A group of Christmas carolers was thrown out of a U.S. Post Office in Silver Spring, MD, after the post office manager told them they were not allowed to sing Christmas carols on government property.
A spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service confirmed the incident occurred Saturday at a branch office in the Aspen Hill Shopping Center. A trio of carolers walked into the building dressed in attire reminiscent of Charles Dickens and began singing.
â€œThey were only a few notes into their carol when suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a scowling postal manager rushing to confront the carolers,â€ said JP Duffy, who was standing in a line with his wife and two-year-old daughter.
Duffy, who also happens to be a staff member of the Family Research Council, said he was stunned by what happened next.
â€œHe told them that they had to leave immediately because they were violating the post officeâ€™s policy against solicitation,â€ Duffy said. â€œHe told them they couldnâ€™t do this on government property. He said: â€˜You canâ€™t go into Congress and sing and you canâ€™t do it here either.â€™â€
A spokesman for the U.S. Postal Serviceâ€™s Capital Metro ARea said the carolers had â€œbeautiful voicesâ€ but were told they could not perform in the lobby.
â€œPublic assembly and public address, except when conducted or sponsored by the Postal Service, are prohibited in lobbies and other interior areas open to the public,â€ the spokesperson told Fox News & Commentary.
â€œWe have rules and regulations governing conduct on postal property,â€ the spokesman said. â€œThe only reason you should be inside is for postal business.â€
The carolers explained that they had been performing at businesses in the shopping center for several years â€“ including the post office â€“ and theyâ€™ve never encountered any problems. But the post office employee refused to budge and ordered them to leave.
Duffy said that customers standing in line began to boo the postal worker.
â€œOver the last several years, we have watched militant secularists team up with federal bureaucrats in the effort to sterilize the public square of anything remotely connected to anything religious,â€ Duffy said. â€œThis postal manager has clearly received the memo which has led him to stamp out Christmas caroling. But I have my own memo to all the Christmas carolers out there. Letâ€™s not surrender to the secularist version of Christmas future.â€
Duffy suggested that the U.S. Post Office follow the advice of its founder â€“ Benjamin Franklin.
â€œSo shalt thou always live jollily; for a good conscience is a continual Christmas,â€ Franklin once wrote.
â€œThis is good advice that the U.S. Post Office and all of us would do well to heed,â€ Duffy said.