South Carolina Christmas Bill Advances

Another southern state has a Merry Christmas bill in the works. The South Carolina Education Committee advanced Tuesday a bill allowing schools to display scenes and symbols associated with winter holidays. The bill is intended to protect schools and other public institutions from being sued for displaying or acknowledging Christmas.

Under the bill, a religious icon such as a nativity scene must be either paired with a secular symbol or grouped with at least one other religion’s symbol. Supporters say a Christmas tree qualifies as a secular.

The bill also specifies that staff and students can greet each other with “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukah.”

Rep. Bill Sandifer says his bill does not violate the separation of church and state. American Civil Liberties Union state director Victoria Middleton says she believes it does and calls the bill unnecessary.

The bill is similar to the Merry Christmas Bill first passed in Texas last year and since adopted in various forms by several U.S. states.

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