According to the Christian Science Monitor,
Wishing students “Merry Christmas” is now protected in Texas public schools thanks to a recently minted Merry Christmas law, which allows students, teachers, and administrators to say traditional holiday greetings on campus….
The bill, signed into law last year by Gov. Rick Perry, allows religious scenes and symbols, like a nativity or Christmas tree, to be displayed on school property. It also allows schools to teach about religious holidays, including their history, and include religious references and music in school performances.
Well, isn’t that special?
Can we deconstruct this embarrassing piece of theater? To the extent this measure purports to allow things that would violate the Establishment Clause, it is totally ineffective. (There’s this pesky little thing about the U.S. Constitution–it trumps local laws.) Christmas trees are fine, but nativity scenes (unless surrounded by symbols of Chanukah and Kwanzaa and other artifacts of winter’s seasonal celebrations) remain legally off-limits.
To the extent this law is inconsistent with the Establishment Clause, it is null and void. But more to the point, everything else “protected” by this legislative display of civic ignorance is already protected by the Free Exercise Clause.
Teachers can already teach about religion, religious holidays, and the role of religion in history. Music teachers and art teachers are free to include religious music and art in their lessons–indeed, it would be difficult to introduce students to either discipline without recognizing the role religion has played in the evolution of those arts. (Granted, a “Christmas Chorale” composed exclusively of devotional hymns–no “Frosty the Snowman” or “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” to leaven the religiosity –is unlikely to pass Constitutional muster, but otherwise, no problem.)
Excuse me, but…those of you who are ostentatiously wearing the label “Christian”–can we talk?
I am getting really, really tired of your whining, tired of your petulant assertions that if you can’t force everyone else to acknowledge your beliefs (in language that you deem appropriate) and genuflect to your observances (in recognition of their superiority), you’re being picked on.
Read my lips: There is no “War” against Christmas. Nice people wishing you a happy holiday are not trying to destroy the country and/or deprive you of your cultural heritage. They are just being nice. They are being thoughtful. Respectful of others.
You might try that sometime.
You might try acting….oh, what’s the word? Christian.