Earlier this month, in Kentucky, Johnson County School District Superintendent Thomas Salyer sent a memo to the schools in his district, ordering them to abstain from performing any Christmas plays that identified with any particular religion. W.R. Castle Elementary was planning on performing the stage version of A Charlie Brown Christmas. At the behest of just a single parent, Principal Jeff Cochran simply decided to censor the scene from the play in which Linus quotes verses eight through fourteen from the second chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke. And the superintendent okayed this decision. As you can imagine, the parents of these students were none too pleased. Glenn Beck, on The Blaze, voiced his disappointment and annoyance, and asked for the parents to protest. Of course, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was pleased at the decision to censor the play. But for several days, there were indeed protests by the parents outside the school district offices. I don’t know how many of these parents were influenced by Beck.
This past Thursday night, when the play was performed, and the parents saw that the aforementioned scene had been cut, a miracle happened. The people in the audience stopped the play, stood up, and recited Luke 2:8-14. The principal was disappointed in the parents’ reaction, and blamed them for trying to censor the kids, even though he had already done so. But from the parents, there were tears and applause for their act of courage in the face of censorship.
I read a litany of articles online surrounding this occurrence, from Christians and conservatives praising these parents for their act of heroism to atheists and liberals screaming bloody murder and sometimes outright demanding the death of each of these parents. Of course, I sided with the former.
By siding with the former, I have to ask the same question that every other Christian and conservative is asking. With A Charlie Brown Christmas having been a staple in Christmas TV specials since 1965, why has the American public decided to, now, in 2015, label it as potentially offensive and inflammatory, and go so far as to censor the Bible reference in there? I really want to hear an answer to that question, and I have yet to hear a legitimate explanation.
While atheists and liberals exhaustively insist that A Charlie Brown Christmas is flat-out Christian forced indoctrination, I say different. It is simply a quick, twenty-five-minute look at the Judeo-Christian origins of the most beautiful time of the year, and a child’s take on its corruption by the masses.
While I very much enjoyed it, I have to admit that A Charlie Brown Christmas is a flawed product. It’s very simple and minimalist. Its story is barely existent, its animation is pretty simple, its acting is pretty wooden, and its soundtrack isn’t very well edited into the product.
But in this case, it’s the message that counts. And it’s a classic Christmas special that is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, and will hopefully be playing on television for fifty more.
LINUS: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’” That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
Thanks, Linus. Indeed it is. And I’m happy to be celebrating it with you.
“Hark! The herald angels sing,
‘Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.’
Joyful all ye nations rise!
Join the triumph of the skies!
With angelic host proclaim,
‘Christ is born in Bethlehem!’
Hark! The herald angels sing,
‘Glory to the newborn King!'”