Each year, misguided government officials and fearful corporate executives try to censor expressions of Christmas. Some recent examples include (1.) The Governor of Rhode Island renaming the Christmas tree erected in the State Capitol as a “holiday tree.” (2) The City of Santa Monica, California stopping a six decade tradition of allowing private citizens to erect Nativity scenes in a local park after atheists complained and worked to erect their anti-Christmas displays (3) officials at a community college in western North Carolina rewriting an advertisement, so that a student group was selling “holiday trees,” not Christmas trees, as a fundraiser and (4) public school officials changed the lyrics of Christmas carols or forbade students from displaying art they had made in class depicting the manger scene.
The censorship removes the religious aspects of Christmas, while leaving the holiday’s secular aspects. Store decorations seldom depict any celebration of Jesus Christ coming to earth to die for the sins of His people (Matt. 1:21). God’s greatest gift is the message being suppressed.
When a private business instructs its employees to say “Happy Holidays” and never “Merry Christmas,” it is succumbing to an unseen pressure to eliminate the “objectionable” religious aspects of Christmas.
The Constitution does not guarantee everyone the right that everything they find “offensive” be removed from their path.
Even if such a constitutional requirement existed, it would apply only to the government, not to private businesses and individuals. A store clerk or a public school student saying “Merry Christmas” cannot violate the Constitution.
The Constitution requires the government to accommodate private religious expression, not obliterate it. The Establishment Clause does not require public schools to stop students from making art that depicts Mary and Joseph. It does not require school officials to change the words of Christmas carols sung at the school’s Christmas “Winter Concert.”
School officials can constitutionally use religious songs for educational purposes, like, to teach history (black gospel spirituals) or to challenge the students’ skills (like Handel’s Messiah) or even because the songs are relevant to the community or time of year. If that were the case, public school education would be plucked bare of anything referencing religion including Shakespeare and Renaissance art.
Unfortunately, there is Christmas censorship, but the Constitution does not require it. And frankly, those demanding it should find more important things to do. Merry CHRISTmas!