The New York City schools will allow the display of menorahs and Islamic crescents this holiday season, but nativity scenes are forbidden because, the school district claims, the depiction of the birth of Christ does not represent an historic event.
The menorahs and crescents will be allowed, the district says, because they have a secular dimension, while the nativity scene is “purely religious”.
I’m having a hard time keeping my gag reflex from kicking in. I’d bet a week’s pay that the administrators of the New York City schools understand exactly what they’re doing.
First, they’re wrong about the historicity of the birth of Jesus. I’d like to see them prove their claim in a court of law.
Second, the menorah was a ritual object in the temple, so claiming that banning the nativity scenes from their schools is based on the doctrine of church/state separation is a lie.
Third, the First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. How does a display featuring the nativity violate this amendment? (Hint: It doesn’t.)
The fifth-graders in the Sunday School class I taught on the Christian foundation of the United States understood the purpose of the First Amendment. It was intended only to prevent the establishment of a government-controlled Church of the United States. I doubt the framers of the Constitution imagined the day would come when the First Amendment would be used to justify government-sponsored eradication of all mention of the Savior from public life.