Tennessee Lawmaker Pushes 'Merry Christmas' Bill

Thursday, 15 Aug 2013 02:39 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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A Tennessee lawmaker wants schoolchildren and teachers to celebrate holidays in class without worrying about the threat of legal repercussions.

Sen. Stacey Campfield has introduced legislation — nicknamed the "Merry Christmas Bill" — that would assure the legal right to issue "traditional greetings" during "winter celebrations," the Knoxville News reports.

"This stops all these silly lawsuits that say you can’t say 'Merry Christmas' or 'Happy Hanukkah' or have a Christmas tree," Campfield told the newspaper.

He said he is aware of people "afraid of lawsuits" when it comes to the use of religious greetings in public schools, and "the ACLU is always freaking out about that stuff." However, he said he knew of no specific cases.

Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU, admitted the organization is interested in the subject, but called Campfield's bill a waste of paper. "Sen. Campfield is envisioning a problem that does not exist," she said.

Campfield’s bill mirrors a Texas law signed by Gov. Rick Perry that state schools may allow students and staff to offer traditional holiday greetings.

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