Despite the efforts by some Grinches, Christmas is still winning in Texas because of our work. Just this month we helped achieve victory for a school Christmas program, a school greeting card effort, and a Courthouse nativity scene.
Our efforts this year and the year before are all a part of the Merry Christmas Texas Project and the 2013 Merry Christmas law. In 2013 Texas Values worked with Rep. Dwayne Bohac to write the “Merry Christmas” law, which ensures students, parents, and teachers know that they can celebrate Christmas in the classroom. Rep. Bohac’s son, Reagan, came home from school one day and told his dad he and other students were forced to call the class Christmas tree a “Holiday tree.” Rep. Bohac contacted Texas Values, and our President and Attorney, Jonathan Saenz helped draft legislation to protect Christmas in the classroom.
The law was signed by Gov. Perry and guarantees the freedom of our children, teachers, parents, and school administrators to acknowledge Christmas on school grounds without fear of censorship, persecution or litigation. The Texas Values team also created the website MerryChristmasTexas.com to help educate and provide resources and support for Texans on this important issue.
In 2013, a Frisco school crashed a school party by banning students from saying “Christmas” and the using colors “red” and “green.” After parents responded with outrage and Texas Values got involved, the ban was lifted.
In the same year, the Anderson High School choir was discouraged by the Austin ISD from singing Christmas carols at private homes after school. Texas Values and Liberty Institute sent a letter to the school district informing them of the students’ First Amendment Freedoms to ‘go a caroling.’
Just this month Texas Values worked behind the scenes in east Texas to make sure a complaint from an atheist didn’t stop a public school from putting on their Christmas production.
In another instance this month, a teacher went overboard and told a student he could not put “Merry Christmas” on a card his class was sending to soldiers overseas. In that case, the Merry Christmas law and related resources were used to resolve the issue and reversed the ban on the reference to Christmas.
Just a week ago the City of Orange removed their nativity scene before Texas Values was notified because of controversy created by an atheist. However, in the case of the nativity display in front of the Orange County Courthouse, Texas Values work resulted in a letter from Gov. Abbott and Attorney General Paxton that all together helped successfully defend and keep that nativity scene up. We feel fairly certain, though, that the over 10,000 emails sent to the City of Orange shows there was overwhelming support for the nativity scene in front of City Hall as well.
And lastly, we thank Governor Abbott for standing up for religious beliefs when an atheist group tried to demean and mock one of the most precious symbols of the Christmas season, the nativity. The atheist group, aided by Rep. Donna Howard, erected a display meant to intentionally attack and disrespect Christmas. As a result, this spiteful and inappropriate display was quickly removed from the Capitol.
All Texans should be able to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year without fear of being persecuted for their beliefs. Texas Values will continue to stay engaged on this issue and we encourage you to visit MerryChristmasTexas.com to find out more on how you can help protect Christmas in your area!