Woden ISD Christmas pageant spurs religious debate - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Woden ISD Christmas pageant spurs religious debate

Over 400 orders have been taken for this t-shirt following a debate, widely on social media, concerning a Woden ISD school Christmas play.  (Source: KTRE Staff) Over 400 orders have been taken for this t-shirt following a debate, widely on social media, concerning a Woden ISD school Christmas play. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Woden resident Retha Todd reviews the orders she’s taken this week when she got angry over another parent wanting religious aspects of the play removed.  (Source: KTRE Staff) Woden resident Retha Todd reviews the orders she’s taken this week when she got angry over another parent wanting religious aspects of the play removed. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Woden ISD superintendent Brady Taylor referenced the Merry Christmas Bill of 2013 before making the decision to okay the annual Christmas play. (Source: KTRE Staff) Woden ISD superintendent Brady Taylor referenced the Merry Christmas Bill of 2013 before making the decision to okay the annual Christmas play. (Source: KTRE Staff)
WODEN, TX (KTRE) -

Christmas plays are happening at most schools, but in Woden, an elementary school production is causing some religious debate.

It started on social media and mushroomed into something bigger.

Across the street from Woden Elementary grandparent Retha Todd looked over the 400 orders she's received for a T-shirt she designed on a the back of an envelope.

"It says, 'We believe in CHRISTmas, with Christ in big letters and m-a-s,” Todd, a supporter of the play, said.

Todd had become engrossed in Facebook posts made by a parent who opposes the content of a Christmas play performed each year by Woden elementary school age children.

"It took me all day Saturday to read the woman's posts,” Todd said.

Bonnie Bennett has since changed her privacy settings. Bennett didn't want to go camera, but she sent a Facebook message. It says, "I am just concerned that there are so many religious aspects to the play. I just want a secular Christmas program at a public school."

Woden administrators referred to the 2013 Merry Christmas Bill just to make sure children could perform a Nativity scene. They can as long as characters such as Charlie Brown and Rudolph have roles too.  

"We have the secular symbols such as Frosty and Santa Claus and things like that, that we can do,” said Woden ISD Superintendent Brady Taylor. “We've always done it. We've never had just a show of...you know, we'll have elves there."

The play will go on. The children won't be the only ones dressed up for a role.

"We have always had Christ in Chistmas,” Todd said.

Taylor said adults on both sides of the issue could have handled the situation better. He said he wants Friday morning's play to be fun and happy for the children.

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