Its now okay to say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hanukkah" in Texas public schools.
Flanked by sleigh bell ringing Santa impersonators, Texas Governor Rick Perry Thursday signed into law the so-called 'Merry Christmas' measure, removing any legal risks of using traditional holiday greetings or symbols in public schools.
“Religious freedom does not mean freedom from religion,” Perry said.
“Its a shame that a bill like this one is even required, but I'm proud that we're standing up for religious freedom in this state.”
State Representative Dwayne Bohac authored the legislation as a way to protect schools from costly litigation.
“This is just political correctness run amok, and our brains have completely fallen out as a result of political correctness,” said the northwest Houston Republican. “This bill seeks to restore some sanity to our civil discourse.”
Jonathan Saenz at the group Texas Values blames recent lawsuits against holiday displays and religious references on outsiders who like to stir up trouble within public institutions, combined with school leaders unwilling to fight.
“School districts overreact, there's no reason for it,” Saenz tells KTRH News. “A lot of times the casualty is the First Amendment, and students have the wrong impression about how the law works.”
Schools now can display things such as Christmas Trees and Menorahs, so long as more than one religion is reflected.
“We hope this a fire that will take off and become law in the other 49 states,” said Bohac. “I would encourage all of them to learn about the Texas model, and possibly use it as a go-by in their particular state.”