Texas Town Grapples with Christmas for Non-Profits

The Texas city of New Braunfels (near San Antonio) came under fire last year for posting banners that reminded drivers to “Keep Christ in Christmas”. For some that ignited controversy because it appears to violate the (non-existent) establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution. Folks on the city council there want to avoid such trouble this year.

For $60, the city hangs banners for local non-profit organizations, giving them a way to announce upcoming events. The local chapter of the Knights of Columbus, a non-profit, wants to promote a musical titled “Keep Christ in Christmas”. See the trouble?

At the center of the argument is the separation of church and state and whether the city should allow messages like “Keep Christ in Christmas,” even if it opens up the possibility for messages from other religions or organizations that may not be as widely accepted (the Ku Klux Klan was an example used at last night’s meeting).

Mayor Gale Pospisil says the banners are not designed to advocate religious or political beliefs but are a service that NBU generously provides, and something that could just as easily be taken away.

Paula Difonzo told City Council that last year they put up 75 banners for non-profit organizations as a community service.

Difonzo told Council, quote, “As we all evaluate the purpose of the program, I hope we can understand that it’s not about whether we agree or disagree with the message, what we must think about and what we should try to understand is that we cannot discriminate between messages. So that when we allow one message that advocates a religious or political position, we must allow all such messages.”

Now that the issue has been brought up in the media you can bet targets have been drawn on the Texas town (three towns in Texas were targets last year) and that someone there will soon be receiving letters from the FFRF or the ACLU.

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