Liberty Counsel has launched its 20th annual Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign that is designed to educate and, when necessary, litigate to ensure that religious viewpoints are not censored from Christmas and holiday themes.
Liberty Counsel monitors cases each year across the country where there is intimidation by officials and groups to remove the celebration of Christmas in public and private sectors. Liberty Counsel also provides a memorandum to offer guidance regarding the public celebration of religious holidays.
In public schools, classroom discussion of the religious aspects of the holidays is permissible. A holiday display in a classroom may include a Nativity scene or other religious imagery so long as the context also includes secular symbols. Public school music teachers have the freedom to include both religious and secular Christmas songs in their musical programs. If the students select their own songs independent of the direction of school officials, there is no requirement that the songs include secular selections. Students may distribute religious Christmas cards to their classmates during noninstructional time, before or after school, or between classes. If the students are not required to dress in uniform, they may wear clothing with religious words or symbols as well as religious jewelry.
Liberty Counsel also provides a Naughty and Nice List that catalogs some of the stores that are censoring Christmas and some that are publicly celebrating it.
Years ago, Walmart had banned its employees from even responding with the phrase “Merry Christmas.” Now the company has moved to the “Nice List,” completely embracing the Christmas season. Thankfully, many other companies have done the same to acknowledge Christ’s birth during the season. Belk, JCPenney, Walmart, Staples and Kohl’s are examples of stores on the “Nice List” for acknowledging Christmas and offering Christmas gifting options. Barnes & Noble, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Gap and TJ Maxx are on the “Naughty List” for censoring Christmas and offering nothing more than generic “holiday” decorations and gifts.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “The First Amendment prohibits censorship based on religious viewpoint. Nativity scenes on public property are constitutional, especially when the display includes other secular symbols of the holiday. Nothing prohibits public schools from teaching objectively about Christmas or other holidays with religious significance, from displaying religious and secular Christmas symbols side by side or singing sacred and secular Christmas songs together. This season is about the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ. Even retailers should acknowledge Christmas and not censor it as a ‘winter holiday.’”