Adventus

"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Merry War on Christmas, Y'all!

A message from your local school district

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT
relating to a school district's recognition of and education regarding traditional winter celebrations.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:

SECTION 1 Subchapter Z, Chapter 29, Education Code, is amended by adding Section 29.920 to read as follows:

WINTER CELEBRATIONS.

(a) A school district may educate students about the history of traditional winter celebrations, and allow students and district staff to offer traditional greetings regarding the celebrations, including:
"Merry Christmas";
"Happy Hanukkah";
and "happy holidays." [emphasis added]

Except as provided by Subsection (c), a school district may display on school property scenes or symbols associated with traditional winter celebrations, including a menorah or a Christmas image such as a nativity scene or Christmas tree, if the display includes a scene or symbol of: more than one religion;
or one religion and at least one secular scene [Festivus pole with photos of Airing of Grievances!] or symbol.

A display relating to a traditional winter celebration may not include a message that encourages adherence to a particular religious belief.

This Act applies beginning with the 2013-2014 school year. SECTION 3. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2013.

This is the language of the "Merry Christmas" bill passed by the Texas Legislature this summer because they had nothing better to do after shutting down almost all of Texas' abortion clinics and healthcare providers to poor women.  Please note it is not Bill O'Reilly compliant, which undoubtedly will bring down the wrath of somebody on someone else's head at some point...

Aw, who cares?

It's a more useless piece of legislation than ever I imagined.  This is the nearest thing to a violation of law or tradition I could find:

He pointed to a recent instance at Nichols Elementary School in Frisco in which a member of the parent teacher association who was organizing a “Winter Party” sent out an email forbidding red, green, Christmas trees and references to Christmas or other religious holidays at the party.

Following local media coverage and concern from state Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Frisco, the association released a statement reassuring the public that the school was in compliance with the new law.

“Our December celebration is called a 'Winter Party' in an effort to include all holidays celebrated in our Nichols community,” the statement said. "Our effort is focused on allowing all children to celebrate any winter holiday without excluding anyone.”

And whether or not the exclusion made any sense (red and green are liturgical colors, but associating them with December is hardly a religious connection), this attempt was made by "a member of the parent teacher association," not even an implied agent of the school district.

You'll note, anyway, that all the language of this statute is permissive, not directive:  "A school district may educate...and allow students and district staff [but not members of the PTA!] to offer...."  No wonder this thing passed.  It's as toothless as a newt.  And of course the school district cannot encourage adherence to a particular religious belief, which pretty much codifies the "keep 'Christ' out of 'Christmas' " effort, doesn't it?

Not that Christmas in America has all that much to do with Christianity anyway.....

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