Shocker: It is not unconstitutional to display the words “Merry Christmas”
December 18, 2013
A School in Minnesota has backed down and agreed to overturn a ban on a Christmas poster designed by a student that was originally deemed to be potentially “too religious”.
As we reported last week, the PACT Charter School prohibited students from displaying the poster, despite the fact that it contained no recognizable religious imagery.
Indeed, the only notable features on the poster are a Christmas Tree, the words “Merry Christmas” and a depiction of the Jack Skellington character from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Nevertheless, school administrators claimed that under the First Amendment, the establishment of religion by a state authority is prohibited, and therefore they had no choice but to ban the display of the poster, which was intended to advertise school yearbooks.
After much media attention, however, and a campaign by Virginia based rights group The Rutherford Institute, the Executive Director of the school reversed the decision, and has agreed to allow students to display the poster in the hallway of the school building.
“Political correctness should never trump the First Amendment,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute.
“Schools, government officials and businesses have an opportunity to take the high road and not be relegated to playing the Grinch this Christmas. We’re hopeful that other schools and workplaces will follow this Minnesota school’s example by creating an environment where the First Amendment can flourish.” Whitehead added.
In an effort to further educate school officials on what is Constitutionally acceptable as far as celebration of Christmas is concerned, the group has produced a set of guidelines entitled “Twelve Rules of Christmas”.
The list notes that it is within the law for schools to acknowledge historical and cultural elements of Christmas, as long as the facts are taught objectively for secular purposes, and as long as one form of religion is not specifically endorsed over others.
Even the display of religious words or imagery such as Jesus Christ, as well as the playing of Christmas music containing religious themes, may not be censored by school officials, absent evidence that the material would cause a substantial disruption.
Ironically, in banning the Christmas poster, school administrators, who believed they were adhering to the First Amendment, were actually violating it by infringing on the free speech of students.
Rutherford has noted that similar cases have arisen from over zealous political correctness where Christmas is concerned.
In one case, a school asked students to design “holiday cards” to send to US troops, but were told that they were absolutely not to use the words “Merry Christmas” on them.
In other cases, “nativity displays, Christmas carols, Christmas trees, wreaths, candy canes and even the colors red and green have been banned as part of the effort to avoid any reference to Christmas, Christ or God.” the Institute’s report states.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.