"A Charlie Brown Christmas"

Friday Five: Baby Jesus thefts, 'Charlie Brown Christmas,' Jews help refugees, RNS wins 'Jeopardy'

Friday Five: Baby Jesus thefts, 'Charlie Brown Christmas,' Jews help refugees, RNS wins 'Jeopardy'

Most weeks, Friday Five wraps up the week in religion reporting.

But here’s a secret about this week: I’ve been mostly away from my computer screen, celebrating Christmas with my family.

So there’s an excellent chance I’ve missed important and/or interesting news in the world of the Godbeat. In that case, please don’t hesitate to share links in the comments section or by tweeting us at @GetReligion.

In the meantime, let’s dive into the Friday Five:

1. Religion story of the week: In case you missed it in the midst of your own holiday festivities, I wrote earlier this week about the New York Times’ front-page Sunday feature on a national trend of Baby Jesus being swiped from Nativity scenes.

I particularly loved the story’s dateline, which I thought was brilliant: Bethlehem, Pa.

In related coverage, McClatchy had this intriguing headline on the day after Christmas:

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'Happy Holidays Charlie Brown'? So what happened in that Kentucky play?

'Happy Holidays Charlie Brown'? So what happened in that Kentucky play?

So what happened? What did Linus van Pelt say?

I am referring, of course, to the controversy that unfolded this past week in Johnson County, Ken., where school officials -- after receiving complaints from some in their community -- removed the speech by Linus at the pivotal moment in an elementary school production of "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Click here for the previous GetReligion post focusing on the Lexington Herald-Leader coverage of this Christmas wars showdown.

Here was my main point in my previous post: If Linus could not recite the key lines from the Gospel of St. Luke -- in response to Charlie Brown's anguished cry of "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?" -- then what was Linus going to say? It appeared, in previous coverage, that no one asked that question.

In the comments on that previous post, several readers tipped us off to what happened. So here is an update from the Herald-Leader, to stay with the same news source used before.

Though Johnson County school officials deleted a Bible passage from a student production of A Charlie Brown Christmas despite protests, several adults in the audience at Thursday’s performance recited the lines normally spoken by the character Linus, a video shows.
The scene at W.R. Castle Elementary School followed a firestorm of controversy in Johnson County this week.

And there is more information later:

Castle Elementary principal Jeff Cochran said in an interview Thursday that as instructed by school officials, no student in the play performed the scene in which Linus recites the passage from the Bible in explaining the meaning of Christmas:
“Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in the manger. And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men.’ ”

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