15/12/2009 09:03 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Schools Remove Jesus From The Nativity

A vicar has complained that schools are performing Nativity plays - without Jesus as the starring character.

The Rev Roger Widdecombe, vicar of St Paul's in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, told the Daily Telegraph: "I have seen performances where the central character has not been Jesus.

"Instead he is replaced by an angel or a sheep, and I think that's a shame.

"I'm a big fan of keeping the nativity as a nativity, although I realise the performance has to engage youngsters and there aren't that many well-written nativities out there."

This does seem a bit bonkers - if you're going to perform the Nativity, there's not much point without the whole baby and son-of-God thing, is there?

But the Telegraph says some schools have "removed explicitly religious messages from their re-enactments of the birth of Christ for fear of upsetting pupils of other faiths".

Lots of schools don't even perform the Nativity at all, of course - with many opting for plays like Snow White or A Christmas Carol instead.

The Daily Telegraph says recent Christmas plays put on by schools near the Rev Widdecombe's parish include Jack and the Beanstalk, Whoops a Daisy Angel and The Grumpy Sheep.

For those not familiar with the latter, apparently it tells the story of a miserable sheep who cheers up after travelling to meet Jesus in the stable.

The saddest thing I've heard, though, is that some schools have done away with Christmas plays altogether for the older children.

Why? Because the 10- and 11-year-olds need to concentrate on their SATs.

Do your children's schools still perform Nativity plays or do they come up with an alternative? Do you see a problem with this?

Source: Daily Telegraph