We are in the heart of Christmas season, so that means it’s time for the tolerance Grinches to come out of their closets once again. And, despite its dumpster fire excesses, it is only fitting that the year 2016 close with the memory of these recent incidents and examples of America’s perennial War on Christmas.
1. No to “religious-themed” displays of Santa deity
An Oregon school district instructed staff to sacrifice Christmas symbols at the altar of “diversity.” According to a memo sent by the Hillsboro School District, school staff could still decorate their offices, but were asked to “be respectful and sensitive to the diverse perspectives and beliefs of our community and refrain from using religious-themed decorations or images like Santa Claus.”
Santa Claus is now too much for this Portland-adjacent school district.
2. Emergency Christmas tree memo
Government officials threatened to trash a Christmas tree in a cubicle at the Department of Veterans Affairs office in Philadelphia. A VA employee, who asked to remain anonymous, informed The Washington Times of one “chilling” memo:
“There is a Christmas tree, ornaments, and decorations in the cubicle across from Luis Stevenson’s desk (the same cubicle where the scanner is housed),” VA supervisor Rebecca Cellucci told workers in a late November email marked “high” importance. “If this belongs to you, please claim it. Otherwise, it will be discarded on Friday.”
3. It’s religious censorship, Charlie Brown
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is alleged that a middle school staffer’s First Amendment rights were violated after school officials tried to censor a “Charlie Brown Christmas” holiday poster, as it also contained a Bible quote.
CBS DFW reported:
A Patterson Middle School staffer had placed the poster depicting a “Charlie Brown Christmas” on a school door. It showed Linus and the line from the Bible “unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior.”
The principal told the staffer that the drawing could remain, but the biblical quote had to go.
A.G. Paxton joined a lawsuit against the school, invoking the state’s 2013 “Merry Christmas law” (under then-Gov. Rick Perry) that permits biblical references to Christmas material. A district court judge eventually ruled in favor of the teacher’s rights, restoring the display of the poster.
4. “Civil liberties” triggering
A lawsuit taken up by the ACLU forced the small Indiana community of Knightstown to take down a cross from its Christmas tree, after the local town council decided it could not win a legal battle involving the ACLU.
The local resident who filed the lawsuit claimed that the existence of a cross-bearing Christmas tree on public land “violated his civil liberties.”
5. No school choirs for this Tar Heel Christmas concert
A list of school choirs in Wake County, N.C., were prohibited from performing at an off-campus Christmas celebration after a lawsuit from the Freedom from Religion Foundation, which regularly brings cases against any semblance of theism in the public square.
According to the Raleigh News & Observer:
“The advice of Tharrington Smith (the district’s attorney) is that it put the district in the position of potentially endorsing a religious viewpoint,” a school district spokesman told the Observer.
6. The war on … “holiday”?!
And if all the Christmas holiday sterilization on America’s college campuses wasn’t enough for you, one professor at Texas Woman’s University now wants you to stop saying the word “holiday” in association with the season altogether.
An online post on the university website suggested holding a “secular celebration,” offering suggestions on how to avoid “missteps” that might be beyond the diverse and multicultural pale … or something like that.
Consider naming the party, if it is scheduled for December, without using the word “holiday." "Holiday” connotes religious tradition and may not apply to all employees. For educational institutions, a December gathering may instead be called an “end of semester” party. For a business office, an “end of (fiscal) year” party may be more appropriate.
Further benevolent suggestions:
- Try to assemble and include a diverse group of employees in the planning of the party. This would include, as much as possible, non-Christian employees of Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and other religions, as well as non-believers.
- Avoid religious symbolism, such as Santa Claus, evergreen trees or a red nosed reindeer, which are associated with Christmas traditions, when sending out announcements or decorating for the party. Excellent alternatives are snowflakes, snowmen or winter themes not directly associated with a particular holiday or religion.
- Avoid playing music associated with a faith tradition, such as Christmas carols. Consider a playlist of popular, celebratory party music instead.
I’d just say forget the whole thing and grab lunch together, but the potential presence of a Christmas tree in the restaurant might send someone into shock. You have to be careful about these things, after all.
The attempts to get around the fact that countless objects and events during the winter season revolve around a major Christian holiday get more absurd every year, it seems. And even though our president-elect has assured that we’re going to start saying “Merry Christmas” again, that probably won’t deter the P.C. police and the secularist Grinches from continuing to try their darndest to ruin the holiday for the rest of us.
Either way, the season is still upon us, and that’s always cause for joy. Eat a cookie, drink some egg nogg, lend a helping hand, enjoy your priceless family’s company, and have a Merry Christmas, everyone.
Or don’t, your call. Just don’t try to ruin it for everyone else.
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Nate Madden is a Staff Writer for Conservative Review, focusing on religious freedom, jihadism, and the judiciary. He previously served as the Director of Policy Relations for the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative. A Publius Fellow, John Jay Fellow, Citadel Parliamentary Fellow and National Journalism Center alumnus, Nate’s writing has previously appeared in several religious and news publications. Follow him @NateMadden_IV.