Church Cancels 'Charlie Brown' Over Atheist Outrage
Religion TodayReligious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
- 2012 Dec 05
A Little Rock church has canceled a matinee performance of "Merry Christmas Charlie Brown" for local school children after critics complained the show was too religious and therefore violated the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, Fox News reports. Students at Terry Elementary School had been planning to attend a school-day field trip to watch a stage version of the holiday classic hosted by Agape Church. The event was strictly voluntary and teachers sent home letters explaining the purpose of the trip. However, a parent objected and contacted the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers, a self-described community of atheists, agnostics and humanists. When the group told a local TV station they had received legal advice on pursuing a possible lawsuit against the school district, Agape Church took the school matinees off the table. "It is not our desire to put hard-working, sacrificial teachers and cast members in harm's way," said pastor Happy Caldwell. A spokesperson for the school district said school officials had nothing to do with the cancelation of the program, but that they had consulted with their legal team and determined the trip was appropriate. Caldwell praised what he called the "courageous stand" that the school's principal took in "not succumbing to the pressure of one complaint voice" and said it was clear the film did not post a constitutional threat, adding that the school children were more than welcome to attend weekend performances of the show.