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Published On: Wed, Nov 28th, 2012

School field trip to see ‘Charlie Brown Christmas’ at a church upsets atheists

An Arkansas school is at ground zero of the separation of church and state debate after an atheist group objects to an elementary school field trip to see “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at a local church.

The group is arguing that the trip ‘violates religious freedom’ and ‘entirely’ oversteps the line between church and state.

‘We’re not saying anything bad about Charlie Brown,’ vice president Anne Orsi told KARK 4 News.

‘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 oversteps it entirely.’

Little Rock’s Terry Elementary School were invited to attend a Dec. 14 staged performance of the holiday classic at Agape Church. Teachers sent letters home to parents informing them of the trip, and allowed students to opt out of the performance:

“This production will expose your child to the amazing world of theater productions and enhance your child’s creative imagination in the area of dramatic arts…

“This production does expose your child to Christianity through some of the songs and scenes. (If you prefer your child to not attend the program they may stay at school and be allowed to sit in another classroom. Please let your teacher know if your child will not be attending).”

While district officials tell Fox News that they don’t see any controversy since trip attendance is voluntary, one displeased mother took the issue to the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers, saying that she is reluctantly allowing her child to attend the performance for fear of being ridiculed or bullied otherwise. The group is self-described as existing to “promote the secular, non-theistic, humanist viewpoint as a valid contribution to public discourse.”

“We hope the complaint or question of a few does not override the opportunity for everyone,” church officials said in a statement. “This production also included a food drive for area pantries, and we hope that purpose is not lost as well.”

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” is a famous 1965 cartoon, the first animated prime-time television special featuring the Peanuts character, which follows Charlie Brown’s struggle to overcome the commercialization of Christmas to find the true meaning of the holiday. The piece not notably features a segment in which Charlie Brown’s friend Linus recites passages from the Gospel of Luke, recalling the birth of Jesus Christ.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. kristen says:

    I think I am. I was on an atheist site where they were bashing another atheist bc she asked for advice on whether or not she should say she was an atheist to her friends and members of her very religious community. It was really ugly. I’m all for enlightenment and sharing views but not bashing others. I’ll think harder about some of my posts now so as not to make it that I think others are stupid bc I don’t. One thing my son has taught me is that we all think differently and that its ok. Different not less is what he is teaching me. Whatever we gotta do to survive bc everyone has struggles that others don’t know about.

    • Brandon Jones says:

      Great post! Everything is so true from the atheist to the Christian. I think many Christians aren’t honest about their struggles therefore just come across as a hypocrite or holier than thou. I’ve had to learn the hard way to bite the tongue (while some may disagree) especially after I’ve hurt feelings of some close to me. Just to add to your statement: You’ll never stop learning from your kids. It’s such a wonderful experience

  2. Brandon Jones says:

    you sound so libertarian

  3. kristen says:

    Some of us are just trying to survive and be good moral people. However one does that should be no problem with anyone else.

  4. Brandon Jones says:

    That was an amazing response and take on an atheist’s perspective on “Freedom of Religion” vs. “Freedom from Religion” which is where these groups seem to be coming from.

  5. kristen says:

    Stupid radical atheists. There’s no need to ruin Xmas. I would not opt out of this for my kids. I have no problem with my kids learning about other religions. I would like to be the one the ask about it but that wont always be the case. It will always be their choice. My only fear is I would not want them to believe in something out of fear…the way I learned Christianity my whole childhood. If it is through love and they use their beliefs for good, who on earth can argue with that?

    I also have no problem with displays of belief. For example, if majority of the people want to display the Ten Commandments at a government building then its not a big deal to me. As long as they don’t persecute me for my atheism, I have no problem with any of it.

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