Wisconsin High School Allows Distribution of Christmas Cards on Religious Meaning of Candy Cane

Liberty Counsel did not file a lawsuit against a high school district in Wisconsin as planned today after the district overturned its decision to not allow students of a prayer group to distribute Christmas cards telling the religious meaning behind the candy cane.

Five students part of a student-initiated Christian club known as the Wednesday Morning Bible Study Prayer Group distributed to students at West Bend High School Christmas cards telling a story of a candy maker who wanted to make candy that symbolized the true meaning of Christmas. The cards go on to say the “J” shape of the candy cane represents the name of Jesus, the color white stands for the pureness of Jesus, and the color red represents the blood of Jesus shed for everyone.

One of the five students, Jeffrey Weigand, handed one of the cards to Principal Cassandra Schug on Dec. 6 but was told a day after by the Superintendent that the cards could not be distributed at school because it contained a religious message.

On Dec. 7, Liberty Counsel faxed a letter to the Superintendent and the entire school board defending the student’s constitutional right to pass the cards out during non-instructional time. When attorneys at Liberty Counsel did not receive a response from the district by the requested date, Dec. 9, they prepared a lawsuit to be filed on the morning of Dec. 14.

But on Monday afternoon, the school district attorney informed the legal group that the district would allow the distribution of the Christmas cards.

"Christmas is constitutional,” Mathew D. Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel, stated Tuesday. “To allow the celebration of only the secular aspects of Christmas shows hostility, rather than neutrality, toward religion. Those who censor the religious aspects of Christmas thinking that they are honoring the Constitution, in fact, violate the Constitution by discriminating against the religious viewpoint. The government must respect our religious heritage.”

The district’s response comes two weeks after Liberty Counsel launched its second annual "Friend or Foe" campaign, in which it said it would be a friend of school districts or governmental entities that do not intentionally censor the religious aspect of Christmas but will be the foe of those that do.

In a press release, the legal group said public school students have the right to distribute Christmas cards to their friends during noninstructional time and sing "Silent Night" or "The First Noel" during their school holiday concert.

Another law firm, the Alliance Defense Fund, has also launched a similar campaign called, “It’s okay to say Merry Christmas,” to protect religious expression at Christmastime.