Signing up to fight the “War on Christmas” may be more popular these days than signing up to fight that other war. Between Bill O’Reilly’s ranting and John Gibson’s writing, publicity about the non-existent war on Christmas hit a peak last holiday season.
Alliance Defense Fund Attorney Mike Johnson says that “About this time every year, our phones start to ring off the hook from people reporting cases of discrimination.” According to Johnson, ADF received 400 phone calls last year about incidents that included possible discrimination against Christians.
This year, the ADF will once again focus on keeping Christmas in the schools and in public spaces. Over 930 attorneys are available “to combat any improper attempts to censor the celebration of Christmas in schools and on public property.” According to the ADF, the organization’s major function is to point out what is legal in cases in which institutions “censor” Christmas. For example (from the ADF website):
* The U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled that public schools must ban the singing of religious Christmas carols or prohibit the distribution of candy canes or Christmas cards.
* School officials do not violate the Constitution by closing on religious holidays such as Christmas and Good Friday.
* School officials are not legally obligated to recognize all other religious holidays simply because they officially recognize Thanksgiving or Christmas.
* School officials may use “Christmas Vacation” to refer to the December holiday break without offending the Constitution.
* Government-sponsored Christmas displays are not banned as some people believe. When faced with the question of whether a Christmas display is constitutional, a court simply asks, “Is the government celebrating the holiday or promoting religion?” Often, the “Three Reindeer Rule” is used by courts, whereby a judge reasons that having a sufficient number of secular objects in close enough proximity to the Christmas item (such as a crèche) renders the overall display as a constitutional community observance of the holiday.
This year, the ADF has support from Concerned Women for America, Focus on the Family, Coral Ridge Ministries, and the majority of the nation’s state-based family policy councils.
Recently, Wal-Mart changed it’s policy on holiday greetings. Wal-Mart staff will no longer say “Happy Holidays” to customers, but will instead say “Merry Christmas.” The “Happy Holiday” policy led to protests and calls for a boycott from conservative religious groups.