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Supreme Court of the United States

University of Minnesota Expands “War on Christmas” to Include “War on Hanukkah”

By Jordan Lorence posted on:
December 21, 2017

Officials at the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Science have issued a statement urging students and faculty to eliminate all allusions to religion from their holiday celebrations. Fox News has confirmed that the University of Minnesota had issued this statement, so this is not a parody issued to make the University look extreme and ridiculous.

Although Alliance Defending Freedom is not currently focusing its resources on fighting censorship of Christmas as a main priority at this time, I bring up this University of Minnesota statement as a public service to those who deny that any “war on Christmas” exists at all. Here is hard evidence of government officials urging people to suppress their celebration of Christmas, while additionally expanding this to be a “war on Hanukkah.”

We at ADF do not make this stuff up. Alas, I fear it is all too real.

The University of Minnesota statement urges students and faculty to “consider neutral-themed parties such as a ‘winter celebration,’” and that “[d]ecorations, music, and food should be general and not specific to any one religion.” (Interestingly, the University apparently agrees with ADF in our Masterpiece Cakeshop case that food can communicate a message celebrating an event others might not want to participate in, but that is another blog post).

The statement makes sure everyone understands its massive reach by listing examples of items “not appropriate for gatherings and displays at this time of year since they typically represent specific religious iconography.” And the list of “inappropriate” is immensely broad:

Santa Claus, Angels, Christmas trees, Star of Bethlehem, Driedels, Nativity scene, Bows/wrapped gifts, Menorah, Bells, Doves,  Red and Green or Blue and White/Silver decoration themes (red and green are representative of the Christian tradition as blue and white/silver are for Jewish Hanukkah that is also celebrated at this time of year).

Wow! No angels, doves or red/green or blue/silver decorations! The Establishment Clause does not require a state governmental institution like the University of Minnesota to impose these draconian standards of Christmas and Hanukkah censorship. The Supreme Court, for example, has upheld governmental displays with Christmas trees and menorahs, and no court has ever required elimination of decorations that are red and green or blue and white/silver, because they allude to Christmas or Hanukkah.

I suggest this as the next target for the diversity enforcers: I know the University of Minnesota allows many traffic lights flashing between “red” and “green”! It must be an insensitive plot to subtly promote Christmas! Diversity forces, rise up and perform your cleansing mission!

This statement takes “promoting diversity” to a ridiculous level, assuming that people are offended by the most modest acknowledgements of Christmas. No red and green decorations? You’ve got to be kidding! And to expand this scouring of holidays from Christmas to Hanukkah demonstrates its extreme overreach.

Plucking our community life together bare of any reference to religious holidays does not promote a truly tolerant diversity but brings a sterile emptiness that deprives our lives of things that make them enjoyable and meaningful. And what concerns me is that what happens on university campuses does not stay on university campuses. We cannot allow this misguided zealotry to spread.

So to everyone, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!


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Jordan Lorence

Jordan Lorence

Senior Counsel, Director of Strategic Engagement

Jordan Lorence serves as senior counsel and director of strategic engagement with Alliance Defending Freedom, where he plays a key role with the Strategic Relations and Training Team.

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