Ghost of "War on Christmas" Past Continues to Haunt Plano ISD as Judge Lets Case Live On

Categories: Legal Battles

war on christmas.jpg
This case has rattled through the halls of federal and appeals courts for eight years now -- the Ghost of War on Christmas Past, a moaning hydra who's been sliced, diced and now winnowed down to one remaining question on which a magistrate says three Plano families may proceed: In preventing students from handing out Jesus-themed pencils and candy canes, was the Plano Independent School District acting unconstitutionally?

You may recall that Johnathan Morgan and some other kids tried to pass out "Jesus Is The Reason For The Season" pencils and candy canes with cards explaining their Christian origin at a Plano elementary "Winter Party." District officials said it violated PISD policy. Bill O'Reilly said this was the new front in the War on Christmas. After a warning from the school that the pencils and candy would be confiscated, the parents told their kids to hand them out anyway. And so the kids were made pawns in a perpetual, low-stakes culture war. Or, as U.S. Magistrate Judge Don Bush put it in his recommendations: "The genesis of this case is well known to all. The story begins with a simple candy cane and, like the message conveyed, has no end."

Since then, the principals have been granted immunity from prosecution. Both the district court and the U.S. Appeals Court for the Fifth Circuit have ruled that the school's policies were constitutional, since they said nothing about religious materials. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case. But last week, Bush further narrowed what relief the families may seek.

He opined that the plaintiffs can't seek injunctive or declaratory relief regarding PISD's policies, which limit when and how materials may be handed out at schools. They violate neither the Texas Constitution nor the United States Constitution. However, they may continue on the question of whether PISD violated their constitutional rights in the enforcement of those policies. "The Court finds that PISD has not met its burden of showing a compelling interest in the manner in which it prevented the three children from exercising their rights to religious expression."

Translated: No, really, what's the harm, PISD? The school isn't handing 'em out, so an atheist is free to tell the wee proselytizers to go hang.

That question, Bush wrote, should be preserved for a bench trial.Plano Candy Cane Report

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Trekatch
Trekatch

The funny thing is, in my school district, the kids aren't allowed to hand out candy at all.  So the message attached wouldn't have been the problem, it's the candy that it was attached to that would have been forbidden.  Also, the kids aren't allowed to hand out anything during class. 

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Someday, when they die, they are going to have to explain to GOD why freaking candy canes were so damned important.

Think about it. Candy canes. Pieces of sugar which were curved to hang on German Xmas trees, NOT representing Christ. So, the family is stupid---yea, I said it. STOOOOOPID, to put their kid up in a case based on a freaking lie. Want him to do something Christian? Have him collect coats for homeless kids. Have him collect pennies for Afghan girls' education. But noooooo, we have to have a court case to invent a "war on Xmas." Christian narcissists!!! Give me a break. Jesus is NOT proud of you, happy with you or even supporting this. Get on your knees, get humble  and get out of court.

Ed D.
Ed D.

I look forward to more explicitly Wiccan handouts this Spring. Should go over well.

Woodtronic
Woodtronic

Jesus is not the reason for the season, actually winter solstice and a Pagan holiday called Saturnalia is.

Halldecker
Halldecker

Follow the money.

There's a "Christian" law firm handling it por nada for the parents.  CLF has a mailing list,  it's constantly plowing for more money to prevent the Heathens from denying the right to Praise Christ in schools.

That's why this is still going on,  there'll be another fund raising letter going out this week,  thanks to their efforts it'll now go to trial.

RTGolden
RTGolden

One is struck by the varying effectiveness of missionary practices.  Historically Christianity, and most currently Islam, practiced 'Conversion by the sword'  to varying degrees of success.  On the deity side, the plus was there were a lot of people willing to convert under those conditions.  The minus was, your pool of potential converts rapidly shrank, as they were put to the death for various transgressions of sacred lore they never heard of and scarcely understood.

Then there is conversion by holy mission.  This is where the erstwhile missionary travels to some primitive locale and preaches their preferred sanctimonious screed to the savages, while trying to show people who have been farming/hunting/fishing in that location for thousands of years how to do it better.  I suspect the success rate of this form of missionary work varies from grudging acceptance to humorous inclusion to, in some cases, being the main course for dinner (and would you like a side of fried plantain with your Preacher Pasta?).

Here we have a case of 'Conversion by Attrition'.  It seems the goal of this from of missionary work is to wear down the cretinous heretics and outright pagans through the use of legal jargon, bureaucratic nonsense, and a vast wasting of time and money.  Basically you want to bore people into salvation.  Not sure how this is working out, as this story only seems to crop up every 16 months or so, and all anyone has to say is.. "Is this STILL going on??"

Paul
Paul

 What is even sadder is that the story that was attached to  the candy canes has no basis in fact.

Realtime
Realtime

It means these fools will continue to waste ten of thousands of our tax dollars so they can try to impose their religious beliefs on others. An inquiring mind wants to know how much money has been wasted on this issue and how many teachers could have been hired with those tax dollars. The court should have told those folks to stick the candy canes where the sun doesn't shine.  

Guest
Guest

I don't understand the end game here. Is the continued pursuit of this case an effort to change a policy that was already changed long ago, or do the plaintiffs just want money because their kids weren't allowed to give out candy canes?

Also, if my kid hands out candy canes that say "That Jesus story is bull", will these same parents work so hard to protect her right to do so?

Justin Julian
Justin Julian

Legal precedent.  A ruling here would be used in other cases in Texas, and probably nationwide, if it's found their actions were unconstitutional.  The plaintiffs want it shown they had a right to hand out what they did so that others won't have to fight the same fight.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Oh yeah, I'm sure the handing out of Atheist Cookies will go over real well.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

So this means _______________.Too lazy to read the legalese.

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