Teachers at Terry Elementary sent a letter to parents notifying them that they were offering their children the opportunity to see the popular play at Agape Church, but they could have the option of not going if it would be an issue.
Pamela Smith, the communications director for the Little Rock School District, told Fox News
there there is no controversy, considering that the field trip did not require compulsory attendance.
Unfortunately for the school, one parent did object to the field trip and immediately contacted the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers (ASF)
, an organization that labels itself as a community of agnostics, atheists and humanists.
Anne Orsi, attorney and vice president of ASF told KNWA News
that the choice of venue not only blurs “the line between church and state – it oversteps it entirely.” Orsi noted that the organization is not criticizing Charlie Brown.
“While everyone loves Charlie Brown, the religious content of the program is a problem, as is the trip to a church to see it,” wrote Orsi on the group’s Facebook page
. “Oddly enough, not all kids at the school are Christian, and their parents don’t want them singled out as ‘different.’ Who’d a thunk it?”
One parent wrote to the Little Rock School District, which notes that it doesn’t endorse or encourage any particular religion, said, “I think church and school should be kept completely separate at all times.”
“A Charlie Brown Christmas” was the very first prime-time animated television series that featured the classic “Peanuts” characters by Charles M. Schulz. It was produced and directed by former Warner Bros. and UPA animator Bill Meléndez, who also did the voice of Snoopy.
The purpose of the timeless episode was to discuss the commercialization of the season and how many have forgotten the real meaning of Christmas. Linus even quotes scripture in his famous monologue on center stage.
“And that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown,” said Linus.