By Emily Krueger
This month, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) introduced H. Res. 489, “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected for use by those who celebrate Christmas.” Personally I was unaware that Christmas was in a position in need of protection, but of course it is that time of year when the Religious Right launches an endless stream of rhetoric on the “War on Christmas.”
The resolution, currently with 55 total cosponsors, states that the House “(1) recognizes the importance of the symbols and traditions of Christmas; (2) strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to Christmas; and (3) expresses support for the use of these symbols and traditions by those who celebrate Christmas.” At Americans United, we of course agree with these statements taken on their own as well. We strongly advocate for free speech by all individuals and respect the rights of religious people throughout the country. These rights, especially of those practicing popular and majority religions however, are clearly under no threat and claims to the contrary are just blatantly untrue. When the White House is filled with Christmas trees, parades and pageants are taking place across the nation, and the U.S. Senate engages in Secret Santa exchanges, who can fairly say Christmas is being repressed?
We all know that the point of the bill, in reality, is once again to publicly assert the piety of these members and falsely claim that church-state separation is anti-religious. To the contrary, the separation of church and state ensures we can all celebrate any religious holidays important to us, and we don’t need the help of the government to do so.
The government (or in this case the House of Representatives) asserting the importance of Christmas would clearly be endorsing these particular religious beliefs above others. The real threats to religious freedom at this time of year are in fact often coming from the very people claiming to be victims of “anti-Christmas” sentiment.
Just like the “Reaffirming ‘In God We Trust’” resolution passed last month, this bill is political pandering at its worst and quite simply, a waste of time. Congress should focus on regaining the respect of the American people by dealing with real issues, not by showing off their faith.