In an ongoing effort to fight against the so-called “War on Christmas,” Tennessee legislators recently advanced a measure allowing public school teachers and students to say “Merry Christmas" in schools. The measure also allows teachers and students to safely wish each other a “Happy Hanukkah” or say any other greeting commonly associated with the many religious holidays that occur during the winter time. Additionally, the bill includes provisions allowing holiday imagery to be displayed in schools, as long as multiple religions are represented.
The bill was sponsored by State Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden), who claimed that it was created to encourage the continued celebration of Christmas in schools, but it was not intended to discriminate against those that do not celebrate the holiday.
“I’m a real proponent of freedom of religion, but not a proponent of freedom from religion,” Holt said, according to the Toronto Sun, “We are just trying to make sure that nobody is to be excluded in this legislation. It doesn’t preclude any other traditional winter celebrations.”
The main priority of the bill is that all religious holidays can be celebrated in schools, but none should dominate. This has generally been the case already, but the measure would protect teachers from legal action for speaking openly about religious holidays.
According to the Huffington Post, similar legislation was recently passed by lawmakers in the state of Oklahoma.