Calling for Common Sense About Christmas, Rutherford Institute Issues Legal Guidelines for Celebrating Christmas in Public, at School or Work
November 23, 2009
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA, (christiansunite.com) -- Hoping to alleviate any confusion over the do's and don'ts of celebrating Christmas in schools, workplaces and elsewhere, The Rutherford Institute has issued its "Twelve Rules of Christmas" guidelines, which are available at www.rutherford.org.
Rutherford Institute attorneys are preparing to deal with the annual onslaught of calls to their legal hotline regarding the censorship of Christmas celebrations. In years past, the Institute has been besieged by calls from parents and teachers alike complaining about schools changing their Christmas concerts to "winter holiday programs" and renaming Christmas "winter festival" or cancelling holiday celebrations altogether to avoid offending those who do not celebrate the various holidays.
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"Political correctness should never trump the First Amendment," said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. "Schools, government officials and businesses have an opportunity to take the high road and not be relegated to playing the Grinch this Christmas. It's time for some common sense this Christmas."
Whitehead pointed to an incident that happened a few years ago in a Chicago suburb as a perfect example of Christmas celebrations being sabotaged by political correctness. Schools in Oak Hill, Ill., had decided to cancel traditional holiday celebrations, such as Christmas, under pressure from a parent. Halloween was to be renamed "fall festival," and Christmas "winter festival." However, after angry parents voiced their objections at an emergency meeting, school board officials reportedly agreed to allow traditional holiday celebrations.
In years past, nativity displays, Christmas carols, Christmas trees, wreaths, candy canes and even the colors red and green have been banned as part of the effort to avoid any reference to Christmas, Christ or God. Thanksgiving has also come under fire in recent years. Several years ago, for example, Institute attorneys were contacted by a concerned parent who remarked that whereas in previous years teachers in their school district had been told not to mention Christmas, Easter or anything relating to God, they could no longer even mention the word "Thanksgiving" because "the pilgrims offended the Indians" and "Thanksgiving was never intended to be thanks to God!"
Another parent with children in the public schools was upset and concerned when she received a letter from school officials directing classroom mothers not to use plates and napkins with Thanksgiving printed on them at their children's fall parties. As she recounted, "It seems like they are worried about offending just one person and are worried about law suits. In the past, this school has gone from 'winter' parties that banned red and green cupcakes and napkins, to banning any winter party in fear that it may be mistaken for Christmas."
The Rutherford Institute is an international, nonprofit civil liberties organization committed to defending constitutional and human rights.