We knew this day was coming. The controversies over last year’s Christmas parades are now today’s lawsuits. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, who for years have marched with Confederate flags in Christmas parades all over the South without incident, are beginning a series of court battles over first amendment free speech rights violated last Christmas when they were told to keep the flags out of the Christmas parades.
The city of Natchitoches and its Mayor Lee Posey have been sued by Sons of Confederate Veterans because they were barred from displaying the flag last Christmas.
Thomas Taylor, the division’s former commander, said in a telephone interview that its flag-carrying members marched and rode floats in the parade for nearly two decades without causing any disruptions.
“We have never had a problem before,” said Taylor, a Sterlington resident who said the Louisiana division has about 1,250 members. “The crowd loves us, but this politically correct stuff raised its ugly head.”
The lawsuit cites a Nov. 2, 2015, letter from Posey to the parade’s organizers in which the mayor said allowing the Confederate flag to be displayed by marchers could cause “substantial disruption or interference with the parade” and could be seen as an “endorsement of a symbol that is viewed as racially inflammatory.”
Mayor Posey knew the incident would be controversial. At the time he said “To be clear, the city of Natchitoches has not banned the Confederate flag from public display. The only thing we have banned is the flag being marched in the Christmas Festival parade.”
That, according to the lawsuit, is unconstitutional. And the Son’s of Confederate Veterans are right — and should win.
They take their Christmas seriously in Australia. The Lord Mayor of Melbourne is warning against sending Christmas cards without the word “Christmas” in them. Phrases like “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays” are appearing all to often on official Christmas cards sent between governmental organizations.
Other local politicians are expressing support for the idea. Councillor John Kavanaugh is pushing for proper use of the word Christmas. “It lessens the message when you say Season’s Greetings,” he said. “I want to make sure that the message of a Happy Christmas is there.”
In fact, Kavanaugh feels so strongly about it he is putting forward a motion to require the use of “Happy Christmas” in all seasonal messages going forward on official organizational greetings.
The Lord Mayor backs the proposal. “If you’re sending a Christmas card it is not a season card, it is a Christmas card.” he said.
It should be noted that the hubbub over Christmas cards are coming after a contentious debate over Christmas decorations in this area of Melbourne known as Moreland. Money for Christmas decorations was reallocated for what they call “Moreland Celebrations”, a nod to the growing diversity of the area and a clear move away from the emphasis on Christmas.
Clearly, there is a battle over Christmas brewing in Melbourne.
A tax payer funded guide published by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill accuses the term and the practice of Christmas vacation of being a “microaggression”.
Microaggressions are everyday words that some interpret as causing anger or frustration in others. In other words, they are terms, behaviors or practices that cause offense.
A “Christmas vacation” is so labeled, the guide says, because “academic calendars and encouraged vacations” which “are organized around major religious observances” centralize “the Christian faith” and diminish “non-Christian spiritual rituals and observances.”
Curiously the long break between semesters at UNC Chapel Hill for the 2016-2017 academic year will last from December 17 to January 10 — thus covering Christmas as well as the New Year’s Day of the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar is named for Pope Gregory XIII. The Roman Catholic Church introduced the calendar in 1582.
So far nobody seems to be too stirred up about that.
It is important to note that the guide does not single out just Christmas as an offense. Golf outings, women’s shoes, the words “boyfriend”, “girlfriend”, “husband” and “wife” all are microagressive terms.
To save time we’ve determined that “microaggression” as a word is offensive.
An Omaha, Nebraska school board member raised eyebrows with his rant against atheists in a classic argument of whether the December off-time of students should be called Winter Break or Christmas Break.
“I’m getting a little bit tired of a minute minority in this country that keeps pushing Christmas out, keeps pushing God out, keeps pushing Christ out, when the majority is still a Judeo-Christian country,” Paul Meyer, a Millard school board member, said. “I would like to make a motion that we rename this period ‘Christmas break,’ and those atheists who don’t like it can crawl back into their hellhole because I for one will not put my lord, my god aside for a few atheists.”
Nobody supported Meyer’s outburst — or proposal.
For several years school boards across the country have grappled with how to name calendar break periods given the growing diversity of their student populations. What made this event noteworthy was that the school district made the change to “Winter Break” years ago — and little has been said about it since. There is little to support a change and Meyers appeared to be acting out of personal beliefs.
Omaha-area atheists, naturally, took offense and exception at the outburst.
“His bigoted language, telling atheists to ‘crawl back into their hellhole,’ attempts to discredit the broad range of people who support keeping government out of religion,” said Tom Gray, president of the group Omaha Atheists, who has children in the Millard school district. “If he believes we are literally pitchfork-wielding demons, then we are concerned for his grasp on reality.”
Once again the will of a singular school superintendent is overtaking a town Christmas tradition. In Marlborough, New Hampshire the town has an annual tradition of lighting a Christmas tree. A local veteran plays Santa and rallies the community every season to attend. When he went to a local school to speak to students he was called and told to remove “Christmas” from the name of the event.
John Fletcher, the commander of the American Legion in Marlborough, New Hampshire, wrote an editorial in the local paper after he said the superintendent barred him from promoting the event to students unless he changed the name of the event.
“I was very upset, I really was,” Fletcher said. “If it’s not a school sponsored activity, I don’t understand why ‘Christmas’ had to come out of ‘Christmas Tree’.”
Fletcher, who also raises money to buy gifts for children who attend the event, said a few days after Veterans’ Day, Superintendent Robert Malay called him and said Fletcher needed to “revise” a flyer that would be handed out to students.
“He wanted me to change it to say “holiday tree lighting” instead,” Fletcher told FOX25. “It’s not a holiday tree, it’s a Christmas tree. If you want a holiday tree, then do it for Valentine’s Day, or Columbus Day, or whatever you want.”
You gotta wonder what Christmas looks like in that town’s schools.