."
Shannon put up the poster on December 5, but the principal confronted her two days later. "I'm disappointed. It is a slap in the face of Christianity," Shannon told Fox News' Todd Starnes.
The principal argued that the poster was "an issue of separation of church and state" and that it "had to come down because it might offend kids from other religions or those who do not have a religion." The principal said Shannon could keep the picture of Linus up but had to remove the offending dialogue.
"I just took the entire thing down," Shannon recalled. "I wasn't going to leave Linus and the Christmas tree without having the dialogue. That's the whole point of why it was put up."
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton would not let this stand, however. He accused the Killeen Independent School District of violating the state's Merry Christmas Law. That law, passed in 2013, ensures that no school official in Texas can silence a biblical reference to Christmas.
"We passed that law precisely because of this type of discrimination against people of faith," Paxton told Starnes. "This is an attack on religious liberty and a violation of the First Amendment and state law."
The school district was unmoved by his arguments, however. "Our employees are free to celebrate the Christmas and Holiday season in the manner of their choosing. However, employees are not permitted to impose their personal beliefs on students," the district wrote in a statement.
Exactly how a poster showing Linus with a well-known Christmas quote constitutes "imposing" personal beliefs on students the district did not explain. It seems to imply that the mere possibility of a non-Christian student seeing the poster is enough to cause psychological harm.
Next Page: Why this kind of censorship should be offensive ... to non-Christians.