An Indiana school will not be having their live nativity scene in their Christmas program this year thanks to a judge who banned the performance. U.S. District Court Judge Jon DeGuilio ruled on Wednesday that this traditional scene is not permitted this year at Concord High School in Elkhart, Indiana, because “it is overtly religious in nature and unconstitutionally endorses Christianity.”
The 2015 Christmas Spectacular is a yearly program where the holiday is celebrated and kids look forward to participating in. According to the Elkhart Truth, the judge ruled in favor of banning the nativity after the Freedom From Religion Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint in August against Concord Community Schools on behalf of a student and his parent. They later filed a federal lawsuit after the school chose to keep the biblical scene in the program, and the judge then banned the nativity scene from the show. It was concluded that the school was promoting the Christian faith.
“The Nativity scene and the story of the birth of Jesus are, of course, well-recognized symbols of the Christian faith. Their presence at the Christmas Spectacular is coercive, represents an endorsement of religion by the high school and the school corporation, has no secular purpose and has the principal purpose and effect of advancing religion.”
This is a preliminary ruling with the case being set for January 7 to see if the nativity will be able to continue in the future. However, that will mean that the Christmas program will be done and over with until next year. The injunction set by Judge DeGuilio said that the high school is not allowed to make any further preparations for the live nativity scene for 2015. The shows were to begin on December 11.
School Superintendent John Trout is not backing down and may be expected to appeal this ruling. He expressed his disappointed by the recent decision to ban the live nativity from Concord’s Christmas program and released a statement on Wednesday.
“The Concord High School music department is working overtime to insure that this year’s Christmas Spectacular performance complies with the court’s order. Additionally, Concord Community Schools is presently researching the possible appeal of the court’s preliminary injunction. A decision on whether to take that step will be made in the next few days.”
Trout will be announcing soon on whether he will appeal this decision.
According to USA Today, FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor had also released a statement saying that she was happy with the decision to ban the live nativity this year and maybe in the future. She stated that the nativity has no business being in a public school, calling it a “shocking violation to encounter in a public school.”
One mom told Michigan TV station WILX that part of the Concord tradition has been this live nativity for so long. She also mentioned that she thinks that people are too offended by these types of things. Another mom agreed saying that someone who may be offended by this should maybe not be around it. She mentioned that the kids had already started rehearsing and were disappointed that the event will not push through. The reporter said that most of the people she talked to were also upset by the judge’s ruling as well.
However, many people on social media are making their opinions known one way or the other. These kinds of bans on the biblical side of Christmas seem to bring out lots of controversy for both sides.
Which side are you on? Should Concord High School be allowed to keep the live nativity as part of their program, or is it too offensive by pushing religion on others?
[Photo by Mary Turner/Getty Images)