A Cottondale, Florida elementary school is the latest scene of Christmas debate as the school nixed a traditional nativity scene, opting instead to keep just the figure of Santa Claus on display.
Cottondale Elementary principal Brenda Jones says the school decided to display only secular Christmas symbols after a Department of Education official visited her to talk about separation of church and state. Matt Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, says Jones made the wrong decision.
“In fact, by eliminating only the religious [symbol] – in this situation, the Christian symbol of Christmas or the holidays – they’ve not shown neutrality but they’ve shown hostility toward the viewpoint being religious and anti-religious,” he explains. “And that’s what the Constitution forbids.”
The attorney disagrees with the principal who says banning the crÃ¨che is an attempt to be fair to everyone.
“This is not an attempt to be fair to everyone; this is an attempt to actually discriminate. By their so-called fairness they’re actually discriminating,” Staver emphasizes.
“I mean, for heaven’s sakes, we have a holiday on December 25 – it’s recognized by every state in the country and every territory and the federal government, and it’s called Christmas. That’s what Christmas is about on December 25.”
Community members reportedly are so upset by the decision they are threatening to sue the school board.