AUSTIN, Texas (December 16, 2016) â€” A Texas judge has ordered a school district to restore a decoration that included a biblical verse recited by Linus in the 1960s TV special “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued to get it restored, arguing the state’s 2013 so-called Merry Christmas law means schools can’t “silence a biblical reference to Christmas.”
Paxton welcomed the decision from Judge Jack Jones saying “religious discrimination towards Christians has become a holiday tradition of sorts among certain groups. I am glad to see that the court broke through the secular radical’sÂ rhetorical fog and recognized that a commitment to diversity means protecting everyone’s individual religious expression.”
The Houston Chronicle reports Judge Jones ruled Thursday the display should be put back up with an added line calling it “Ms. Shannon’s Christmas message.”
Texas Values president Jonathan Saenz, who represented Shannon, says the Killeen school district could have avoided being taken to court.
“After really trying to work with the school district for a solution, we were left with no choice but to file a lawsuit,” the attorney tells OneNewsNow. “And after an hour-long hearing, the judge ruled that the Charlie Brown poster that the school had torn down had to go back up.”
The original board vote on the poster was 6-to-1 against the poster being allowed. Board president Terry Delano was the lone vote to restore it.
“It didn’t ask anyone to convert to Christianity. It didn’t condemn anybody if they didn’t,” he shared Friday on American Family Radio. “It was simply stating this is why Christians celebrate Christmas, and it was nothing more than that. And by the way, Christmas is a federally observed religious holiday.”
According to Saenz, the law was already on his client’s side.
“We have a state law in Texas called ‘The Merry Christmas Law’ that’s designed to make it very clear that school districts can allow these types of posters â€“ and it was designed for a situation like this, so school districts didn’t have to be speech police and be worried about making decisions,” he adds. “They just had to allow it to happen and not get involved.”
But as he points out, that’s not what happened in this situation.