For too long, the defenders of Christian liberty in this country have huddled in their bunkers while liberals have launched salvo upon salvo at Christmas, reducing it to a bland and tasteless mush of pan-religious inclusiveness. Bill O'Reilly would scurry into the open from time to time to issue loud, self-righteous declamations, but they were merely reacting, never leaving their defensive crouch.
In Texas, that's changing. This past legislative session, the state Legislature passed the "Merry Christmas Bill," which aims to put Jesus back in the generic "holiday" and "winter" celebrations at public schools by letting teachers and staff members say "Merry Christmas" or set up nativity scenes at school without fear of reprisal. On the website he set up in support of the bill, State Representative Dwayne Bohac cites numerous examples of constituents being persecuted for their religious beliefs.
Last December, my 8-year old daughter was very excited about her upcoming Christmas Party at her school. However, she was very confused one day when she brought home a letter from her teacher informing her mother and me that the annual event would now be referred to as a 'Holiday Party' and gave us a set of rules to abide by on the day of the event. We were told that the school was discouraging students from wearing the colors red or green in order to be sensitive to other students, and that the phrase 'Merry Christmas' should be replaced with generic greetings such as 'Happy Holidays' or 'Season's Greetings' on any 'holiday' cards. This may come as no surprise to those of us who have witnessed this trend in recent years, but I can tell you it didn't make a whole lot of sense to our daughter. I guess it's never too early to be forced to teach your child about the absurdity of political correctness.
Armed with the new legislation, the social-conservative advocacy group Texas Values is going on the offensive. This morning, it announced "a state-wide project that will educate and protect the acknowledgment of Christmas in our public schools and ensure our student's [sic] religious liberty."
It's doing this in two ways. One, it's circulating an online petition and asking those who sign to share a summary of the Merry Christmas Law with their school districts. Two, it's monitoring school districts' compliance with the law by crowdsourcing reports on how they're doing.
"No student in Texas should fear exercising their religious freedom at school," the group writes. Instead, they should fear God and praise His only begotten son.
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