The Consumerist — a publication advocating for consumers — has their Christmas knickers in a twist again that a store is selling Christmas lights in September. The big offender? Fred Meyer. In Alaska.
Alaska, last we looked, is a place that can get winter weather in September. Maybe, just maybe, someone there might want to hang their lights while the weather is still good.
But no. The Consumerist has spies everywhere and they have decided that there is a difference between Christmas shopping season and Christmas decorating season. They seem genuinely bent out of shape that Christmas decorations are — gasp! — for sale long before Halloween.
Where’s the crime, fellas?
It’s a store. They sell stuff. That’s what they do.
Everyone — shoppers and long distant critics alike — has their freedom of choice. They don’t have to buy the stuff.
Retailers are crazy folks. They watch trends. Typically they don’t put stuff on sale that doesn’t sell. After all, selling stuff is what they do.
We don’t think they put that Christmas stuff out to set a mood.
Christmas Creep isn’t what happens when stores put Christmas things on sale.
Christmas Creep is what happens when idiot publications and media outlets start complaining about it.
The Superintendent of Concord Community Schools in Elkhart, Indiana, John Trout, gave a rousing statement of support after a large public showing against the efforts of the FFRF to quell performance of a live nativity at an annual Christmas concert put on by a local high school. The event has a 30-year tradition.
“At the outset, let me state unequivocally that Concord Community Schools disagrees with the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s assertion and demand that any school celebration occurring during the Christmas holiday season must be purely secular. That is not an accurate statement of the law. Decades ago, beloved music department chair, Joe Beickman began the Spectacular, modeling it on Radio City Music Hall’s annual performance, after the high school band attended a performance following the band’s participation in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. As always, if a stuent or parent finds objectionable any portion of the Spectacular, or any school assignment for that matter, that student is free to opt out of the performance or assignment. Many students have chosen to do so in the past. The Nativity Scene participation is purely voluntary and is rehearsed only after school hours. It provides historical context to the entire holiday season and is a small portion of a two hour long performance. The Spectacular also traditionally includes secular, holiday musical favorites, such as Jingle Bells, Let It Snow and Parade of the Wooden Soldiers. For more than 30 years, the Spectacular has been an important part of the Concord High School holiday experience. It will continue to be so.
Concord Schools possesses well-established processes that allow anyone who is concerned about a course, textbook or educator to address that concern with school leadership. Concord Schools will not engage in a public media fight when outside organizations choose to contact media outlets, presumably for ulterior motives, instead of following those established procedures. To become involved in such a frenzy would not benefit our students in any fashion.”
Local sources indicate that hundred of people and several news stations were at the event held tonight.
The forces are gathering in Elkhart, Indiana to fight to keep a Christmas tradition alive. As we reported last week, the Freedom from Religion Foundation is pulling their annual stunt of claiming a local unnamed resident has complained about religious elements in an annual Christmas concert event sponsored by a local high school — in this case, Concord High School in Elkhart, Indiana. The FFRF says to remove that part of the program or they will sue the school district.
Since then more than 6000 individuals have joined a Facebook group in support of keeping the concert as it has been and fundraisers have begun selling green t-shirts that say “The Nativity is a biblical story. A story filled with lessons that are relevant to all of us. At the core of the Nativity are illustrations of Love, Compassion, Peace, and Respect. These values are universal in nature… they are relevant to everyone.”
The FFRF has told the school district the Nativity portion of the performance is “illegal” and “inappropriate.” They claim that allowing religious music and messaging at the concert violates the separation between Church and State and that such is unconstitutional.
Concord High supporters need to answer the FFRF with a little schooling of their own:
1. They can perform whatever they want and that is protected by the First Amendment.
2. The Constitution says NOTHING about the separation of Church and State. The constitution prohibits CONGRESS from establishing a state religion. A school singing at Christmas hardly constitutes establishing a religion. It’s a concert, not a baptism.
3. Anyone who feels the content of the Christmas program is inappropriate is advised to simply not attend.
This, of course, is not about separating Church and State. This is a wholesale attack on Christianity — and education. And the FFRF does it every year.
A Virginia school board has voted to use the words “Merry Christmas” on school marquees later this year. Risking lawsuits and bad publicity the Powhatan County School Board in Virginia made the decision after residents approached them three times in the past year to say Merry Christmas.
Christopher Smith of Powhatan came before the board at meetings in October and December 2014 and then again in May 2015 to make the request. He spoke alone at first, but in the subsequent meetings, he brought an increasing number of supporters.
Board members had agreed in earlier meetings that for the sake of inclusiveness, having the message on school marquees presented too many potential pitfalls and was an opportunity for some group to be left off. But the superintendent of the school board took a straw poll after checking with attorneys and recent case law on the use of “Merry Christmas”.
Even still — just to be sure no one is left out and the chances of a lawsuit is minimized — the school district declared the marquees will say “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays”.
The world breathlessly awaits the public outcry over this bold decision.
The state of Virginia has not passed a “Merry Christmas” bill protecting schools from litigation on this matter so the stakes are quite high.
Talk about Christmas creep: the calendar just turned to September but already the Freedom From Religion Foundation is looking to impose it’s beliefs on everyone by suing a school for performing traditional Christmas carols. According to local media in Elkhart, Indiana the FFRF has claimed someone from the local community complained to them (it is NEVER to a local school board) about the traditional Christmas concert put on by Concord High School. They are threatening to sue on behalf of this individual.
As usual, the complainer is never identified. He or she may not even exist.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter last week to Superintendent John Trout calling the celebration “illegal” and “inappropriate,” and called on the district to ensure religious themes are not included in the 2015 holiday concert. And the organization said it will consider legal action against the district if the scene is repeated this holiday season.
The FFRF does this every year beginning around this time and continuing through the Christmas season. Some school districts immediately change concert plans while others make more of a fuss. It is too early to tell which way school officials at Concord High will respond.
The Christmas concert of Concord High is quite the tradition. It is a two hour program that usually features a mostly secular program of traditional holiday songs. But the climax of the program, usually the last fifteen minutes, features a nativity depiction on stage with songs such as “We Three Kings” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” being performed.
For now, school officials have only responded with this terse statement:
Recently, Concord Community Schools received a letter from the Madison, Wisconsin based Freedom From Religion Foundation questioning an aspect of one of the high school music department’s performances. As in past dealings with Concord Schools, that foundation provided copies of its letter to the local media before school administrators were able to review the letter. It is a long standing practice of Concord Schools to not publicly comment on concerns, valid or invalid, initially raised by students, parents, or patrons to the media instead of first addressing them with school administrators. Rest assured that Concord Schools routinely reviews all of its programs, curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular, to ensure not only compliance with legal and financial standards, but also the educational goals of the school corporation. Consistent with its past practice, Concord Schools will have no further public comment concerning the letter received from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Clearly the battle lines have been drawn. An event takes place like this every year thanks to the FFRF. We’ll see how this one turns out.