The State of Alabama is taking their focus on Christmas out of the schools and placing it squarely on public spaces: a new bill has already passed the state senate and is now up for debate in the state legislature that would allow Christmas trees, nativity scenes and other images and icons of the holiday season on public property. The is bill authored by state Senator Phil Williams.
Williams’ bill cites Lynch v. Donnelly where the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1984 that a nativity scene in a shopping district didn’t promote or endorse Christianity because it included secular symbols of Christmas including Santa Claus and reindeer.
Therefore, the display didn’t violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.
“Right now, it is the law of the land, and I believe it should be the law of the state,” Williams, R-Rainbow City, said.
Rep. Paul Beckman, R-Prattville, initially expressed concerns about the bill saying it won’t stop groups from filing lawsuits.
Williams’ legislation was inspired, in part, by the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s challenge of Rainbow City placing a nativity scene on government property last year.
In it important to note that this effort is completely different from other states who have in recent years passed what is called the “Merry Christmas Bill”, which protects schools from lawsuits. This bill extends those rights to public properties and hopes are to end the threat of lawsuits against government agencies that allow Christmas decorations in public spaces such as lawns and lobbies.
The war on Christmas in America is a sick joke compared to how Christmas is view in other parts of the world. A Scotland Yard commander is warning that Muslim children in the UK are radicalizing at younger and younger ages and that one of the signs is a hate for Christmas demonstrated in children as young as five.
Mak Chishty, the most senior Muslim officer in Britain’s police service and head of community engagement for the Metropolitan police in London, claims he has to keep close tabs on his own children because the lure of the Islamic State is so powerful.
Chisty, in an interview, said that there was now a need for “a move into the private space” of Muslims to detect views that could show the beginning of radicalisation far earlier.
He said he had heard of cases in which children came from stable families in which parents had moderate views but were still able to be influenced.
In the example where primary school children defined Christmas as haram, he insisted this was “factual” and said that while it may not be a police matter, parents and family needed to ask how children as young as five had come to that view.
He said this could be shown by subtle changes in behaviour, such as shunning certain shops, citing the example of Marks & Spencer, which could be because the store is sometimes mistakenly perceived to be Jewish-owned.
He advised that friends and family of youngsters should be intervening much earlier, looking out for subtle changes which could be unexplained. He included examples such as sudden negative attitudes towards alcohol and western clothing.
The police commander asserted that parents should challenge and understand what caused the changes in behavior and seek help from the police if the need arose.
Another year, another new record. The Consumerist, which pretends to know everything about retailing, is breathlessly reporting the presence of Christmas stuff for sale at Hobby Lobby — earlier than ever!
The Consumerist, which leads the world in complaining about Christmas creep, frequently picks on Hobby Lobby for their merchandising of Christmas before, well, anyone else.
Mind you, there are no commercials, no Christmas music playing in their stores and nothing of Christmas decorations for the stores themselves in Hobby Lobby right now. They are just selling Christmas-themed stuff. After all, they are a retailer that specializes in craft supplies for people who make stuff for things like holidays.
Note to The Consumerist: Hobby Lobby sells Easter baskets — year round! I know, I know. Scandalous.
Watch what happens the next couple of months. The Consumerist will write article after article about Christmas creep and how invasive Christmas is in our culture long before the season officially begins. They will pick on retailers who launch commercials about Christmas layaway programs. And, heaven forbid, should a single snowflake, Rudolph or Santa appear anywhere before Labor Day — well, it’s all out war on that retailer.
Oh, by the way, The Consumerist might be shocked to learn that there are websites who sell the same crap….every day of the year. What about them?
The ongoing feud between the City of Plantation, Florida and the mega-Christmas light display known as Hyatt’s Extreme Christmas could be coming to a head as the City has now levied fines and filed a lawsuit against the Hyatts. The display has made news for years as it has sought out greater media attention in its fight against the city. Critics of the Hyatts now tell Defend Christmas.com the city has the display “on the ropes” as it has refused settlement offers from the Hyatts and seeks to increase fines for ongoing code violations and pressure on the city budget for added police presence and traffic support.
The feud centers on the fact that the display is popular and draws thousands of visitors to a residential area not designed to handle high traffic.
Complaints from neighbors about the traffic, trash, noise and vandalism in the area because of the popularity of the display has led to court battles and ongoing media outbursts between the two parties.
It is a bitter feud short on Christmas spirit: the Hyatts have led local efforts to oust the mayor in campaigns (calling her “anti-Christmas”) while the local police department has accused the Hyatt’s of being irresponsible.
Earlier this spring the Sun Sentinel reported that the Hyatts offered to cut back the size of their display from more than 200,000 lights to a “meager” 50,000 lights and to remove a Ferris wheel on the front lawn that gives endless rides to stuffed animals. They also offered to stop promoting their lights on the Internet if the city would waive the fines for code violations.
The City of Plantation immediately refused the offer.
The Hyatts appear to have once again dug in their heels, moving their website to a new domain and renewing their efforts on social media to gather support for online petitions supporting their cause. They claim the city unfairly imposes fines, blocks roads and detracts from their efforts to raise money for charity.
While it remains to be seen if the Hyatt display will return for Christmas 2015 neighbors and critics of the display are thinking the city will continue to increase the pressure on the Hyatt family to quit.
Your Christmas lights just became a lot more expensive.
A ruling issued on Monday by the Consumer Product Safety Commission claims certain decorations are a “substantial product hazard.” The 39-page report lays out specifications for acceptable seasonal lighting — and it all points to big price increases for seasonal lighting products.
The claim is that Christmas lights are dangerous. Almost 300 deaths have been linked to Christmas lights over the past 30 years. The CPSC claims the new regulations will cut down on fatalities associated with Christmas lights.
The ruling includes but is not limited to “stars, wreaths, candles without shades, light sculptures, blow-molded (plastic) figures, and animated figures.”
The CPSC ruling says a product will be noncompliant if it doesn’t “contain any one of three observable characteristics – minimum wire size, sufficient strain relief, or overcurrent protection”.
All “solar-powered products” have been exempted.
To make the ruling more understandable, the CPSC outlined a definition of a Christmas bulb stating, “Lighting products within the scope of the rule are typically used seasonally and provide only decorative lumination.”
“The products typically are displayed for a relatively short period of time and are then removed and stored until needed again.”
This is taxpayer money “at work” folks.
The CPSC maintains the ruling is listed as a “voluntary standard.” Manufacturers and retailers, however, may face possible civil and “criminal penalties” for failing to report products that are not in compliance with the new regulation