Houston Lawmaker Joins the Fight
Texas State Rep. Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston) has pre-filed the "Merry Christmas Bill" for next year's legislative session. Bohac tells KTRH the legislation is aimed at Texas public schools. "To offer a measure of protection to teachers and administrators so they can feel free to say things like Merry Christmas, and call a Christmas tree a Christmas tree, and say Happy Hanukkah, and put out a Menorah, or put out a Nativity," he says. Specifically, the bill takes Supreme Court decisions that have upheld rights of public entities to recognize Christmas and other religious holidays and codifies them into state law, to protect schools and school districts from lawsuits.
Bohac says he got the idea for the bill after his first grade son came home from school last year and told him the class had decorated a "holiday tree" with "holiday ornaments." Bohac questioned school administrators and found they were worried about being sued. He says schools already have the right to use terms like Christmas and display both religious and non-religious holiday symbols, but many don't know it. "We just don't have to tap dance around this issue anymore, and let this type of censorship and assault on Christmas go unanswered," he says.
Bohac sounds like he's fighting against the "War on Christmas," but he insists he isn't picking a fight with anyone. "It's not written to be confrontational at all, it's written to give people religious freedom in the public school square." He expects the bill will get strong bi-partisan support in next year's Legislature. After all, he argues, the ultimate authority on recognizing Christmas was Congress itself, more than a century ago. "The holiday we're all celebrating right now is a federal holiday," he says. "And that federal holiday established in 1870 is called Christmas...it's called Christmas."