Project is Timely Reminder of Merry Christmas Law
This week, Texas Values announced the launch of the 2016 “Merry Christmas Texas Project,” a statewide effort to educate and protect the acknowledgement of Christmas in public schools and ensure the religious liberty of children, parents, teachers, and school administrators. The effort builds upon the Merry Christmas Law (HB 308), authored by State Representative Dwayne Bohac, that was passed with bipartisan support by the Texas Legislature and was signed into law in 2013. The Texas Values legal and policy team helped draft the law.
Radio ads are running in Texas on this issue starting this week. The audio of the radio spot can found here:
At MerryChristmasTexas.com, Texans can educate themselves about their rights under the Merry Christmas Law and engage on this issue by downloading a summary of the law and sharing with their school district, signing a petition in support of the effort, and reporting how their schools are acknowledging Christmas.
“With our Merry Christmas Texas Project, we hope that less Texas school districts are naughty, and more are nice,” said Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values. “We hope our Merry Christmas Texas effort will educate millions of Texas public school students and parents and our over 1,200 school districts of their protections under Texas’ Merry Christmas Law. Texans across the state are rising up to say it’s time to end the ‘War on Christmas’ and the fear caused by political correctness. This common sense law provides a solid roadmap for public school officials to follow to appropriately celebrate Christmas and should help school districts respect First Amendment rights while avoiding costly litigation,” Saenz concluded.
Christmas has been recognized as a federal holiday by the United States since the 1870’s. Landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases have made it clear that such expressions and displays are permissible. Since the passage of the Merry Christmas Law, Texas Values has helped defeat efforts across the state to attack Christmas, including an attempt in Austin ISD to ban high-school students from singing Christmas carols and attempts in Frisco ISD to ban any “reference to Christmas” or any “red/green or Christmas trees” in elementary schools. Other Texas school districts have seen long and costly court cases over Christmas expressions, including the famous “Candy Cane Case” from Plano ISD.
Earlier this year, in an apparent effort to attack and cause controversy around a local Christmas display that they disagreed with, a Wisconsin-based Atheist organization called Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) tried to force Kerr County, Texas to hang a banner with a message clearly meant to take away from and disrespect Christmas. The banner was denied by the county.
Last year, this Atheist organization also attempted to erect a display at the Texas Capitol that mocked and was hostile to religious themes of Christmas, included in a display already present at the Capitol. The attacking, indecent, and disrespectful display was removed from the Capitol.
The FFRF has a long history of desperate and mean-spirited attacks on religious freedom and a string of failed frivolous lawsuits in Texas, like unsuccessfully trying to prevent Governor Perry from praying at a private event in Houston.