Quantcast

«

»

May 30 2013

Texas passes law approving winter holidays

Wut?

Well that’s what it says.

After a good amount of hoopla, Texas Governor Rick Perry is expected to quietly sign legislation allowing public schools to celebrate Christmas and other winter holidays plainly and explicitly without fear of lawsuits.

Why would he do it noisily? Do governors usually shout and scream while signing legislation?

Anyway, whatever. I’m not convinced there is much fear of lawsuits over celebrating Christmas and other winter holidays, but if you say so.

Naturally, not everyone in the Lone Star State is enthused about the the “Merry Christmas Bill” becoming law.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas has opposed the legislation.

“We hope administrators and teachers remain mindful that it is of utmost importance that it’s parents who teach their children about matters of faith, not public schools” said ACLU spokesman Tom Hargis, according to Austin FOX affiliate KTBC.

Hargis added that the ACLU will surely keep a close eye on Christmas festivities in public schools next school year.

Oh hahaha nobody cares what they say. Civil liberties indeed – who wants civil liberties?!

Aron Ra, Texas director of a group called American Atheists, strongly criticized Rep. Bohac as the bill was percolating through the Texas legislature, according to the Dallas Observer.

I like that “a group called American Atheists” – as if it were so obscure no one had ever heard of it. I don’t think that’s the case.

He wants teachers to randomly be able to proselytize their religious beliefs by being able to put up religious displays in their classrooms, unrestricted, without any fear of litigation.” Ra said. “But what happens when it’s not a Christian that’s doing it? What happens when it’s a pagan trying to do solstice or Saturnalia? They’re using the same damn tree and they can cite where it came from.”

Ra has also argued that the bill will marginalize students who aren’t Christian — an issue he sees as a huge problem even in the absence of the “Merry Christmas Bill.”

Ra’s organization, American Atheists, was established in 1963 and bills itself as “the premier organization fighting for the civil liberties of atheists and the total, absolute separation of government and religion.”

Damn right. That’s why I’m a member.

 

6 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Richard Smith

    Geez! I swear, the war on Chrismas in July is starting earlier every year!

  2. 2
    Vall

    I’ve always took “Happy Holidays!” to be plural, a shorter version of “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” because those holidays are close together. I actually laughed the first time I heard someone try to explain how it was offensive. I still use it in the plural sense, even if I have to explain, because I like to knock the offended off of their script. It’s almost too easy to trip up someone whose objections are from a memorized list.

  3. 3
    screechymonkey

    legislation allowing public schools to celebrate Christmas and other winter holidays plainly and explicitly without fear of lawsuits

    This bill does no such thing. No bill passed by the Texas legislature could.

    The Establishment Clause is part of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and private lawsuits alleging its violation are usually brought under federal civil rights statutes like 42 U.S.C. 1983.

    Those are federal laws, and while I know Rick Perry struggles to comprehend such things, but the Supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution is pretty clear on this point. The states can’t pass laws that override federal laws or the federal constitution. Seriously, there was like, a war fought over it and everything, Rick!

    From the description in the linked article, I don’t think this law is likely to do any harm, either. It reads like a statute to outlaw the boogeyman. I’ve never heard of a lawsuit being brought over someone saying “Merry Christmas.” (If anything, the freakout is usually by Christians who are appalled that a private business asked its employees to say “Happy Holidays” in an effort to be more inclusive.) Which is why the civil rights groups in the article are just saying they’ll monitor the situation, not that they intend to challenge this silly bill.

    Of course, this being Texas, I’m sure some idiot school principal is going to think this gives him license to drag the students into the gymnasium to sing a bunch of hymns to Jesus. But I suspect such idiocy needs little encouragement to begin with.

  4. 4
    tigtog

    This bill does no such thing. No bill passed by the Texas legislature could.

    But isn’t that a feature rather than a bug for the spin they’re planning around this piece of political posturing? That the Big Bad Federal Government is gonna be stomping its Big Bad Federal boots all over their poor sad dwindling State’s Rights?

    I’m sure they know this is bad law, but they reckon it’s good politics.

  5. 5
    screechymonkey

    But isn’t that a feature rather than a bug for the spin they’re planning around this piece of political posturing?

    Maybe. Probably depends on who we’re talking about.

    The conservative media industry is probably already drafting that story (“activist federal judge ignores the will of the People of Texas!”) and selling the ads.

    But the actual rank and file conservatives who care about the supposed “war on Christmas” would probably be pretty distressed to learn that this was an ineffective piece of political posturing.

    And since politicians like to pretend that the things they’re proud of were important and effective, whereas anything that’s somewhat embarrassing politically wasn’t (“it was just a procedural vote”). So I think that Perry and the Texas legislators who voted for this bill probably prefer to just take their victory lap on this and hope it’s never tested in court.

  6. 6
    LykeX

    I think the point is less a matter of actually changing laws or practice and more about sending the signal: “We support the idea that Christians are an oppressed minority.” It’s blatant pandering, nothing else.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite="" class=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>