Don't let colleges stamp out your rights during Christmas
The Christmas season is upon us. It’s the time of year filled with gifts, family, Santa Claus, and, as always, free speech being crushed on college campuses. Every year, new controversies emerge because of colleges and universities inhibiting the Christmas spirit through political correctness.
In the past, colleges have banned Christmas trees, wrapped gifts, non-religious Christmas decorations, and even the word "Christmas." A professor has called Christmas a "patriarchal construct" and one college even re-named its annual Christmas event to ‘Hotty Toddy Holiday’ in the name of inclusivity.
Legally, how far can public colleges and universities go to stifle free speech? Are these practices protected under the law, or is it a violation of our First Amendment rights on public grounds?
One legal resource by the Pacific Justice Institute provides the answers.
Referred to as the “Christmas Q&A”, the document serves as a guide to provide “detailed answers to frequently asked questions during Christmas,” and the answers are applicable to holidays like Easter and Thanksgiving, as well.
Here are the most three important points to take away from the guide:
1. Euphemisms have no constitutional authority
“There is zero constitutional authority for the notion that we have to use euphemisms like 'winter break' to avoid the reality that Christmas continues to be the most important celebration in the United States,” Pacific Justice Institute says. Colleges also have no authority to replace "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays."
2. Christmas trees are allowed on public grounds
“In the Supreme Court’s landmark Lynch v. Donnelly case, the Court’s analysis of the city’s holiday display regarded the tree as being a secular symbol [and thus not a government endorsement of a particular religion],” the guide explains.
3. Christmas literature can be distributed on college campuses and the right to free speech includes literature, gifts, and invitations.
“Most courts considering the issue have recognized the right for student expression, including gifts, not to be censored based on religious content,” according to the Christmas Q&A.
So, next time your college campus tries to take down a Christmas tree, prevents a student organization from distributing Christmas-themed literature, or bans terms such as "Christmas break," remember that the law is not on their side -- the Supreme Court says so.
Pacific Justice Institute is a nonprofit organization that offers legal defense against vioalations of religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties. Students can seek legal assistance by clicking here.
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