A Texas school district learned a very important lesson Thursday: Don't mess with Charlie Brown, don't mess with the Baby Jesus and don't mess with the Lone Star State's Merry Christmas law.
Judge Jack Jones issued a temporary restraining order against the Killeen Independent School District. The district had backed a principal's decision to remove a Christmas poster that referenced a poignant scene in the beloved holiday cartoon, A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Dedra Shannon, an aide in Patterson Middle School's nurse's office, created the door-length poster—featuring Linus, a scrawny tree and dialogue explaining the true meaning of Christmas.
"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," Linus said.
Dedra Shannon's poster was well-received among the staff and students—but a few days later, she was told by the principal that the decorations had to come down because non-Christian students might be offended or feel uncomfortable.
Her father, a local minister, contacted me, and the following day I wrote a story about the sad state of affairs at Patterson Middle School.
"Our employees are free to celebrate the Christmas and holiday season in the manner of their choosing," the district wrote in a statement. "However, employees are not permitted to impose their personal beliefs on students."
Judge Jones said the poster must include the words: "Ms. Shannon's holiday message," the Killeen Daily Herald News reports.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton praised the judge's decision to issue a temporary restraining order.
"Religious discrimination toward Christians has become a holiday tradition of sorts among certain groups," Paxton said in a statement. "I am glad to see that the court broke through the Left's rhetorical fog and recognized that a commitment to diversity means protecting everyone's individual religious expression."
Preach it, Mr. Attorney General! Amen.
Paxton said the school district's decision to affirm the banning of the poster violated the Merry Christmas law. That law, passed in 2013, stipulates that no school official in Texas can silence a biblical reference to Christmas. God bless Texas!
Johnston Saenz, the president of Texas Values, represented Ms. Shannon in court. He was grateful for the judge's decision.
"Nothing says 'Merry Christmas' like a court victory for religious freedom in December in public schools," Saenz said in a statement. He called Ms. Shannon a "brave and faithful woman."
"This scenario is exactly why the Merry Christmas law was written—to protect teachers, staff and students in their expression of the Christmas season," he said.
Well done, Ms. Shannon. Well done, Mr. Saenz. Well done, Attorney General Paxton. Well done, Judge Jones. And well done, good readers. I suspect your emails and telephone calls had a lot to do with drawing attention to this very important matter.
Merry Christmas, America!
Todd Starnes is host of "Fox News & Commentary," heard on hundreds of radio stations. Sign up for his American Dispatch newsletter, be sure to join his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter. His latest book is The Deplorables' Guide to Making America Great Again.
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