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School district being sued over live Nativity scene during ‘Christmas Spectacular’

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DUNLAP, Ind. – A school district in Indiana is facing a lawsuit over its live Nativity scene that has been a part of the school’s ‘Christmas Spectacular’ celebration for decades.

According to documents obtained by the Elkhart Truth, the program, which ends with a scriptural reading from the Bible, endorses religion in a manner that is illegal in a public school.

“The Nativity scene and the story of the birth of Jesus are, of course, well-recognized symbols of the Christian faith,” the plaintiffs wrote in a complaint. “Their presence at the Christmas Spectacular is coercive, represents and endorsement of religion by the high school and the school corporation, has no secular purpose and has the principal purpose and effect of advancing religion.”

The complaint, which was filed on behalf of a student and his father, asks the U.S. District Court to put a stop to the live Nativity scene in the future.

Concord Community Schools Superintendent John Trout says the district will not back down from the performance, adding that it has been a part of the holiday program for 30 years.

“As always, if a student or parent finds objectionable any portion of the Spectacular, or any school assignment for that matter, that student is free to opt out of the performance or assignment,” Trout said. “For more than 30 years, the Spectacular has been an important part of the Concord High School holiday experience. It will continue to be so.”

Although school officials say participation is voluntary, the Freedom From Religion Foundation says that doesn’t make it okay.

Since the plaintiff is involved in the music department, he will come into “direct and unwelcome contact with the objectionable portion of the Christmas Spectacular,” the lawsuit alleges.

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