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ACLU prepares for annual outpouring of calls, complaints and accusations — all in the spirit of the season

16th December 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Marjorie R. Esman
Guest Columnist

If Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday season, it’s also the time of year that ACLU attorneys and staffers in offices around the country prepare for a new ACLU tradition—the showering of calls, complaints and accusations connected to the long running, persistent and totally manufactured notion that the ACLU is anti-Christmas—America’s official Grinch, trying to kill Christmas. Since the ACLU has always stood for the protection of everyone’s religious rights, this is simply not true. Still, during the holiday season, some of the organizations that believe the ACLU is waging a war on Christmas prepare their annual holiday attack with zeal.

These anti-ACLU campaigns suggest that there is an organized and well funded campaign to end Christmas. They suggest that it’s part of a bigger conspiracy to prohibit people from practicing religion altogether. Ultimately, these organizations have little respect for people’s right to celebrate religious holidays as they choose. Instead, and what’s usually at the heart of the issue is that these holiday soldiers, if you will, demand that people accept their one and only version of the holiday. Rather than support the diversity of religious and holiday traditions, these groups seek to impose their own orthodoxy on everyone else. Talk about the spirit of Giving! The ACLU will always oppose the establishment of a single form of religious practice, just as we will always support everyone’s right to practice their own religion.

Christmas is safe

In spite of the above, be assured that the ACLU is not trying to kill Christmas and that Christmas is safe. A person’s right to religious expression is protected by the First Amendment and that includes the right to celebrate Christmas or any other holiday however a person chooses, in public or private. Everyone can erect holiday decorations at home and in their churches. They can put up signs in their front yard that say they love Christmas or do as a woman in Denhan Springs did last year and erect a display of lights featuring an extended middle finger. While her display drew the ire of her neighbors, the ACLU of Louisiana defended her right to freedom of expression with the same fervor that we would defend your right to pray privately at work. The bottom line is this. People can celebrate any holiday how they choose and where they choose; but Government should not get involved in the promotion of religious beliefs and practices, period. And, Christmas is best served without government influence.

America’s real Grinch isn’t the ACLU or organizations like ours. It’s the people and organizations that refuse to respect the very freedoms on which this nation rests; people, who in the name of protecting Christmas, engage in a war of lies and propaganda; whose tactics bear no resemblance to the very thing they claim to honor and protect. Conspicuously absent in their rhetoric is the spirit of peace, acceptance and reconciliation – not to mention the religious freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution. But I’ve got to give it to the group of carolers who stood in front of the Washington DC ACLU office singing Christmas carols and holding signs that said “Please Don’t Sue Us.” That was really was creative. In fact, before it was over, ACLU staffers joined the carolers, sang Christmas carols, drank hot toddy and engaged in the kind of conversation that breaks down walls and barriers. Funny thing, had someone tried to stop the carolers, we would have defended their right to harass us. Now, that’s the Christmas Spirit.

This article originally published in the December 16, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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