Indiana District Sued for Performing Nativity Play at Holiday Concert

A month ago, I posted about Concord High School in Indiana, where the holiday concert includes a full-blown Nativity Play:

You can even watch it on YouTube (1:20:09):

The Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote a letter to the District warning them against doing it again this year:

It is illegal for a public school to endorse religion to students by organizing a religious performance, such as acting out the exclusively Christian legend of Jesus’s birth. The performance has a clearly devotional message and thus would be appropriate in a church setting, but not in a public school…

Centering the high school’s holiday concert around the nativity is illegal even if participation in the nativity scene is voluntary…

The simple solution is for Concord Community Schools to devise a winter concert centered around secular values like family, giving, and community, rather than focusing on the religious aspects of one specific holiday.

That didn’t do the trick. The Superintendent actually expressed support of the nativity scene, suggesting it would stay in the show:

District Superintendent John Trout read his prepared statement.

“For more than 30 years, the Spectacular has been an important part of the Concord High School holiday experience. It will continue to do so,” Trout said, adding that Concord Schools would not engage in a public media fight.

He also noted that participation in the Nativity scene is voluntary and the scene is rehearsed after school, and stated that this scene provides historical context to the holiday season.

Was he merely placating the audience or was he really dumb enough to continue the illegal portion of the program and invite a lawsuit?

We now know the answer to that.

FFRF had to file a lawsuit this week because it’s clear there are no responsible administrators in this District:

The lawsuit is for declaratory and injunctive relief and nominal damages.

The plaintiffs, FFRF, John and Jack Doe, want the court to find John and Jack Doe’s rights were violated and prevent the nativity scene and telling of the story of the birth of Jesus from being organized, rehearsed or presented in the Christmas Spectacular.

In addition, the plaintiffs want $1 each in damages and attorney’s fees paid.

As I said before, it’s irrelevant if participation in the Nativity scene is voluntary or if the rehearsals take place after school. If it’s a part of the show, it’s an endorsement by the school. Period. No other religion gets that much air time during the program, and there’s no secular purpose for including the birth of Christ (and no other religious belief) in a holiday program.

They can do this in church whenever they want. But not at school.

(Thanks to Brian for the link. Large portions of this article were published earlier)

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