War on Christmas Update: Merry Christmas Texas Project Protects Religious Freedom in Texas Public Schools
Austin, TX— This Christmas season, Texas Values is continuing the tradition of the “Merry Christmas Texas” project, which empowers public schools and individuals to use their constitutional rights to freely acknowledge and educate students about Christmas. In 2013, the Merry Christmas Law (H.B. 208), authored by State Representative Dwayne Bohac, officially became law with bipartisan support in the Texas Legislature. This law protects the religious liberty of children, parents, teachers, and school staff to acknowledge Christmas on school grounds without fear of censorship, persecution, or litigation. The ‘Merry Christmas Texas’ project was launched shortly after this bill was made law to continue to spread awareness on First Amendment rights.
Jonathan Saenz, President and Attorney of Texas Values, released the following statement:
“It is okay to say, ‘Merry Christmas’ in public schools. We hope less schools are naughty and more are nice towards Christmas this year. Christmas is a special time in Texas, and no one should be banning our kids, their parents, the teachers or staff from freely decorating, educating, and celebrating a belief in Jesus during the Christmas season.”
Christmas encompasses the story of Jesus Christ and has been recognized as a federal holiday in the United States since the 1870s. Yet, the 21st century has been filled with many ongoing attacks on the celebration, acknowledgment, and education of Christmas, a federal holiday, in public schools. Our First Amendment rights guarantee that teachers and students have a right to celebrate and express their beliefs when it comes to Christmas greetings, decorations, and the meaning of the holiday.
Texas Values helped defend a Killeen school employee’s Christmas decoration that included a quote from the movie character “Linus” in the Charlie Brown Christmas case. The school district directed a public school employee of Killeen ISD to take down her decoration while allowing other displays that represented other non-Christmas holidays to remain up. Texas Values and the Attorney General’s team defended the poster in court and won.
For more examples of how the Merry Christmas Texas Project has protected religious freedom in Texas public schools, visit our blog post, “Merry Christmas” Project Educates About First Amendment Rights.
If you want to learn more about the rights that teachers, staff members, parents, and students have at Texas public schools when it comes to the topic of Christmas, visit MerryChristmasTexas.com for more information.
To interview a member of the Texas Values policy team about the “Merry Christmas Texas” project and First Amendment rights please email [email protected] or call (737) 314-2450.
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.