The Alliance Defense Fund has once again launched its Christmas Project to dispel common misconceptions over the legality of seasonal religious displays in public.
ADF first began the project last year, distributing pamphlets to thousands of school districts to inform administrators about their responsibilities and rights regarding references to Christmas. ADF continues their efforts this year; over 3,600 school districts nationwide have already been contacted to clarify the role of schools in laws concerning religious expression.
The ADF pamphlet cites that no U.S. Supreme Court has ruled to censor Christmas carols, eliminate all references to Christmas, or silence those who celebrate Christs birth. It also states that recognizing religious holidays like Christmas and referring to the winter break as Christmas vacation does not violate the Constitution.
This year, over 700 lawyers are joining the Christmas Project to provide legal support, free of charge, "to combat any attempts to censor the celebration of Christmas in schools and on public property."
ADF President Alan Spears stated, The phrase 'separation of church and state' is not in the U.S. Constitution, but because of the fear, intimidation, and disinformation groups like the ACLU promote, many public officials and educational leaders mistakenly believe it is their duty to silence Christian religious expression. ADFs goal this season is to inform and educate the 96 percent of Americans who celebrate Christmas regarding their rights.
A representative from the American Civil Liberties Union, Paul Silva, responded to ADF, commenting on the many misstatements in the ADF pamphlet to CNSNews.com. In defense of the ACLUs role in seasonal religious disputes, Silva added, We actually defended students who were punished for distributing candy canes with religious messages during the Christmas season last year.
Others, including Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, have advised school districts to pay more attention to court decisions. According to CNSNews.com, Boston stated, What the courts have said is that the use of religious symbols in a public school classroom must have a legitimate educational purpose.
Under the First Amendment, Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, limiting holiday displays that promote religion. At the same time, the First Amendment protects the free exercise of religion.