Forest Service forbids ‘religious themes’ on 5,000 Christmas tree decorations because they might offend non-Christians.
The U.S. Forest Service has banned the name of Jesus from decorations being assembled by children in Arizona for a blue spruce from the state that will become the Capitol Christmas Tree this year, and a legal firm is challenging the censorship.
“Banning Christmas from the Capitol Christmas tree is just absurd. Christian students shouldn’t be discriminated against for expressing their religious beliefs,” said Jonathan Scruggs, litigation staff counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund.
“The First Amendment does not allow government officials to exclude schoolchildren’s ornaments for the capitol’s Christmas tree merely because they communicate a religious viewpoint,” he said yesterday.
The organization has sent a letter to state and federal officials, including Arizona Gov. Janie Brewer, who are supervising the program, calling on them to stop enforcement of the prohibition.The legal organization said one criterion states: “Ornaments cannot reflect a religious or political theme. Instead, share your interpretation of our theme ‘Arizona’s gift, from the Grand Canyon State”
The legal organization said one criterion states: “Ornaments cannot reflect a religious or political theme. Instead, share your interpretation of our theme ‘Arizona’s gift, from the Grand Canyon State.But a mother whose child wanted to submit ornaments with holiday themes such as “Happy Birthday, Jesus,” “Merry Christmas” and a manger scene raised her concern with ADF.“
“The Supreme Court has consistently condemned viewpoint discrimination regardless where it occurs,” the letter continued. “Viewpoint discrimination is an ‘egregious’ form of discrimination that occurs ‘[w]hen the government targets not subject matter, but particular views taken by speakers on a subject.'” WND
UPDATE: GREAT NEWS! Feds lift ban on ‘Jesus’ on Capitol Christmas tree
‘Happy Birthday’ to be allowed on 2009 recognition of holiday
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