A school in Denmark has cancelled its traditional Christmas service that's held every year at a church amid fears that it would offend non-Christian children and parents.
"We took the decision because we have children of different faiths at the school than Protestants," said school Principal Marianne Vedersø Schmidt in a letter, according to a Daily Caller translation on Tuesday of a TV2 report.
"We are very pleased with the cooperation with the churches and will certainly continue with this cooperation as it gives all children a cultural and generic knowledge — but the Christmas service is also preaching and it must therefore be up to the individual families whether they wish to participate in private," Schmidt added.
The move has sparked criticism from some prominent members of society, however, including Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, who is from Graested, the town where the school is located.
Rasmussen reportedly urged the school to reverse its decision, while Graested Mayor Kim Valentin argued that the service should at least be made optional.
"We are a Christian country and we should be proud of it," Valentin wrote on Facebook earlier this week. "It shouldn't be mandatory, but our church and especially Christmas is an important part of our culture."
RT provided further translation of the TV2 report, where Mette Brüel-Holler, a parent of two enrolled daughters at the school, added: "I don't see why our tradition has to be taken away from us, just because someone else at the school believes in something else.
"I come from a small community, where the church is important, and these traditions are beautiful. I remember enjoying them myself as a child, and they are a fundamental part of Christmas," the parent insisted.
Like many Western European nations, belief in God and church membership has been declining in Denmark.
In September 2016 it was reported that as many as 10,000 people left the Church of Denmark over a three month period, in part due to a nationwide atheist campaign urging people to question the divinity of Jesus and the importance of faith in God.
Anders Gadegaard, the dean of Copenhagen's Church of Our Lady, argued at the time that while many are leaving the faith, baptisms in the country are also on the rise.
"It's obvious that when millions [of kroner] are spent on increasing visibility and advertising for withdrawals, it will have an effect, but at the same time we are seeing an increase in the number of enrollments [and] a rising interest in belonging to the Church of Denmark," Gadegaard said back then.