Editorial: Wasting time in Montgomery — Allen’s bill about Christmas will just get in Legislature’s way
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Aug 22, 2013 | 2133 views |  0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
State Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa, plans to pre-file a bill that will protect the sanctity of the phrase, “Merry Christmas.”

Allen’s bill, he has told the press, will protect teachers and students who want to greet each other and everyone else with “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” or “happy holidays.” What they are being protected from is not clear, plus we can’t be certain if anyone saying these things has been threatened in some way.

In 2005, a nationwide protest led by a Catholic civil rights organization took place after an email from a Wal-Mart employee instructed company workers to say “happy holidays.” Wal-Mart repudiated the letter and fired the worker, but the rumor mill kept grinding and some people began a personal “in-your-face” Merry Christmas campaign, which certainly delighted the One whose birthday was being celebrated.

Now Allen thinks Alabama needs a law to protect what is, in effect, the free exercise of already protected speech.

Here is a state with a host of financial, social and environmental issues, and instead of addressing these, a state senator pre-files a bill that will accomplish nothing but take up legislative time.

Interestingly, the bill also protects the right of teachers to teach about “traditional winter celebrations,” which opens the door for Christmas and Hanukkah to be joined by the Chinese New Year, Kwanzaa, Three Kings Day, Eid Al Adha, Bodhi and the ever popular Saturnalia.

Soon there would be more celebrating than studying, test scores would go down and a legislator would introduce a bill to consolidate the celebrations. You can imagine the furor that would follow.

Making sure the “C-word” stood out in his announcement, Allen stated that “this legislation protects our conservative Alabama values by ensuring that people of all faiths are free to celebrate traditional holidays openly and without fear of litigation and punishment.”

Truth is, people of all faiths are already free to do just that.

Allen’s bill will waste time the Alabama Legislature can ill afford to waste.
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