Wednesday, December 13, 2006

'Twas Two Weeks Before Christmas

Orlando, FL - With less than two weeks until Christmas, Liberty Counsel is still being inundated with calls from all across the nation relating to the annual Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign. Below are just a few of many examples:Arkansas - McNair Middle School in Fayetteville removed a teacher’s Nativity scene and Star of David from a larger display that also included secular holiday decorations. School officials were concerned about the religious aspects of the display. After Terry Rhodes called Liberty Counsel for help, he was given a legal memorandum showing that the display was constitutional. Mr. Rhodes gave school authorities the information and the school reversed its decision. Mr. Rhodes was allowed to return the Nativity and Star of David to the display. Publicly sponsored religious symbols are permissible when displayed in the context of other secular symbols of the holiday.Ohio - A teacher in a public school was instructed not to say "Merry Christmas" this year. She has always decorated her classroom with a wreath on her door that says "Merry Christmas." Another teacher in another school in the same district was also told not to say "Merry Christmas." Liberty Counsel sent a letter and Christmas legal memo to the district superintendent. At the most recent school board meeting, an administrator advised that the teachers could now say "Merry Christmas."Tennessee - Cumberland County received a threatening letter from the ACLU about a Nativity scene outside the county courthouse. However, the county has created an open forum for the public and local businesses to display business logos, statues and other items. Private religious speech in a public forum is clearly permissible. In fact, if the county banned religious viewpoints from a public forum, such action would be unconstitutional. Liberty Counsel is working with the county and will offer pro bono defense if the ACLU files suit. Such a suit would be frivolous.Wisconsin - A program coordinator in a public school was told by the principal that the musical program that was scheduled to take place in a church was going to be moved to a location with inadequate seating and acoustics. Liberty Counsel sent a legal memo about Christmas to the school. After receiving the memo, the principal decided to keep the event at the church, and the program was held in the church as originally planned.There is a war on Christmas in this country. Every victory goes a long way toward winning the battle, but we must not take Christmas or our religious freedom for granted. Celebrating Christmas is the classic example of religious accommodation mandated by the First Amendment. If Christmas is silenced or censored, we all lose a piece of our religious freedom.