A website claiming that the famous Christmas cartoon special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, contained a warning that viewer discretion is advised due to “strong Christian messages” has been proven false.
Last week, the website Revive America USA posted an article claiming that television station ABC posted a warning prior to airing the 1965 classic cartoon special, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Allegedly, ABC aired a message right before the cartoon special aired, stating,
“WARNING: This program contains strong Christian messages and may be offensive to some viewers. Viewer discretion advised.”
Revive America claimed that ABC aired the special on December 5, yet according to TV Guide, A Charlie Brown Christmas aired on November 30 at 9 p.m. EST. Additionally, there were no mentions of any Christian views warning messages by any viewers aside from the website’s article. Snopes reports that some people contacted them after missing the first few minutes of the television special, but there were still no complaints or inquiries from anyone who had seen the show in its entirety.
It seems that not only did the site make up false rumors about ABC, but its main focus is spreading untrue rumors. Since being questioned about the article, the phony website changed its title to state “parody” in the headline of the article, but it was done after fooling numerous people into believing the claims were true, after claiming,
“The disclaimer was admittedly a compromise solution by ABC Family, who in the past had openly objected to the Christian messages in the program, but was forced nonetheless to air the program uncensored under the pressure from its audiences.”
Another parody website, The People’s Cube, posted the bogus story on December 6, and redirected users to Revive USA, sparking questions and outrage across social media.
Meanwhile, a W.R. Castle Elementary School children’s Christmas play of A Charlie Brown Christmas in Johnson County, Kentucky, was recently altered to remove certain parts. One family complained to the Johnson County Board of Education that the play contained religious themes and Biblical content, prompting the revision.
After revising the play, Johnson County Superintendent Thomas Salyer released a public statement explaining the Board of Education’s decision, but also attempted to assure parents that Christmas plays would continue on.
“The US Supreme Court and the 6th Circuit Court are very clear that public school staff may not endorse any religion when acting in their official capacity and during school activities, However, our district is fully committed to promote the spirit of giving and concern for our fellow citizens that help define the Christmas holiday.”
Regardless, many parents were so upset at the Board of Education’s decision to alter the play that the non-profit legal group Alliance Defending Freedom stepped in and sent a letter to Salyer, asking him to keep the religious references in the play.
Numerous other parents stood in front of the Johnson County Board of Education building on Monday, protesting the decision to remove religious references from the play, which includes a quote from the Bible.
One of the protestors, Linda Conley, told local reporters that she feels the decision is wrong and hopes that the Board of Education will consider.
“We as parents, a community, we feel that this is wrong. This is beyond wrong because Jesus is the reason. Jesus is the reason that we are here and he is the reason for the season.”
Yet, despite the protests, the Board of Education stands by its decision to not only remove religious references from the A Charlie Brown Christmas play, but also from any other Christmas plays across all of the Johnson County schools.
A Charlie Brown Christmas still remains one of the most popular Christmas specials to air on television. The Emmy Awarding-winning special will air again on ABC on December 24, at 8 p.m. EST.
[Photo Courtesy of Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]