Elf Trouble in Boston Schools

Elf Trouble in Boston Schools

Such a sad tale of woe. A Boston-area parent, Deborah Seri, logged a complaint with the Superintendent of schools in Milford, Massachusetts because her daughter was exposed to an Elf on the Shelf in her classroom.

“My daughter was the only one in the class who didn’t celebrate Christmas,” Seri said. “It made her feel awkward; it made her feel like she was the only one.”

So the school board responded by promising to take a look at district policy regarding Christmas decorations, symbols, and displays in public schools.

This comes only after having changed the policy just last summer. Among the new restrictions: Religious symbols or displays were not permitted in public spaces, in spaces visible from the outside of the school, or on teacher-generated materials, except those related to curriculum on religion or culture.

That Elf on the Shelf, you know, is such a world-wide religious symbol.

Now they are going at it again this summer. And nobody, it seems, is happy.

Gee, we wonder why.

Last Christmas, staff in the school district was paranoid about what they could and could not do during the holidays. Cafeteria workers at a high school circulated a petition in December to fight for holiday decorations in the cafeteria — annual decorations that were now prohibited. So many people complained, in fact, that the school board promised to take up the policy again this summer.

The district has come up with an even more restrictive policy proposal this time around.

Committee member Scott Harrison said during the May meeting that Milford is a town of religious diversity and that a policy like the one facing approval is not inclusive of minority religions, but rather exclusive of all religions.

“This seems to be a solution in search of a problem. I understand that there has been, at least to my knowledge, a complaint that has come through, and I get that and we want to be respectful,” he said. “This seems to have a lot of exclusionary language that goes along with it.”

The policy, Harrison said, is too open to interpretation about what constitutes a religious symbol or religious holiday.

In other words, all anyone has to do is claim that ANY symbol favors a certain religion — and all hell will break loose. Even though the Supreme Court has said time and time again that Santa, snowmen, Christmas trees and other such iconic elements of Christmas are, in fact, secular the new policy in Milford would make anything — the color RED — an offense.

People on both sides of the argument do agree — this policy would effectively ban Santa Claus.

And that would push Milford to the forefront of the War on Christmas in 2017.

Someone would take that to court.

And Milford would lose in court.

Watch how fast things change once the threat of lawsuits and money gets involved.

Then you’ll see real principled action.

It happens every time.

South Carolina PTA Boots Santa for Being Religious

South Carolina PTA Boots Santa for Being Religious

Here we go: another absurd, ill-informed and sadly wrong PTA has kicked Santa Claus from school pictures at a public school in South Carolina.

The reason? Because they want kids of all religious backgrounds to be included in the pictures. Santa is being replaced by a “winter wonderland” scene.

Santa is religious?

Show me where Santa is in the Bible, will you? Tell me where Santa has ever given a sermon, said a prayer or uttered a religious thought.

The Supreme Court LONG AGO declared Santa — and Rudolph and Frosty and other characters of Christmas — SECULAR.

Don’t mistaken this for mere political correctness. This is BLATANT religious discrimination. What the PTA in this school is doing is saying “If it can be remotely associated with Christianity, we’ll ban it.” That’s what this is.

It isn’t a War on Christmas. It is a War on Christians.

Get this right. Pictures of the kids are not taken with Jesus. Not a cross either. For years they have done it with SANTA CLAUS. Now they are saying Santa is “too religious”.

That’s an attack, folks.

According to the media reports there have only been mixed reactions to this news.

We don’t believe that for one second. People should be OUTRAGED.

Federal Court Rules in Favor of High School Nativity Scene

Federal Court Rules in Favor of High School Nativity Scene

One of the biggest skirmishes in the 2015 War on Christmas has taken an unexpected turn as a federal court ruled in favor of an Indiana high school’s inclusion of a static Nativity scene in their annual Christmas concert.

Both the ACLU and the Freedom from Religion Foundation brought the suit against the school when they say they were contacted by a local resident who complained about it. The annual production has been a tradition in the community of Elkhart, Indiana for years without complaint.

As the suit was brought forward officials at Concord High School scrambled to make what they felt should have been acceptable changes by adding Hanukkah and Kwanzaa songs and changing the controversial Nativity scene from a live production to static images. But the FFRF in particular balked noting that the Nativity scene and depiction of Jesus Christ were “…coercive, representing an endorsement of religion by the high school and the school corporation, having no secular purpose and has the principal purpose and effect of advancing religion.”

The court ruled that the changes to the production of the Nativity scene did not in fact constitute a violation of the Constitution’s establishment clause.

This debate seems silly to almost anyone who has even read the Constitution. The so-called “Establishment Clause” forbids Congress from establishing a state religion. A high school is not Congress and showing a Nativity scene does not establish anything.

But America has fallen into a trap of political correctness when it comes to cases like these. Because a school is a government run operation the assumption is that if a school depicts or participates in anything religious it is a violation of the Establishment Clause.

The FFRF has threatened schools and school districts nationwide for several years now working to get not only Nativity scenes but even the most remotely religious Christmas carols of antiquity banned from public schools. In most cases, school districts have opted to comply rather than to fight costly lawsuits.

The case is ongoing and the local school district is still facing possible fines for Nativity scenes depicted in previous productions dating back nearly five decades.

FFRF and ACLU Join Forces to Sue Indiana School

FFRF and ACLU Join Forces to Sue Indiana School

The community uprising witnessed in Elkhart, Indiana last month has failed to stop a lawsuit filed in federal court by the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the ACLU. The two organizations have pooled resources to fight public will and the expressed sentiments of a local school board defending the performance.

Their argument is that the Nativity portion of the performance is unconstitutional and “illegal”. Even though the event is entirely voluntary the fact that it is sponsored by the high school is reason enough for courts to declare the event improper.

”The Nativity scene and the story of the birth of Jesus are, of course, well-recognized symbols of the Christian faith,” the plaintiffs wrote in the complaint, filed Wednesday. “Their presence at the Christmas Spectacular is coercive, represents an endorsement of religion by the high school and the school corporation, has no secular purpose and has the principal purpose and effect of advancing religion.”

The scene traditionally fills the final 15 minutes of a long program that features music of both a sacred and secular nature.

Last month the local school board responded to the FFRF threat of a lawsuit by saying, in part, “As always, if a student 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.”

Interestingly, this lawsuit comes on the heels of another one lost by the FFRF in Franklin County, Indiana arguing about the illegality of nativity scenes on public property.

Indiana School Board Appears Ready to Fight for Nativity

Indiana School Board Appears Ready to Fight for Nativity

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.

He said:

“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.