PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (Christian Examiner) – Public school officials in some cities may be trying to ditch the celebration of Christmas, but an overwhelming majority of Americans still support the holiday's inclusion in the school system.
Schools should not have to think twice about whether they can allow students to perform a classic Christmas production simply because it contains biblical references
A new Rasmussen Reports survey found that 76 percent of American adults believe Christmas should be celebrated in public schools, with only 15 percent disagreeing. Among adults who have school-age children at home, 82 percent favor celebrating Christmas in public schools.
The poll asked simply, "Should Christmas be celebrated in public schools?"
Additionally, according to Rasmussen, 54 percent of U.S. adults say there's not enough "religion in the public schools," while 12 percent say there's too much and 27 percent say the level of religion in schools is "about right."
As the Christian Examiner has reported, public schools across the nation have been embroiled in controversies over Christmas this month. The superintendent at one Kentucky school system prevented the quoting of the Bible during a performance of "A Charlie Brown Christmas," which was based on the TV special.
The controversy at Johnson County Schools surrounded the turning point in the story, when Charlie Brown shouts, "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?" – and Linus takes center stage to summarize the story of the birth of Christ.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious liberty legal organization, sent the school system a letter urging it to leave the play untouched.
"Schools should not have to think twice about whether they can allow students to perform a classic Christmas production simply because it contains biblical references," ADF attorney Matt Sharp said in a press release. "'A Charlie Brown Christmas' has become an iconic Christmas story and tradition. Are school officials going to start demanding that other classic productions, such as Shakespearean plays, be censored just because they contain religious references?"
ADF offered the school its legal services if there were a lawsuit.
"There is no violation of the so-called 'separation of church and state' by allowing children to learn about theater and the origins of Christmas through participating in a stage version of this beloved program that contains the same religious elements as the television version...," the ADF letter read. "Given that courts have consistently held that schools may organize and sponsor Christmas programs and performances that include religious songs and study the historical origins of Christmas, there is no basis for the District's decision to censor the religious aspects of 'A Charlie Brown Christmas.'"
The poll was conducted on Dec. 10 and 13 among 1,000 American adults.