Thursday, December 6, 2012

Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown

In Little Rock, Arkansas, this week, a church cancelled a performance of the popular "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown" due to pressure from an atheist group that calls itself the "Arkansas Society of Freethinkers".  Apparently, a local elementary school had scheduled a voluntary field trip to see the production at the church and the mother of one student, who was allowing her daughter to attend, complained to the "Freethinkers" about the school taking children to see a play with Christian themes.  The woman claims she was letting her daughter attend the "voluntary" field trip because she didn't want her daughter to be singled out.

Anyway, upon receiving the complaints, the school principal took a bold stance and said she was not going to cancel the field trip but rather, was going to allow those students who wished to attend to go anyway.  Sadly, the pastor,  not wishing to cause controversy for the  school, cancelled the scheduled show and will reschedule it for a Saturday for those students and teachers wishing to attend.  That way it will have nothing to do with the school itself.

There are several things I find disturbing about this.  First of all, the field trip was voluntary and no child was required to attend.  If teachers were required to attend and one objected, that teacher could  have made his/her objections known to the principal  and  I'm  sure they would have been excused from attending.  But that didn't happen.  Instead, one mother of one child, who was going to allow the child to attend anyway - out of some  warped sense of fear, I guess - cancelled the field trip for everyone with her complaint.  So once again, one complaint by a non-believer stops a group of people from voluntarily exercising their freedom of religion.

While I somewhat understand the church pastor not wanting to cause a controversy, I also disagree with his decision.  The field trip was voluntary for all and there was no requirement for anyone to attend against their wishes.  Therefore, the "Freethinkers" should have had no reasonable objection.  But it seems most objections made by atheists aren't necessarily reasonable.  They object to something  that does not hurt them in any way just because they can.

So why is it that Christians are persecuted and singled out yet the atheists aren't complaining about something that to me seems an even greater violation of the Establishment Clause.? Several state universities  in the country, such as the University of Michigan and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., have installed foot baths for Muslim students.  Is this not a direct violation of the separation of church and state?  If a state university erected a cross on campus (anywhere but in a chapel),  atheists would be up in arms about it and force its removal.  So where are the atheists when it comes to accommodating Muslims?

Christmas is a Christian holiday.  Granted, it's been  commercialized over the years but even many atheists celebrate the holiday, even though they often refuse to use the word "Christmas".  It's sad that in today's society, where everyone is so anxious to make everyone happy and not offend anyone, that Christians are being subjected to more and more criticism and discrimination.  When one person can stop a show, as in Arkansas, because they don't want their  child exposed to a Christian message, even though attendance was completely voluntary...  there's something definitely wrong.

Merry Christmas to all.

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