“A school district in Kentucky has ordered all administrators under its jurisdiction to remove religious references from Christmas productions, leading one facility to censor its planned elementary presentation of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ by blotting out the Gospel of Luke read by little Linus,” Cheryl Chumley reports at WND.
"It disappoints me that we have to do this," Chumley quotes Superintendent Tom Salyer saying. According to WND, "Salyer said he was a church-going man who was simply following advice from the Johnson County school district attorneys."
Mr. Salyer should reject this foolish advice, for nothing in the Declaration of Independence or in the U.S. Constitution requires the censorship of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
The 1st Amendment, in fact, places a limit on what Congress can do, not a limit on what states like Kentucky can do and not a limit on what public schools or individual people can do.
Congress, the 1st Amendment pointedly states, "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
The wise and pro-Christian purpose of the 1st Amendment is to keep the federal government from allowing a denomination of the Christian church to become the state church of the United States of America.
The 1st Amendment thus stands against a national state denominational church – not against Christianity. And not against Christianity in the name of secularism. (Let us not forget that one of the lessons of the 20th century is that, out of its own inner philosophic necessity, unbridled secularism breeds unfreedom and inhumanity.)
Instead, the aim of the 1st Amendment is to protect the individual states from a federal monopoly of political and ecclesiastical power. It is not designed to unleash and impose a Christian-hating secular terror upon the American people.
In the constitutional affirmation of liberty, the individual states were – and are – free to create their own denominational state churches, if that is the desire of the citizens of the respective states. It is a matter of choice left to the states and not to the federal government.
The last thing either the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence has in mind is the removal of Christianity from public life and from public influence across the whole of life. That view is secular superstition.
After all, the entire body politic of the American initiative is rooted in the Biblical concept of there being a real Creator who has created human beings in his image and has endowed human beings with "certain unalienable rights," and that among them are "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." This is about as unsecular as it gets.
Furthermore, the point of the U.S. Constitution is to incarnate politically and governmentally those principles of human freedom and dignity, rooted in the Creator, that are expressed in the Declaration. Yes, it is possible to think and act holistically when founding a nation "conceived in liberty."
What follows is clear: Public school officials in Kentucky and in every state are entirely within their rights as human beings and as U.S. citizens to stage plays that speak clearly and dramatically about the facts and message of the space-time birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.
This is the mainstream and humane position of human freedom and dignity, and of an American citizen's freedom and dignity, under God, as expressed in the genius of the American founding.
Against this, secular extremists have created a fairy tale of legalistic mythology to support their ahistorical beliefs regarding the 1st Amendment, the Constitution, and a freedom-denying secularistic society.
As the news reminds us virtually every day, this extremism wars against who we are as human beings – and against who we are as American citizens – alive to living in liberating community with God and man in the total circle of life, including public life.
This extremism should be rejected, and must be rejected root and branch, if the tree of liberty is to survive and thrive. Either that or face the fundamental transformation of America into utter regressiveness and lack of humanness.
America is about freedom to live in the light and to reject the darkness – on stages, in schools, at football games, in the marketplace, and in the halls of Congress. This truly is love without limits.
This is who we are. And if we would be free tomorrow and the day after, this is who we must forever be.
J. Richard Pearcey is editor and publisher of The Pearcey Report and formerly managing editor of Human Events.