Tags: Indiana | preserve | Christmas | Legislature

Ind. Lawmaker Proposes Bill to 'Preserve' Christmas in 2015

By    |   Monday, 22 Dec 2014 02:45 PM

Not wanting to waste any time, an Indiana state senator wants to give his constituents an early Christmas present by sponsoring a proposal for the 2015 legislative session to "preserve Christmas traditions" in the Hoosier State.

"The Christmas season encompasses so many meaningful traditions, but many times these traditions and the people who participate in them are threatened. Just this week, a town in Indiana is being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the Freedom from Religion Foundation for a Nativity scene that has been on display for more than a half-century on its courthouse lawn. This bill is a step toward defending a sacred holiday that is otherwise being stolen from our children and our culture," said state Sen. Jim Smith in a press release.

Smith offered a similar bill in 2014 that would have afforded to public school teachers the legal protection to celebrate the holiday in their classrooms if they wished. The measure passed the Senate but stalled in the House.

The new proposal would go one step further, allowing Nativity scenes and other religious displays on town and city properties if they are coupled with secular displays or recognize multiple faiths.

Smith's bill will not be acted upon until January when the Legislature returns to business.

A small victory was achieved by supporters of such displays on Friday when the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Thomas More Society came to an agreement in an ongoing lawsuit over the placement of a Nativity scene on the lawn of the Franklin County Courthouse.

"We’re pleased to secure the right to display the Nativity scene on the Franklin County Courthouse lawn through Christmas. The parties will now litigate the case on a normal schedule, without the threat of an emergency injunction forcing the removal of the Nativity scene just before Christmas," said Peter Breen, Thomas More Society vice president and senior counsel.

Lawsuits and countersuits have become a staple of the holiday season in recent years.

Last week, a poll was released showing that 44 percent of Americans support allowing Christian displays on public property, even if the symbols associated with other religions are not permitted.

The Pew Research Religion and Public Life Project reported that 28 percent approve, but only if other religions are represented, such as Hanukkah candles to reflect Jewish traditions.

Just 20 percent say there should be no religious displays on government property, period.

One finding of surprise was that 65 percent of respondents believe the biblical Christmas story reflects the historical events associated with the birth of Jesus Christ, including that Mary was a virgin, that an angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus, and that wise men, guided by a star, brought Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh.

As more lawsuits are filed, some jurisdictions have adopted a policy of permitting most displays even Satanic Christmas displays.

Earlier this month, approval was given by the Florida Department of Management Services to the Satanic Temple to place its own display in the Capitol building in Tallahassee, reported The Tampa Bay Times.

Five displays were given approval, including a 6-foot stack of beer cans to celebrate Festivus, the fake holiday created by a character on the television sitcom "Seinfeld."

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Not wanting to waste any time, an Indiana state senator wants to give his constituents an early Christmas present by sponsoring a proposal for the 2015 legislative session to "preserve Christmas traditions" in the Hoosier State.
Indiana, preserve, Christmas, Legislature
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2014-45-22
Monday, 22 Dec 2014 02:45 PM
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