It's still OK to wish people a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah in Texas' schools, after lawmakers last year signed the "Merry Christmas Law."
The bipartisan law, sponsored by Texas state Reps. Dwayne Bohac, R-Houston, and Richard Raymond, D-Loredo, was passed so students and their teachers could celebrate the two religious holidays in public schools "without fear of censorship, litigation, or persecution," Bohac told ABC affiliate KTRK in Houston.
Texas lawmakers are reminding people it's OK to say Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah in school now.
which passed unanimously last year, also permits religious scenes and symbols to be displayed on public school property.
"With Christmas around the corner, our goal is to educate the public on this state law so that our teachers and students are able to celebrate the upcoming holiday season without fear of retribution or punishment," Bohac said in a press conference this week at the Texas Capitol, reports Breitbart News.
But while the Texas law permits Christmas greetings, a poll last Christmas season revealed that nearly half of Americans would rather have stores and businesses greet their customers with the more inclusive "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings," and not "Merry Christmas," reports The Christian Science Monitor.
In that poll, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, 49 percent preferred "Happy Holidays," while 43 percent preferred "Merry Christmas."
More Republicans, at 61 percent, preferred the Christmas greeting over the holiday wish, the poll discovered, with 58 percent preferring the overall holiday greeting.
Raymond and Jonathan Saenz, whose group Texas Values spearheaded a statewide grassroots campaign to support the new law, appeared at the press conference to remind Texans of their rights.
"We hope the Merry Christmas law will lead to less school districts being naughty and more being nice," said Saenz. "Our Merry Christmas Texas effort continues to educate millions of Texas public school students and parents and our over 1,200 school districts of their protections under the Merry Christmas Law and the First Amendment. We want people to know that in public schools, it’s okay to say ‘Merry Christmas.'"
Two other states, Tennessee and Missouri, followed Texas and passed similar laws, and other states are trying to pass Christmas laws of their own, reports the Texas Values website.
Last year, schools in Frisco and Austin attempted to disobey the law, says Texas Values. In Frisco, the PTA sent out an email trying to ban red and green decorations, Christmas trees, and references to Christmas. Meanwhile, administrators at Anderson High School in Austin tried to stop students from singing Christmas carols and other holiday tunes.
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