Dear W. R. Elementary School in Paintsville, Kentucky,
How dare you remove Christ from A Charlie Brown Christmas? Good grief!
Do you think you’re the first to try and censor the Emmy and Peabody award-winning Christmas classic? If so, you’re delusional and might need to visit Lucy’s Psychiatric Help Booth (it only costs five cents, by the way, a real bargain in this day and age).
Conveniently for you, Charles Schulz, creator of the Peanuts cartoon series and national treasure A Charlie Brown Christmas, already fought this battle in the 1960s and won, thank you very much.
In fact, your holiday school production wouldn’t even be possible had Charles Schultz not drawn a line in the sand. (Incidentally, please note the deliberate and courteous use of “holiday” should the word “Christmas” offend you.)
Happiness is being informed, so here’ a little history lesson from a religious scholar to bring you up to speed.
Schultz, a private man, quietly wove faith into his work. As The Boulder Daily Camera once pointed out, “Schulz’s ‘preaching’ never crossed the line into proselytizing.” But make no mistake; wishy-washy he was not.
“Humor which does not say anything is worthless humor,” Schulz once told Decision magazine. “So I contend that a cartoonist must be given a chance to do his own preaching.”
Schulz was not without his critics. With secularism on the rise in the 1960s, Lee Mendelson, producer of the now revered TV classic, told the Star Tribune that CBS brass said, "The Bible thing scares us." But Schulz insisted, and the scene remained.
So, you see, W.R. Elementary School, in 1965—long before your attempt to censor an American work of art—the biblical reference in A Charlie Brown Christmas was challenged. However, Schulz remained steadfast in his convictions. In fact, had the famous scene of Linus telling the biblical version of the birth of Jesus Christ been removed, Schulz would have pulled the proverbial football out from under the higher ups at CBS. (Again, as a courtesy, the biblical reference is Luke 2:8-14.)
And now, you have the audacity to censor and rewrite the very element that hinged on the show’s existence? How arrogant and disgraceful of you.
Charles Schulz stood for something. What do you stand for? You receive one complaint from one family and spinelessly acquiesce. It’s unlikely yours is the first school production of A Charlie Brown Christmas. What’s changed in the last 50 years that makes you believe it’s now a violation of someone’s First Amendment rights to hear Linus speak of shepherds abiding in their field? Generations of American families have enjoyed A Charlie Brown Christmas—in its glorious and original form. Why does it not pass muster now?
Your decision represents the very problem with America today—cowardly people, administrations and organizations that have forgotten our history and are afraid to stand up for our time-honored traditions.
Or, maybe it’s simpler than that. Maybe you think you know better than a master storyteller with a moral compass. In that case, you really are delusional and might want to seek professional help.
Thanks to Schulz, the doctor is in.
Featured Image: Screenshot from A Charlie Brown Christmas