"We expect the ACLU and its usual ‘freedom from religion’ allies, along with uninformed, misguided government officials in many communities to once again attempt to turn the joy of Christmas into a divisive ‘separation of church and state’ controversy," said Alan E. Sears, president of the Alliance Defense Fund. "Somebody will set up a Christmas crèche or acknowledge ‘the reason for the season’ on a few feet of public property, and a radical ACLU attorney will try to spoil it for all Americans."
But this year things are different. This year there is an organized national effort to stand up to unconstitutional censorship of Christmas. The Alliance Defense Fund Christmas Project features key allied attorneys - team leaders - in Washington, D.C., and in each of the 11 federal judicial circuits. Hundreds of attorneys trained by the Alliance Defense Fund, and several allied legal organizations, stand ready to represent people of faith and freedom of speech regarding Christmas are ready to combat the continuing efforts to censor Christmas.
As The Philadelphia Inquirer put it this past August, the Alliance Defense Fund has "an army of lawyers," and they have been prepared precisely for a national religious liberty and free speech project such as this one.
"Radical advocates have long been trying to re-write the plain meaning of the Constitution by making the First Amendment say something it doesn’t. The First Amendment says nothing about the so-called "separation of church and state," and it certainly does not promote or even allow the censorship and public acknowledgement of Christmas," said Sears.
Misconceptions about religious expression regarding Christmas are rampant. For instance:
- Many parents and teachers would be surprised to learn that no court has ever ruled that public schools must ban the singing of religious Christmas carols.
- School officials may refer to a school break in December as ‘Christmas Vacation’ or as a holiday without offending the Constitution.
- School officials do not violate the Constitution by closing on religious holidays such as Christmas and Good Friday.
- No court has ever held that celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas as religious holidays requires recognition of all other religious holidays.
The United States and its presidents historically have recognized religious holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. On December 24, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke to the Nation, saying "Here, at home, we will celebrate this Christmas Day in our traditional American way-because of its deep spiritual meaning to us; because the teachings of Christ are fundamental in our lives; and because we want our youngest generation to grow up knowing the significance of this tradition and the story of the coming of the immortal Prince of Peace and Good Will."
The Constitution does not require government officials to obliterate religious observances and expression from public schools, Sears explained. "We want to dispel the extremist myths about religious expression at Christmas time that have prompted tragic and unnecessary acts of government censorship of religious speech. And later this year we look forward to wishing you a Merry Christmas!"
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.