Concord holiday show to keep Nativity scene, add Hanukkah and Kwanza elements

From YouTube / Ed Man

Concord High School's 2015 Christmas Spectacular will still include a live Nativity scene, in addition to covering the history of Hanukkah and Kwanza, school officials say.

According to The Elkhart Truth, an attorney for Concord Community Schools says that is perfectly legal.

Earlier this year, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) filed a lawsuit against the school district on behalf of a Concord student and his father, saying that Concord High School's live Nativity scene illegally endorses religion.

“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 Freedom From Religion Foundation stated. “The performance has a clearly devotional message and thus would be appropriate in a church setting, but not in a public school.”

Concord Community Schools' attorney Thomas Wheeler argues that the lawsuit was based on the 2014 Christmas Spectacular and that the 2015 show is substantially different.

“The 2015 ’Spirit of the Season’ portion of the Christmas Spectacular recognizes the three major holidays in December, Chanukah, Kwanza, and Christmas, with a brief historical perspective through narration by a student and music and symbols from each tradition,” explains Scott Spradling, Concord’s director of music.

The school district is arguing that a live Nativity scene on school grounds isn't necessarily unconstitutional, but rather that it depends on the context.