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New Hampshire superintendent schooled on the constitutionality of ‘Christmas’

This past Wednesday the Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter to New Hampshire School Administrative Unit 29 Superintendent Robert Malay educating him on the constitutionality of the term “Christmas.”

Malay had ordered the term “Christmas Tree” be replaced with “Holiday Tree” on a flier advertising a … Christmas tree lighting event.

In protest, the person in charge of the fliers whited out “Christmas” instead.

From the ADF news release:

“Calling Christmas trees what they are is not unconstitutional,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “But it is unconstitutional to censor private speech simply because it is religious in nature.”

District policy allows the distribution of private fliers providing information about “non-school programs offered by non-profit organizations” that are “deemed to have educational, recreational or social value to students,” but the policy also says the fliers “must be secular.”

“After public outcry regarding the censorship of this innocuous reference to what Congress has recognized as a ‘legal public holiday[],’ SAU 29 issued a statement suggesting that Superintendent Malay’s decision was prompted by concerns about violating the Establishment Clause. But the Establishment Clause requires no such thing…,” the ADF letter explains. “In fact, SAU 29’s policy explicitly singles out religion in a forbidden manner, stating that flyers ‘must be secular.’ This fosters ‘a pervasive bias or hostility to religion [that] undermine[s] the very neutrality the Establishment Clause requires,’” as the U.S. Supreme Court stated in a 1995 decision.

“Simply put,” the letter continues, “using the word Christmas in a flyer advertising a Christmas tree lighting and the appearance of Santa Claus is only sensible and plainly not unconstitutional.”

Read the full article.

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