Monday, October 17, 2005

Conservative Legal and Educator Groups Launch Joint Christmas Project

Today, Liberty Counsel and Christian Educators Association International ("CEAI") kicked off their joint Christmas project in Washington, D.C. Liberty Counsel is a national, religious liberty public interest law firm with offices in Florida and Virginia and hundreds of affiliate attorneys in all fifty states. CEAI has 8,000 members comprised of public school teachers and administrators. CEAI is a conservative alternative to the National Education Association.

For the past three years, Liberty Counsel has conducted its "Friend or Foe" Christmas campaign. This campaign provides education about celebrating Christmas in public schools and on public property. Liberty Counsel offers pro bono legal advice and defense to government entities that do not censor Christmas, but Liberty Counsel will file suit whenever Christmas is censored.

CEAI's 8,000 public school teachers and administrators are now joining forces with Liberty Counsel in a national Christmas campaign. CEAI educators will distribute Liberty Counsel's legal memo (in PDF**) about Christmas to their local school districts and government officials. They will also advise Liberty Counsel of any violations of the law so that Liberty Counsel can take whatever legal action is necessary.

Public school students have the right to distribute religious Christmas cards to their classmates, wear clothing or jewelry with religious themes or messages, and sing Christmas carols during choral or talent performances. Teachers have the right to display nativity scenes alongside secular holiday displays and may include Christmas in a discussion about the holidays. In the past few years, students have been suspended for distributing candy canes with an attached card describing the Christian celebration of Christmas. Students have been told they may not say "Merry Christmas," may not sing Christian Christmas carols, or may not wear red and green. These and other forms of discrimination against religious viewpoints will be challenged in court.

Outside the school setting, local, state and federal governments may display nativity scenes or religious greetings alongside secular holiday displays or greetings. Public employees may wear jewelry or clothing with religious themes if other employees are permitted to don secular themes.

Finn Laursen, Executive Director of CEAI, commented: "Christmas is not constitutionally taboo in public schools or in public places. Our teachers and administrators will be the 'eyes and ears' in their communities to ensure that the 'reason for the season' remains part of the holiday celebration."

Mathew D. Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel, stated: "With a cavalry of thousands of public school teachers and administrators joining forces with hundreds of religious liberty attorneys, we intend to stop the Grinch from stealing Christmas. We will be the friend of government officials who do the right thing, and the foe of those who don't."



**To open PDF documents get a free Adobe PDF Reader

You can also download the Memo in MS Word