Tennessee is one step closer to passing their own Merry Christmas Bill. On Monday, February 24 2014, the Tennessee State Senate unanimously passed a measure similar to other states that allows for the recognition of Christmas in public schools without fear of lawsuit. We assume the measure must now go before the House in Tennessee. This bill has been in the works since last summer.
Under the measure Christmas can be taught in the classroom as long as more than one religious viewpoint is offered and that secular symbols are included. Teachers and students would be allowed to say “Merry Christmas” without fear of charges of discrimination or of lawsuit.
Modeled after the so-called “Merry Christmas Bill” of Texas, famously passed nearly a year ago, Tennessee joins several other state in seeking protection for Christmas in public schools.
An Oklahoma House panel has signed off on proposed legislation allowing for acknowledging Christmas in Oklahoma public schools.
The House Common Education Committee Monday approved legislation authorizing public school students and school employees to greet each other with phrases used during traditional winter celebrations such as merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah and happy holidays.
The so-called Merry Christmas Bill authorizes Oklahoma school districts to teach students about the history of the traditional celebrations. It also allows a school district erect to displays on school property associated with the winter celebrations, including a menorah or a Christmas image like a nativity scene or Christmas tree, under certain circumstances.
Announced last fall, the Oklahoma bill is patterned after a Texas measure known as the Merry Christmas Bill that was signed into law late last year. Several other neighboring states are considering similar measures as schools nationwide continue to battle the threat of lawsuits by church-vs-state separatists.
The measure’s author, Republican Rep. Ken Walker, of Tulsa, says the measure will protect Oklahoma school districts from lawsuits over winter displays.
Congress has just approved a massive five-year farm bill once famously part of the War on Christmas due to the inclusion of a Christmas Tree Tax. The bill, sent now to President Obama for his signature, features a program for taxing Christmas trees. The program was used by Fox News and other media outlets as a means of criticizing the Obama administration for being anti-Christmas.
But the Christmas Tree Tax is something American Christmas tree farmers want. It is a 15 cent per tree tax used to fund marketing programs for American grown trees, similar to the “Got Milk” campaign for American dairy farmers. Growers in Oregon, North Carolina and other places claim the effort is needed to stem losses from Chinese-made artificial Christmas tree that is affecting the real tree market.
But now that it is after Christmas and February Fox News isn’t interested in this story as another anti-Christmas measure. In fact, the war on Christmas is all but dead to them outside of the Christmas season.
True, this Christmas story wasn’t what they were portraying it to be anyway.
But that didn’t stop them twice in the past of claiming it was an extension of the war on Christmas.
Georgia becomes the newest state to embrace legislation protecting Christmas in public schools. A measure similar to Texas’ Merry Christmas Bill has passed the state senate in Georgia and now moves on to the legislature. Senate Bill 283, passed on Tuesday, February 4th, by a vote of 43-8.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mike Dugan, R-Carrollton, would allow local school systems to educate students about the history of “traditional winter celebrations” and let students and staff offer “traditional greetings” such as “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukkah.”
Displays involving such symbols as a menorah, Christmas tree or Nativity scenes would be protected as long as they included more than one religion or one religion and at least one secular scene or symbol.
Not everyone is sure how clear SB 283 is. The bill doesn’t define what it means by secular symbol. And its line about allowing a display with a secular symbol and one religion have left some, including the Georgia School Boards Association, wondering whether that allows the promotion of a particular religious belief over others.
In a unanimous vote the Indiana state senate has passed the Indiana version of the Merry Christmas Bill.
The legislation would allow schools to decorate with Nativity scenes or menorahs if paired with a secular symbol or one from another religion. Legislation also would permit schools to teach the history of winter holidays and to give holiday greetings, such as “Merry Christmas.”
Ten other states have proposed similar laws.
The Indiana branch of the American Civil Liberties Union says the bill would be unconstitutional and would allow public schools to endorse religion.
Bill author state Sen. Jim Smith of Charlestown says it’s necessary because Christmas is “under attack.”