Friday, November 24, 2006
Nearly 1,000 attorneys around the country are prepared to combat attempts to censor Christmas. For the fourth year, the legal group, the Alliance Defense Fund, has launched its Christmas Project.
Attorney Heather Gebelin Hacker, says, in the past, groups like the ACLU have improperly tried to get rid of public Christmas displays. Hacker says there is a court ruling that directly refers to such displays:
Hacker: It’s kind of facetiously been called the three reindeer rule, which is, basically, the courts will look at whether or not there are a sufficient number of secular objects, along with any religious objects in the display, as to make it not primarily religious.
Officials with the ACLU did not want to comment for this story. The Alliance Defense Fund says surveys show nearly 90 percent of Americans think it’s OK to wish someone Merry Christmas, and nearly 90 percent believe nativity scenes should be allowed on public property.Editor's Note: Communications Director of ACLU San Diego & Imperial Counties, Rebecca Rauber, e-mailed the following response to this story:
"For the record, the ACLU is well known for its defense of the Establishment Clause against attempts to use the government to promote particular religious beliefs. The ACLU's efforts defending freedom of religious expression are generally less known, although such work has been an important part of ACLU's activities for many years. It is sometimes wrongly imagined, for ex38le, that the ACLU does not vigorously protect rights of religious expression, particularly of Christians. The Alliance Defense Fund and other organizations pretend that the ACLU has challenged holiday greetings (the right of store clerks, for instance, to greet their customers by saying "Merry Christmas"). This is simply false. There is no "Merry Christmas" lawsuit, but these groups continue to propagate the tired myth because it brings in money and converts and raises the wrath of their masses. The ACLU works hard to protect the rights of free religious expression for all people, including-but not exclusively-Christians."