A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that it’s constitutional for students and staff at an Indiana public high school to produce the institution’s traditional “Christmas Spectacular” after the performance was revised to include scenes representing Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.
According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the Performing Arts Department at Concord High School in Elkhart will be able to continue performing the winter holiday performance that has been a tradition at the school for about half a century.
Concord’s “Christmas Spectacular” came under fire in 2015 when left-leaning civil rights groups filed a lawsuit claiming that the second half of the show featured religious overtones.
The second half included religious songs, a student-performed Nativity scene and recited passages from the New Testament.
After the lawsuit was filed, the school proposed a revised version of the show that removed the scripture readings and added songs to represent other faiths. The revised version also included a mannequin Nativity scene, not a student-enacted Nativity scene.
Despite the changes, lawyers at the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation revised the lawsuit to argue that even the revised 2015 performance was unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Jon DeGuilio agreed in a final judgement issued last march.
However, the three-judge panel on the Seventh Circuit court panel disagreed and affirmed a 2015 district court’s ruling.
“The parties put us in the uncomfortable role of Grinch, examining the details of an impressive high school production. But we accept this position, because we live in a society where all religions are welcome,” the court’s ruling reads. “The district court found that the Christmas Spectacular program Concord actually presented in 2015 — a program in which cultural, pedagogical, and entertainment value took center stage — did not violate the Establishment Clause.”
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Source: Christian Post