Friday, December 18, 2015
Protecting our children from Charles Schultz
"That's not a Newton Tree, Charlie Brown! It's a Christmas Tree!"
I was eight when A Charlie Brown Christmas first aired, and I remember being surprised by Linus' Bible reading. "Can they do that on TV?" I wondered. Apparently, yes. My 81-year-old foster mother, Bev, says she was surprised at the time, too.
Seriously--this seemed daring. The non-stop secular claim that our past pop culture was saturated by religion is a line of woo-woo. It's baseless propaganda. If faith was all over the place in 1965, why was this eight year old astonished to hear a Bible reading on network TV? And I'm from the flyover state of Ohio, thank you.
Anyway, 50 years later, a Kentucky school district is censoring Charles Schultz in the name of ACLU's version of the establishment clause. (File under, "You Can't Make This Stuff Up.") Here's the story. Per my consistent Googling, it appears that none of the usual suspects--Hufington Post, Atheism Rocks! (a.k.a. Religion Dispatches), Salon, Friendly Atheist, et al. are covering this story, probably because 1) it's true, 2) the behavior it documents is indefensible, and 3) because it's true and indefensible, they don't feel all that easy about ridiculing the situation in their usual fashion.
The tragic truth is that the left-of-center press (on line and off) tends to respond with mocking scorn to any story of this type. It's the default response, and it's quite stupid, because a "laugh at the rubes" stance is not a sustainable one. Why? Because popular perceptions are not always incorrect, nor are the concerns of average folks always invalid. So what do we do when, say, Bill O'Reilly (who broke the story) makes a valid point about something as absurd as censoring a beloved 50-year-old Charles Schultz text? Well, if we're smart, we say nothing.
That, or maybe Huff-Po, et al. just haven't gotten around to the story yet. Well, I wish them luck in concocting a good and snarky dismissal to this situation, because it's clearly a case of the down-on-faith attitude run amok. I can't imagine how anyone could downplay this.
I eagerly await left-of-center coverage.
There's no war on Christmas--just on poor Charles Schultz, I guess! My, my. Write a cartoon that people are still loving half a century later, and have the state deem a portion of your script unfit for children!!
Gotta protect the kiddies from Peanuts. In the name of preserving our democracy, ya know....
Update: Meanwhile, get your A Charlie Brown Christmas stamps here. Hurry, before the Eastern Kentucky school district bans them!