Obama lighting the National Christmas Tree just as a U.S. school bans the holiday creates something of an contradiction, considering the current issue at hand. That issue is the “Merry Christmas Law,” which is in place to protect freedoms relating to the celebration of Christmas. Presently, Christmas, its traditional décor, and its religious expressions have all come under attack by the PTA and principal of an elementary school in Texas who stand dead-set against any such celebrations or talk of “Christmas” in their “winter” party.
Last June, Governor Perry signed into law the Merry Christmas Bill, written by Rep. Pat Fallon to protect the constitutional rights of students, teachers, parents and principals to celebrate and freely express their religious freedom as they wish. However, reports have surfaced that the opponents of the Christmas celebration are the PTA group and Courtney Murphy, principal of Nichols Elementary School, in Frisco, TX.
The PTA emailed parents to tell them that Christmas trees and the traditional hues thereof are all barred from the school’s winter party. Moreover, said the emails, the students are prohibited from mentioning all of the religious holidays, including those celebrated by other faiths.
According to Fallon, this violates the constitutional rights of the students and the staff, which allow them to freely express themselves and their religious beliefs.
It is noteworthy that Nichols Elementary School appears to be the first, and only, school to violate the holiday law in the state of Texas. Even more baffling is that Nichols Elementary School happens to be in the same district as Rep. Fallon.
Fallon relayed to reporters that a very angry parent stated that she wants her child to honor Christmas at the school. Fallon then stated that, unfortunately, the holiday bill hardly solved the problem, but has the battle raging on, which is very distressing.
MyFoxDFW reported receiving a statement from the region not involved in breaking this law. The statement specified that the correspondence wasn’t an “official” PTA notice, further saying that students never were limited on attire, on what they may bring to class parties to share with others or on how people exchange greetings.
When Fallon spoke with him, the superintendent told him that the district granted principals allowance to make their own rules and policies regarding holiday and religious celebrations.
Apparently, Principal Murphy has sided with the PTA that brought on the unlawful ban, and money is at the root of it.
Fallon said that he received an email from Murphy. Supposedly, she had a meeting with the PTA and returned with the unanimous decision that there will be no Christmas trees, no traditional holiday colors and no mentioning of any religious holidays. This decision was reached because “they didn’t want to offend any families and since each family donates money they feel this is the best policy,” wrote Murphy.
Fallon called the ban “draconian in nature,” and this motivated him to put all school officials on alert, reminding them of their lawful “yuletide” rights.
Texas law clearly permits Christmas-themed celebrations, events and displays. The district may also display scenes or symbols with traditional winter holidays (e.g. nativity scenes, Christmas trees, menorahs, etc.)
He then said how shocked he was at the slew of nervous principals and teachers that called his office asking for protocol. They did not know what to make of this ban, and were afraid of upholding the “Merry Christmas Law” lest any anti-Christian group come after them with lawsuits.
As Obama lights the National Christmas Tree, and this U.S. school bans the holiday, a pertinent question has arisen: what about all of the families who celebrate Christmas and give money just as equally. Do they have no rights?
For the record, the inception of the National Christmas Tree dates back to 1923, beginning with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Every president thereafter has given the grand illumination of the lights on the National Christmas Tree the highest of honor, with formal remarks during those ceremonies.
So, here is a suggestion that might put an end to this issue. As Christmas, and the meaning therein, gets bashed by the anti-Christmas PTA group and the school principal who backs them, state officials should count the number of parents, teachers, principals and students throughout the entire region who celebrate Christmas. If they outnumber the attackers of the traditional holidays, grant the respecters of Christmas the right to continue to enjoy their lovely year-end holidays. For, as Obama lights the National Christmas Tree, and this U.S. school bans the holiday, the message should be clear that even certain people won’t always get their way.
By Christina L. Ibbotson