Rights group battles Scrooge school officials’ war on Christmas
A school in Minnesota prohibited the display of a Christmas poster designed by a student for fear that it could be interpreted as in some way religious, despite the fact that it features modern day a cartoon character.
Rights Group The Rutherford Institute have taken up the case, noting that the depiction of Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas can in no way be defined as anything but a secular image, and that PACT Charter School officials have violated First Amendment rights by banning it.
The poster was created by a student in order to encourage sales of the school yearbook as holiday gifts. However, it was deemed to be to controversial by Scrooge-like school officials.
School administrators announced that they could not use the image, saying that, somewhat ironically, under the First Amendment, the establishment of religion by a state authority is prohibited.
“Afraid of controversy, indoctrinated by political correctness, steeped in a zero tolerance mind set, and constitutionally illiterate, school administrators persist in playing the part of the Grinch every December,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute.
“Yet there’s a really simple solution to this annual angst of whether students and teachers can display Christmas-related posters, wear Christmas colors of red and green or sing Christmas songs, and that is to stop being such Humbugs and create a vibrant, open environment where all expression can flourish.” Whitehead added.
The Virginia based rights group explains that it is within the law for schools to acknowledge historical and cultural elements of Christmas, as long as one form of religion is not specifically endorsed over others.
The Institute has produced a set of guidelines for school officials entitled “Twelve Rules of Christmas”, outlining what is Constitutionally acceptable as far as celebration of Christmas is concerned.
Rutherford also notes that similar cases have arisen from such over zealous political correctness where Christmas is concerned.
In one case, a school asked students to design “holiday cards” to send to US troops, but were told that they were absolutely not to use the words “Merry Christmas” on them.
In other cases, “nativity displays, Christmas carols, Christmas trees, wreaths, candy canes and even the colors red and green have been banned as part of the effort to avoid any reference to Christmas, Christ or God.” the report states.