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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

"Merry Christmas. It's okay to say it."

ADF: More than 800 attorneys nationwide ready to combat attempts to censor Christmas

Third annual Christmas Project declares, "Merry Christmas. It's okay to say it."

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - The Alliance Defense Fund announced today it has more than 800 attorneys available nationwide to combat any improper attempts to censor the celebration of Christmas in schools and on public property.

"An overwhelming majority of Americans of all faiths agree that we should celebrate Christmas," said ADF President Alan Sears. "This is a time for goodness, giving, and hope--not a time for fear, intimidation, and the disinformation of agenda-driven, anti-Christmas legal entities."

According to recent polls,

96 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas (Fox News/Opinion Dynamics, 2003).

90 percent of Americans recognize Christmas as the birthday of Jesus Christ (Gallup, 2000).

88 percent of Americans say it is okay for people to wish others "Merry Christmas" and the majority of Americans are more likely to wish someone they just met "Merry Christmas" rather than "Happy Holidays" (CNN/USA Today/Gallup, 2004).

87 percent of Americans believe nativity scenes should be allowed on public property (Fox News/Opinion Dynamics, 2003).

"As in years past, ADF's goal this season is to inform, educate, and help protect the rights of the 96% of Americans who celebrate Christmas regarding their rights," Sears explained.

"We want to dispel the myths about religious expression at Christmastime that have prompted wrongful acts of government censorship of religious speech," Sears said. "Merry Christmas. It's okay to say it."

The purpose of ADF's Christmas Project is to clear up misconceptions about seasonal religious expression on public property:

The U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled that public schools must ban the singing of religious Christmas carols or prohibit the distribution of candy canes or Christmas cards.

School officials may refer to a school break in December as "Christmas Vacation" or as a holiday without offending the Constitution.

School officials do not violate the Constitution by closing on religious holidays such as Christmas and Good Friday.
No court has ever held that celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas as religious holidays requires recognition of all other religious holidays.

The "Three Reindeer Rule" used by the courts requires a municipality to place a sufficient number of secular objects in close enough proximity to the Christmas item (such as a crèche) to render the overall display sufficiently secular. Although the overall display must not convey a message endorsing a particular religion's view, Christmas displays are not banned as some people believe. Simply put, the courts ask, "Is the municipality celebrating the holiday or promoting religion?"

Participating with ADF in this year's Christmas Project are Coral Ridge Ministries, Focus on the Family, Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York, and the majority of America's state family policy councils.

ADF will represent people of faith, as well as school districts or other entities, free of charge--as it has in numerous instances in recent years--to defend their freedom of speech regarding Christmas, even after Christmas is over.

ADF has prepared a free informational pamphlet titled "The Truth about Religious Expression at Christmastime." An informational legal memorandum that can be sent to school officials regarding the law and Christmas expression is also available. Visit www.saychristmas.org or call 1-877-TELL-ADF.

ADF is a legal alliance defending America's first liberty--religious freedom--through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.

November 02, 2005, 10:30 AM (MST)
www.telladf.org www.saychristmas.org

Related information

Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll: www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,105272,00.html

Gallup polls: poll.gallup.com/content/default.aspx?ci=14410&pg=2
ADF Christmas Media Kit (for media outlets only): www.saychristmas.org/docs/mediakit.pdf


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