There's A Religious Liberty Fight In Texas Over A "Charlie Brown" Line

Photo: CBS/Photofest
Everyone who celebrates the holiday season has a roster of classic movies they watch on repeat. A Charlie Brown Christmas is a personal favorite of many, including Dedra Shannon, a nurse’s aide at Patterson Middle School in Killeen, Texas, who entered into a legal battle with the district after she was required to remove a poster featuring a quote from the movie from her door, the Washington Post reports.

The quote comes from the iconic scene in the film when Linus explains, “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.”

It's the most blatantly Christian message in the film, which is why the principal asked Shannon to remove the poster on December 7. The next day Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the principal ordering the poster's removal was “an attack on religious liberty.”

Here's where things get tricky. Both sides have turned to the state's Merry Christmas Law as reasoning for their argument. The law protects the “right to acknowledge traditional winter holidays like Christmas on school grounds." However, it also requires those acknowledgments to include other religious holidays as well.

For its part, the district made a statement that was then distributed by TV station KWTX-10. “Our employees are free to celebrate the Christmas and holiday season in the manner of their choosing. However, employees are not permitted to impose their personal beliefs on students."

Those in attendance at a meeting on Tuesday night agreed, voting 6-1 in support of the district. However, they recommended a study on the law, which seems to be unclear to everyone. Shannon’s attorney, Jonathan Saenz, says they are figuring out next steps.


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