Judge Jack Jones ruled on Dec. 15 that a "Charlie Brown Christmas" poster with a Christian message will be displayed at a middle school in Killeen, Texas.
School nurse aide Dedra Shannon put the poster of Linus quoting a verse from the Bible about the birth of Jesus on the door of the nurse's office. However, the school principal said the Bible verse part had to come down. Shannon refused to compromise because the Christian message was her whole point, and took the entire poster down, noted Fox News.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton used taxpayer money to sue the school district on Dec. 15 to get a restraining order that would allow the Christian poster to be displayed in full at the public school, reports the Houston Chronicle.
The poster states: "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord ...That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."
Jones ruled the poster would go up in the school on Dec. 16 with this notation: "Ms. Shannon's Christmas message," a disclaimer that is supposed to signal to people that the school does not endorse any religion, even though the poster is on school property.
Paxton asserted in the lawsuit that the Killeen Independent School District's 6-1 vote against the poster on Dec. 13 amounted to "censorship," and that teacher-sponsored religious messages are lawful:
Contrary to the decision of KISD, the inclusion of Bible verses or religious messages on student or teacher-sponsored holiday decorations does not violate Texas law
To the contrary, Texas law prohibits KISD from expressing hostility toward religious messages, and it also specifically encourages school districts to take a more inclusive approach to religious and secular celebrations
Lawyer John Whitehead Attorney, who heads the conservative The Rutherford Institute, wrote in an op-ed for The Huffington Post in 2011 that teachers may not promote specific religions:
While it is true that public school teachers, as agents of the state, may not advance religion, they are allowed to discuss the role of religion in all aspects of American culture and its history. And this includes the religious aspects of the Christmas holiday.
Back in Texas, Paxton tried to paint the poster issue as a form of discrimination against Christians, the Houston Chronicle reports:
Once again, public schools have decided that their commitment to diversity does not extend to Christians. Neither faculty nor students shed their constitutional rights when they step inside the schoolhouse door. The law in fact encourages school districts to take an inclusive approach to religious and secular celebrations that are both respectful and accepting of different viewpoints.
Religious discrimination towards Christians has become a holiday tradition of sorts among certain groups. I am glad to see that the court broke through the left's rhetorical fog and recognized that a commitment to diversity means protecting everyone's individual religious expression.
Paxton will be in court again in 2017 to face two felony charges for alleged securities fraud, reported The Dallas Morning News in October.