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Book describing white Jesus pulled from school shelves

Book describing white Jesus pulled from school shelves

The New York Daily News reports that a Christmas book has been pulled from school shelves in Volusia County, Fla., after a parent complained about its religious content and racially offensive overtones. “The Legend of the Candy Cane,” published by Zondervan, looks like a hideous read on a number of levels, asserting that Jesus is white, for starters (this season will be remembered, we hope, as the moment we laid that notion to rest once and for all).

It also presents convoluted theology regarding the origins of candy canes: “White is for Jesus because he’s white and red is for Jesus’ blood, and if you flip the candy cane upside down it makes a J for Jesus.” Ugh. How did this silly book wind up in a public school classroom?

Perhaps someone in the district didn’t review it beyond its cover, which looks perfectly secular.

For the record, according to, there are no religious connections to candy canes whatsoever.

Setting aside this particular picture book (which teachers in Volusia County have now been forced to do) do you think that the religious origins of Christmas are in any way a proper topic of discussion and reading matter for children in public schools?


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John B. Chilton

Meanwhile, let’s not forget that as first lady, Nancy Reagan endorsed a black Santa.


Yes, the religious meaning of Christmas and its origin are perfectly fine for public school teachers to address, just as are topics like Passover, Ramadan, Diwali, and so forth, and in a class dealing with culture (like social studies and world language) sometime impossible to avoid. With the caveat, of course, that it’s presented as the belief of a particular group and not as objective fact.

Bill Dilworth

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