Charlie Brown Christmas Tree ShoppingIt’s not even Thanksgiving yet, and already this is my third post in this year’s edition of the annual delusional “war on Christmas.” A school in Arkansas planned a field trip to see a live performance of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” The problem is, it was going to be in a church. KARK-TV in Little Rock reports on this attempt to trot public-school kids into a church so they can be proselytized (WebCite cached article):

A longtime holiday show, beloved by children, inadvertently sparked a controversy in Little Rock over the separation of church and state.

It happened when some teachers at Terry Elementary school sent letters home offering to shuttle first and second graders to see a stage version of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at Agape, a local church.

“We’re not saying anything bad about Charlie Brown,” said Anne Orsi, a Little Rock Attorney and Vice President of the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers.

“The problem is that it’s got religious content and it’s being performed in a religious venue and that doesn’t just blur the line between church and state, it over steps it entirely.”

As is typical of such cases, the church used the old “We’ve always done it, so we should always be able to do it, forevermore!” defense:

Some of Agape staffers did say they have held holiday productions for students in the past and no one raised concerns about those shows.

Sorry but no. As I blogged previously — and repeatedly — that Christianists have been getting away with this kind of crap, doesn’t actually make it acceptable. It just means they managed to get away with it. Note that, usually, this kind of defense doesn’t work in other venues. For instance, someone caught for speeding can’t respond with, “But officer, I’ve always driven that fast down this road! I’ve been doing it for years! You can’t give me a ticket, now! You must let me continue speeding!” It just doesn’t work … and the Christianists who use these appeals to tradition damned well know it.

The article contains the station’s video report, that I can’t embed here, but it mentions an important aspect of cases like this: The fact that kids and parents who object to this sort of thing often go along with it anyway, out of fear their kids will be harassed if they choose not to. That’s how Christianists have been getting away with it for as long as they have; they use bullying tactics against anyone who dares not knuckle under to their religiosity. That’s not to their credit, and I’m fairly sure their own Jesus wouldn’t approve of it. Yet they do it nevertheless.

Christians, just fucking grow the hell up and stop using Christmas to ram your Jesus down everybody’s throats … OK? Is that too much to ask of you?

Full disclosure: I’m of the generation that grew up watching A Charlie Brown Christmas annually. I still find it amusing, its religious content notwithstanding. Nevertheless, it’s unacceptable to present to kids in public school, and taking them to a church to see it just makes the situation all the worse.

Photo credit: From A Charlie Brown Christmas / KIT, via Flickr.

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  • I'm of the belief that the world needs a nice, peaceful, joyous time of year. It should be a season of love when we all gather around with family and friends and focus on the good in this life. We should attempt to stop butchering our brothers and sisters worldwide during this time. To me, that's what this season should be about.

    I am an atheist, so the Christian part of Christmas means nothing to me. However, I feel the season should be more like what Dickens was trying to put across in his "A Christmas Carol" story. We should stop being selfish shitheads for a short while and think a bit about our fellow man. We should celebrate life.

    That's what I think. Besides, I like all the pretty lights and the seasonal music. It brings back warm memories of my childhood.

    Regardless of beliefs or non-beliefs, as in my case, try to enjoy the season. 🙂

    Later…

    ~Eric

    • Actually Eric, I agree with you. It's not a bad idea for there to be a season in which compassion toward others is promoted. I'm simply amused by the idea that some people have decided that this time of "peace on earth, goodwill toward humanity" is a good time to bludgeon everyone else with their beliefs, and use it to coerce others into worshipping their god. Maybe I'm crazy, but I don't think this behavior is very compassionate, and isn't an expression of goodwill.

      • "Bludgeoning everyone else with their beliefs…" This is such an accurate and descriptive statement. Every Saturday here in Tampa, the "Jehos" do their door-to-door soul-saving thing. I'm blackballed by them, so they don't come to my door. However, when I see them imposing themselves on my neighbors, and my neighbors politely turning them away week after week, I have to wonder why these folks can't find a more constructive way to utilize their zealousness about improving the lot of their fellow man.

        Myeh… to each their own, I s'pose.

        I'm sure I'll catch up a few more times in the coming weeks, Psi, but HAPPY WHATEVER-YOU-LIKE-TO-CALL-THE-SEASON to you and yours! 🙂

        Stay warm!

        ~Eric