The new law is pretty clear. It states:
"No state or local governmental entity, public building, public park, public school, or public setting or place shall ban or otherwise restrict the practice, mention, celebration, or discussion of any federal holiday."
The Legislature, forced to overturn Governor Jay Nixon's veto of the bill by a vote of 114 to 45, is now being accused of "thinking of Christmas" when they passed the law.
This law has implications beyond Missouri.
Gregory Lipper, a senior litigation counsel for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, says it is an "angerous law” that would open the door to constitutional violations.
“It could be read to allow public school teachers, while in the classroom, to reenact the virgin birth, preach the salvation of Christ, or press their students to convert to Christianity — all under the guise of celebrating Christmas,” said Mr. Lipper, whose group generally opposes the government promotion of religion.
Rep. Rick Brattin, a Republican from west central Missouri who sponsored the measure, said the legislation is just recognizing the fact that more than 90% of Americans celebrate Christmas.
“I’m all for protecting the rights of minorities, but we should also protect the rights of those in the majority as well,” Rep. Brattin said. “This bill doesn’t require anybody to celebrate anything.”
The law took affect on October 11.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed the bill in July, but not for the reasons you might expect. "His concern mainly had to do with fire safety. In his veto message, he said he feared the bill would undermine local enforcement of fireworks ordinances."
WSJ also says, "He was concerned that the measure could cause government staffing shortages. "'Indeed, under the broad language of the bill, public sector employees at the state and local level could demand leave from work in order to celebrate any federal holiday,' the governor wrote."
Rep. Rick Brattin, the bill's sponsor, has written a letter to Missouri school administrators stating that he hopes the law will reverse the "chilling effect" that the separation of church and state has had on the ability to celebrate federal holidays like Christmas in public schools.
The St. Louis based Jewish Light says, "Come this holiday season, celebrating Christmas any way Missourians want to---be it singing 'Silent Night' as part of a public school activity or displaying a Nativity scene outside a city hall---will be perfectly legal."
The Jewish Light quotes Rep. Jill Schupp, a Jewish State Representative who opposed the bill, as saying, "It's a terrible piece of legislation and its really under the pretense of providing freedoms to everyone to celebrate the way they want. But its really just about celebrating Christmas."
Rep. Brattin, who is Christian, said schools are overreacting to threats of First Amendment lawsuits by banning Christmas altogether. He said three of his kids attend an elementary school that prohibited students from throwing a Christmas Party and banned Christmas decorations.
“I’m sorry," he said, "it’s a federal holiday.”
Democratic Representative Jill Schupp says, “The bill was led by extremists and doesn’t represent the views of mainstream Christianity, which is very tolerant."
Perhaps she is misunderstanding the silence. Christianity is indeed tolerant. Our nation was framed and formed by Christians, embracing the founding principle that our freedoms are God given---not government given, and that all people should share in those freedoms---including the freedom of religious expression.
However, the all out assault on the Christian faith and the expression of Christianity in the public square has silenced too many Christians and Christian leaders.
She claims, ”It’s a bill of exclusion, rather than inclusion.”
Actually, it is the minority---the secular progressives, who practice "exclusion" under the guise of "diversity" or "tolerance" that are misleading the country.
Many are beginning to awaken. And take action.
Karen Aroestry, the regional director of the Missouri/S. Illinois Anti-Defamation League, thinks this law is an "example of the more subtle ways members of the Missouri Legislature try to figure out a single religious view and foist it on the rest of the state."
Foist Christianity on everyone else?
The law doesn't do that.
Brattin says the law "isn't intended to require anyone to celebrate a deemed federal holiday such as Christmas, it is intended to protect those who do."
Keith Marty, superintendent of the Parkway School District, pretty well defines what the opposition to this law will be. And there will be opposition.
He says, "We have worked so hard and developed a more inclusive culture of the world we live in."
But its not "inclusive." His world, and that of the secular progressives, seeks to eliminate any public expression of Christianity from the more than 200,000,000 who claim Christianity in America, while elevating any other ideology---particularly that of secularism and atheism.
The prevailing view in publicly funded government run education is secular and too often anti-Christian.
He says, "In Parkway, we're so beyond this kind of legislation."
This highlights another trait of the secular progressive and the atheist.
He says, "We are not going to promote one faith here over another," but they consistently promote secularism while seeking to silence any Christian expression, including Christmas, which is a federal holiday.
One of the schools in Marty's district has had a large Christmas tree in the lobby the past couple of years. He says he had hoped to force the school to remove it this year, however, he says, it will be more difficult with this law in place.
He says, and I believe he speaks for many---not all, but many in public government run education, "We are at a different place than we would have been had this law come to be 20 or 25 years ago. We are much more understanding of the diversity we have now."
Translated: We have moved away from the Judeo-Christian values and principles upon which this country was founded---and has prospered.
The present philosophical posture of government run education stands in stark contrast and opposition to our Constitution, those who wrote it and the beliefs of a majority of Americans.
How would present day educators respond to this?
Congress printed a Bible for America and said: “The United States in Congress assembled … recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States … a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools.” - United States Congress 1782
Congress passed this resolution: “The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.” - United States Congress 1782
By law, the United States Congress adds to US coinage: “In God We Trust” - United States Congress 1864
How should we respond to present day educators and the prevailing philosophy in public education?
Should we remain silent and socially "safe"?
Or should we consider how we, as the good men and women have done in the Missouri Legislature, work to change things?
Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Bold. Be Prayerful. Be Active. Be Blessed.