The state legislature in Oklahoma passed that state’s version of the Merry Christmas Bill allowing Christmas in public schools by a vote of 73-10. The measure now heads to a vote in the state senate.
If voting in neighboring states is any indication the chances of Oklahoma passing the bill are pretty good. If it does pass it goes into effect on September 1st, just in time for the 2014 holiday season.
If there will be court challenges to the law expect them in Oklahoma. The state has been a hotbed of Christian controversy since the state erected a monument to the Ten Commandments on capitol grounds claiming the Christian-based laws were a fundamental part of Oklahoma’s founding history. Since that time Oklahoma has endured lawsuits and proposals to remove the monument, even receiving an absurd offer from a Satanic society out of New York to put up a shrine to Satan to counter the monument.
The Merry Christmas Bill is designed to help public schools avoid costly lawsuits from out of state interests who bring their anti-religion agenda to bear by attacking the mention or acknowledgement of Christmas in public institutions. Schools are a favorite target of the anti-religious forces of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, who most often bankrolls the anti-Christmas efforts.
Oklahoma’s bill says public schools can display scenes or symbols associated with traditional winter celebrations on school property providing they include more than one religion or one religion and at least one secular symbol.
Republican Rep. Bobby Cleveland of Norman authored the bill and says the legislation will protect Oklahoma schools from lawsuits over religious-based holiday displays.
Opponents say such displays are already allowed. A proposal to include Kwanzaa, a celebration that honors African heritage, was tabled.