Congressman Doug Lamborn has a proposal to protect Christmas. Specifically, he wants the U.S. House of Representatives to declare that they support Christmas, oppose banning Christmas, and to support celebrants in using Christmas symbols and traditions.
‘Tis the season for “war on Christmas” debates, and for endless discussion of the difference between “banning” Christmas and being inclusive of those who celebrate other holidays.
Usually, the issues that arise aren’t about any individual’s right to celebrate, but about how government institutions should handle Christmas in a way that doesn’t show a preference for one religion over others, and how companies ask their employees to behave in a manner that is inclusive of all customers.
For instance, one of the big issues this year has been that the University of Tennessee’s Knoxville campus issued a list of suggestions, telling staff ways that a holiday party could be inclusive of all co-workers and students, regardless of religion or cultural background. The memo prompted several elected officials, including the state’s Lieutenant Governor, to speak out, calling it an attack on Christmas and Christianity, and even calling for the school’s chancellor to be fired.
However, the school made no policies, didn’t ban Christmas parties, and certainly did not dictate any rules about how staff or students could celebrate outside school.
House Resolution 564 is brief.
It describes itself as a resolution.
“Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected for use by those who celebrate Christmas.”
The bill then assures that the establishment clause, which prevents the government from establishing a state religion, does not prohibit mention of religion or God in public speech, and declares as follows.
“That the House of Representatives—
(1)recognizes the importance of the symbols and traditions of Christmas;
(2)strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to Christmas; and
(3)expresses support for the use of these symbols and traditions by those who celebrate Christmas.”
Protecting Christmas isn’t a new campaign for Lamborn. His campaign site notes that he drafted similar legislation in 2011, calling for official disapproval of any attempts to ban references to Christmas in public speech. He did not cite any examples in which such bans have been attempted.
In 2013, according to the Hill, he proposed similar legislation, declaring that a vocal minority are offended and are trying to shut down Christmas celebrations by other Americans.
However, Lamborn may not have been referring to celebration by individuals then either, but by government institutions, as, at about the same time, he tweeted to declare that public schools should celebrate Christmas.
In 2014, he made a speech to Congress, as recorded here by Americans United, stating that atheist groups are attempting to have Christmas symbols removed from public property, and referring to this as an attempt to ban references to Christmas.
The GovTrack site, which provides the text of, and information about, all proposed bills and their progress, declares a 0 percent prognosis of this one making it past a committee to a full vote, so it’s likely to suffer the same fate as Representative Lamborn’s efforts in previous years — dead before it begins.
As Mediaite noted about the 2014 version of the bill, the 2015 version would also have no practical effects and includes nothing enforceable by law.
Notably, none of Lamborn’s proposed legislation to protect Christmas offers similar protections to other holidays or traditions, of Christianity or any other religion, nor acknowledges other religious and cultural holidays that fall around the same time of year, such as Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. Christmas is one of only ten Federal holidays, and the White House annually decorates around a theme, with the President offering a speech at a national tree lighting ceremony.
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