After-Christmas tale: Dodgeville stands up to Religious Right bullies.

Christmas was three months ago, but we're still seeing fallout from a phony Religious Right campaign to convince Americans that the holiday was under attack by advocates of church-state separation.

The latest footnote is worthy of attention: Public school officials in Dodgeville, Wisc., are standing up to the Religious Right bullies who lied about their district and demanding an apology and financial remuneration.

Dodgeville was zeroed in on by attorney Mat Stayer, a crony of TV preacher Jerry Falwell. Staver's inaptly named Liberty Counsel accused the school of rewriting the song "Silent Night" to remove religious references.

Right-wing spinmeisters at the Fox News Channel played up Dodgeville big time, but it turns out their story was full of holes. The school had merely presented a play titled "The Little Tree's Christmas Gift." The play, as The Washington Post explained, was copyrighted in 1988 by a church choir director. It's about a scrawny Christmas tree that wants a home for the holidays. The play uses several familiar Christmas carols with different lyrics to fit its theme of homelessness.

Dodgeville had to spend time and money correcting the record--and deal with hate mail. Now the school system is seeking amends. Its...

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