The "Merry Christmas Bill" is Headed to the Governor's Desk

merryxmasbill.jpg
merrychristmasbill.com
The Texas House and Senate have both passed the "Merry Christmas Bill," which allows public schools to openly celebrate Christmas without fear of legal action. The bill specifically allows teachers to say "traditional greetings" for "traditional winter celebrations," such as Christmas and Hanukkah and, theoretically, others that aren't specifically mentioned in the measure.

The bill, introduced by Representative Dwayne Bohac, a Houstong Republican, also allows schools to teach the history of traditional winter holidays and set up displays as long as they include more than one religion or a religion and some sort of "secular scene or symbol." Schools however cannot include any messages that support adherence to any given religious belief.

"Our school officials and teachers have enough on their plate without having to worry about frivolous lawsuits for celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah," Bohac said in a press release introducing the bill. Reaction to the bill has been mixed, and nearly every news source reporting on it frames it as a counterattack in the perpetual War on Christmas.

See also:
Texas Atheist Aron Ra Is Deeply Irritated by Houston Rep's "Merry Christmas" Bill

The president of the American Federation of Teachers' Texas branch, Linda Bridges, told Austin-based KTBC that she doesn't see the need for such legislation.

"I think I can honestly say I've never had a question from a teacher about what they can and can't do around holidays," said Bridges. "I think we really have to say does this help education when we are caught up in discussions that have become pure partisan discussions that is not the way we should be looking at education."

A spokesperson for the ACLU of Texas gave KTBC the following statement: "We hope administrators and teachers remain mindful that it is of utmost importance that it's parents who teach their children about matters of faith, not public schools."

Russell Glasser, co-host of the Austin public-access TV show "The Atheist Experience," told Raw Story today that he believes this bill is the latest way Christians try to maintain an illusion of persecution. "They're claiming that they're under oppression," he said, "and they use this as an excuse all the time to pass laws that basically codify Christianity and make sure that everybody hears about it as often as possible."

Some superintendents are in support of the bill, which is understandable since it blocks a source of possible legal action against schools. Apparently even Santa Claus impersonators are weighing in -- a cadre of them were in the House gallery when the bill came up and rang sleigh bells in celebration when it passed.

Bohac announced its passage on his Facebook page:

I'm glad. It is Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza whether you celebrate or not so why be offended if someone wishes you a happy one. What is silly is that there are people who actually sue because they are wished well. I'm sorry time had to be taken to deal with this but I'm pleased the issue has been addressed.

The bill is now headed to the governor, where it's expected to be signed. A spokesman for Governor Rick Perry told the Huffington Post that "This bill is about the freedom of religion, not freedom from religion, and Gov. Perry supports it."

My Voice Nation Help
21 comments
Americano
Americano

So Ramadan is ok and Christmas isn't?  I get it now.

lrk1246
lrk1246

This is just ridiculous.  Not so much the law but the idea that the law is needed.  There is no reason that anyone can't say Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, etc.   Why do we need another law for it.  I truly believe that politicians pass laws for the sole purpose of having something to do, not for the need of it.

Chuck_Schick
Chuck_Schick

Can you say "Feliz Navidad?" Or does is have to all be in English?

Sia1
Sia1

Stupid bill, but I'd love to see video of the Santa Claus impersonators.  I assume they were in costume.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Merry fucking Christmas, Texas schools still suck at education

Bryan Purdy
Bryan Purdy

Wow. Way to stick with the important stuff, Rick.

CrackerDaddy
CrackerDaddy

Because this will solve SOOOOOOOOO many of the critical problems Texas is facing.  IJS

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

I am not an atheist.  However, I strongly object to this legislation.  I am also highly offended that our society has turned a religious celebration (of many and differing religions) into a commercial event.

I think that if you are offended by a sincere wish or greeting by the practicioner of  some religion, then you should lighten up and get a life.  Perhaps you should respond with a sincere wish or greeting of your own.

I do not see the difference between what goes on in our society between Thanksgiving and Christmas; and, what the merchants were doing in the Temple in Jerusalem.

And please, let's do without the references to prior activities by non-Christian peoples and the co-opting of these rituals into Christian practices.  It is nothing new and certainly not to Christianity.

And finally,

"I like your Christ very much, it is your Christians that I do not like.  They are so unlike their Christ." -- M. Ghandi


"I like Jesus very much, but he no help with curve ball." -- P. Serrano

Luis Cruz
Luis Cruz

It's nice to know our government is tackling the hard issues!

Steve Handy
Steve Handy

How is allowing schools from these moronic lawsuits mixing church and state?

Sally Summers
Sally Summers

Because mixing church and state is always SUCH A GOOD IDEA.

nathan.barling
nathan.barling

I am an Atheist and I am skeptical that they will actually teach the truth behind all the "Christmas" decorations.  Ever green trees being decorated in late December were used to illustrate the rebirth of Spring and the end of winter.  Gift giving became part of the tradition as well because the days were about to get longer again as we move closer to Spring.  The Christian church banned both trees and gifts for hundreds of years because they were Pagan rituals.  This is why some of the Christian sects don't celebrate Christmas.  I can't wait to see the Texas approve curriculum talking about how all of the "Christmas" traditions were started by Pagans celebrated the solstice.  

Alejandro Monjaras
Alejandro Monjaras

I'm good with this, as long as after this bill they can focus on getting "education" back into schools.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

I Know this will send Some of my Ultra Conservative Christian Family Members into full on DEFCON 1 Birth of Christ in December  in is an adaption of PAGAN  winter  Rituals mode ....

theobrix
theobrix

@nathan.barling I'm an atheist as well but have no issue with this. I hate political correctness more than the celebration of holidays. The reality? These are kids and this is Texas so no, I doubt they'll teach the ACTUAL history of Christmas or Easter but truthfully, I don't care. I'll let mine become know-it-alls when they're a little older or discover it on their own. Until then, it's Santa day. He's an amazing control tool. 

miss-ashly
miss-ashly

@oakclifftownie That was what I was taught as a child. Interestingly, my husband's grandfather, a minister in OK, also agrees and teaches that Christ was not born on or near Christmas. The family still celebrates Christmas/Christ, but acknowledges that the date is pretty bogus.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...