Janet M. LaRue

The fact that § 6103 may accommodate Christians who wish to engage in religious celebrations of Jesus Christ's birth does not mean that the holiday has an impermissible religious effect. The Supreme Court forcefully has stated "when the state … cooperates with religious authorities by adjusting the schedule of public events to sectarian needs, it follows the best of our traditions. Ganulin v United States, 71 F Supp 2d 824, 836 (S.D. Ohio 1999) (citing Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306, 313-14 (1952); aff'd, 2000 U.S. App. LEXIS 33889 (U.S. App. LEXIS 6th Cir. 2000); cert. denied, 532 US 973 (2001).

"Frankly, it's ridiculous that Americans have to think twice about whether it's okay to say 'Merry Christmas,'" said ADF President Alan Sears. "Thanks to the ACLU and its allies, Christmas isn't what it used to be. It's time to repair the damage that such organizations have done to America's favorite holiday. An overwhelming majority of Americans oppose censoring Christmas."

According to recent polls:

• 95 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas (Fox News/Opinion Dynamics, 2005).

• 90 percent of Americans recognize Christmas as the birthday of Jesus Christ (Gallup, 2000).

• 88 percent of Americans say it is okay for people to wish others "Merry Christmas," and the majority of Americans are more likely to wish someone they just met "Merry Christmas" rather than "Happy Holidays" (CNN/USA Today/Gallup, 2004).

• 87 percent of Americans believe nativity scenes should be allowed on public property (Fox News/Opinion Dynamics, 2003).

The purpose of the joint Christmas project is to clear up misconceptions about seasonal religious expression on public property:

• 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?

The angel wasn't responsible to make the shepherds go to Jesus. The angel just gave the invitation. We have the wonderful privilege and opportunity to do the same thing.

Even a grinch knows good news when he hears it.


Janet M. LaRue

Jan LaRue is Senior Legal Analyst with the American Civil Rights Union; former Chief Counsel at Concerned for Women; Legal Studies Director at Family Research Council; and Senior Counsel for the National Law Center for Children and Families. Be the first to read Janet LaRue's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.