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OPINION

School Choirs Barred From Performing At Annual Nativity Celebration

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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School children in Wake County, North Carolina will no longer be allowed to sing Christmas carols at an annual Nativity celebration after they received a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based group of atheists, agnostics and free-thinkers.
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The Freedom From Religion Foundation said the performances at the annual Apex Christmas Nativity Celebration were unconstitutional and could not continue. 

“The whole purpose of the event is to display and honor nativity scenes, which highlight an exclusively Christian aspect of the holiday season, rather than a secular Christmas celebration,” FFRF attorney Patrick Elliott wrote in a complaint to the district last year. “Students are intentionally brought to the church to be exposed to hundreds of depictions of the Christian legend of Jesus’ birth.”

Legend? Well, if that doesn’t jingle your bells…

Anyway, the school district decided it would be best to ban student choirs from taking part in this year’s celebration — most certainly breaking the hearts of children who wanted to spread a bit of Christmas cheer.

“No one was particularly happy with the outcome of this,” school district spokesman Tim Simmons told The News & Observer. “Some schools had been participating for several years.”

The annual event is a three-day “celebration of the birth and ministry of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” sponsored by the Church of Latter-day Saints in Apex.

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“When school choirs ask students to attend a church event, a reasonable student will perceive that the school is endorsing religion,” Elliott wrote in his letter.

I hardly doubt a grade school choir is going to spontaneously convert to the Mormon faith simply because they were singing “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”

I reached out to Steven Bodhaine, who oversees nine Mormon congregations in Wake County -- a very nice gentleman. He assured me there has never been any proselytizing at the celebration. 

“There’s never been a single incident or concern in the past 13 years,” he said. “In fact, these schools often look forward to this because it’s such a beautiful venue to perform.”

Simmons told the newspaper that their legal counsel opined that letting the choirs perform would “put the district in the position of potentially endorsing a religious viewpoint.”

According to the nativity event website, it’s a three-day “celebration of the birth and ministry of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation says they are dedicated to the “separation of church and state.” But in reality they are a bunch of mean-spirited Christophobic agitators who prey on small towns and innocent school children.

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“If FFRF’s brand of religious hostility was so attractive, they wouldn’t have to bully people into submission,” said Hiram Sasser, with First Liberty Institute - a law firm that specializes in religious liberty cases.

FFRF said they took action after a “concerned parent” complained — obviously someone who has a checkered past with Jolly Old Saint Nick. 

“Public schools are a place for all students regardless of religious belief or non-belief,” Elliott told the newspaper in a Tuesday interview. “To have public schools involved in a Christian event celebrating the birth of Jesus is a problem.”

What a heartless thing for someone to do — setting loose a bunch of godless Grinches so they could bully children.

Folks, if that doesn’t curdle your egg nog, I don’t know what will.  

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