A Nebraska school had to reprint its yearbook after putting a Christian cross on its cover. And that’s not even the first religion controversy facing Manchester Elementary School in Elkhorn, Nebraska this year.
Here’s what the cover of the yearbook looked like this year: a bunch of inspirational words shaped like a giant cross.
According to the Omaha World-Herald, the cover was chosen after a vote by fifth-graders at the school. That’s how they’ve selected the cover for years. The design is actually one of dozens of options on the website for the company Memory Book, and this particular one is described as a “beautiful cover perfect for parochial schools.”
Machester Elementary is obviously not a parochial school. And an adult should never have included it as one of the options students could choose.
So which adult failed to do that, approved the design selection, and never realized it was a problem? We have no idea. But when the school’s Parent Teacher Organization saw the books with the cover, they quickly reprinted the books with a different design.
That was the right move. The students never received the Christian-themed books.
Part of why this is getting any attention is because, in January, the principal at the same school was pressured to resign after telling teachers not to do anything Christmas-related because she felt it was illegally promoting Christianity — that included not handing out candy canes or singing Christmas carols.
She was trying to avoid accidental proselytizing… and went completely overboard. (Candy canes have nothing to do with Jesus no matter how many Christian memes say otherwise. And plenty of Christmas carols are secular in nature.)
As I said then, I thought the outcry was overblown since this was nothing more than a well-intentioned mistake by the principal.
The yearbook fiasco? That’s an actual problem. And the school handled it properly by getting new books. (If they hadn’t done that, you can bet a group like the Freedom From Religion Foundation would have contacted them to find out why they were promoting Christianity.)
But conservatives like Todd Starnes are trying to blow this incident completely out of proportion, claiming that the school is somehow anti-religious and that this school is waging a “culture jihad.”
The idea that these virtues are somehow tainted because they were written in the shape of a cross is disgusting.
And the entire sordid affair is made even worse because a bunch of godless grownups overrode the vote of the students. Sorry, kids — but you have to leave your faith at the schoolhouse door.
Something sinister is going on in that school district. It was bad enough when they banned the Baby Jesus, but now they want to completely eradicate anything remotely related to the Christian faith.
As usual, Starnes gets his facts completely wrong. (It’s a prerequisite for working at FOX News.)
The grownups weren’t “godless” — they just realized that promoting a religion, which the cover obviously did, was wrong.
They never banned Baby Jesus. Or Jesus. Or Christmas. The principal made a mistake but she never had the chance to make things right because angry conservatives unleashed an online mob against her. Students who wanted to were always allowed to celebrate the holiday.
The school doesn’t want to eradicate Christianity. They just recognize that a public school can’t be in the business of promoting religion, and this cover was promoting religion.
The school deserves credit for correcting a mistake. Starnes and other ignorant conservatives act like a neutral yearbook cover is an assault against their faith. To them, anything that doesn’t explicitly promote Christianity is actively against it. They’re wrong.
It’s not like the current yearbook has Satan on the cover. It’s just a blue sky. That’s what Starnes says is “culture jihad,” because he’s only capable of one emotion: irrational, ignorant anger.