Dispute Over School’s Use of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ Bible Quote Draws Ken Paxton’s Ire

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Michael MarksDecember 12, 2016 11:43 am

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry is said to be the front-runner to head the Department of Energy in the Trump administration. Energy was one of the departments Perry said he would close if elected president in 2012. But he couldn’t remember the agency’s name during a 2011 debate, leading to the now-infamous ‘Oops moment.’

“The third agency of government I would do away with – education, commerce, and let’s see … I can’t, the third one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops,” he said.

The other finalists for the energy job are Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, as well as another Texan – Ray Washburne is a Dallas entrepreneur who once chaired the Republican National Committee.

Perry was critical of Trump during the Republican primary, calling him a cancer on conservatism.

A Bible verse featured in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” sparked a dispute between Killeen Independent School District administrators and Attorney General Ken Paxton.

In one of the scenes from the Christmas classic, Charlie Brown says: “I guess I really don’t know what Christmas is all about. Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”

And he gets an answer.

“Sure Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about,” says Linus, Charlie Brown’s blanket-carrying, thumb-sucking buddy.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a savior,” Linus says. “Which is Christ the Lord. That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

That’s a verse from the Bible’s book of Luke. The message was pasted above a cut-out of Linus in Patterson Middle School.

District administrators told the employee who put it up to remove the verse. The district released a statement on Friday saying that employees are free to celebrate the holidays however they choose, but they are not permitted to impose their personal beliefs on students.

That drew the ire of Attorney General Paxton. He’s called on the school board to reverse the decision. In a statement, Paxton called it an attack on religious liberty and a violation of the First Amendment and state law.

This news might sound a little like cash registers to officials at the University of Texas at Austin:
“The search for USF’s new head football coach is finally over,” reports Tampa Bay TV station WFTS. “The bulls making it official today, hiring former Texas and Louisville coach Charlie Strong – the fourth head coach in USF history.”

Strong getting the South Florida job will save UT-Austin millions of dollars over the next two years. Strong’s $5 million a year contract was guaranteed by the university even if he got fired. Which he did. But since he got a new job, UT-Austin is only on the hook for half of Strong’s new salary, which hasn’t been released. For example, if USF pays Strong $2 million a year, Texas would only have to pay him $1 million, instead of $5 million.