War on Christmas Leads to “Merry Christmas Texas” Project; Educates About First Amendment Rights
Austin, Texas – Every year we hear of stories where the government tries to ban references to Christmas in public schools and on public property. This week, Texas Values announced the launch of its annual “Merry Christmas Texas Project,” a statewide effort to educate and protect the acknowledgment of Christmas in public schools. The Merry Christmas Texas Law (HB308) authored by State Representative Dwayne Bohac which passed with bipartisan support in the Texas Legislature and was signed into law in 2013 protects the religious liberty of children, parents, teachers, and school staff. The Texas Values legal and policy team helped draft the law.
At MerryChristmasTexas.com, Texans can educate themselves about their rights under the Merry Christmas Law and learn more about the issue by downloading a summary of the law and sharing with their school district. They can also sign a petition in support of the effort, and report potential violations of the law.
Texas Values is also promoting an audio clip about the Merry Christmas Texas Law. You can listen to the clip here and we encourage media outlets to use this clip.
Christmas has been recognized as a federal holiday by the United States since the 1870s. 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 “red/green 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.
And most notably, in 2016, Texas Values successfully defended, in court, the Charlie Brown Christmas poster on behalf of Killeen ISD public school employee Dedra Shannon. The school district initially ordered that she take the poster down because of the “separation of church and state” but the school allowed other holiday decorations to remain in place. Attorney General Ken Paxton’s team also defended the poster in court on the same case.
Last year, we continued to see attacks on Christmas, as a school in Virginia banned choir songs that mention Jesus.
“We hope the Merry Christmas Texas Project means less Texas school districts are naughty, and more are nice,” said Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values. “Our goal with the Merry Christmas Texas effort is to educate millions of Texas public school students, 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.
About Texas Values
Texas Values is the largest statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to standing for faith, family, and freedom in Texas. More information is available at txvalues.org.