Texas Governor Rick Perry signed the “Merry Christmas Bill” on June 13 which gives teachers and students the freedom to give traditional winter greetings, like “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukkah.” This bipartisan bill also protects their right to make flyers or posters with such sayings, and allows schools to display religious décor such as Christmas trees, Menorahs, and Nativity Scenes.
Children who wish to take part in religious traditions in Texas public schools will have more liberty to do so during the holiday season this year. The “Merry Christmas Bill” reinstates the freedom of speech for those celebrating their faith during the winter months. The legislation was drafted by state representatives who believe that “our children, teachers, parents and school administrators should have the freedom to acknowledge these traditions in our public schools without fear of censorship, punishment, persecution or litigation. The Merry Christmas Bill guarantees that freedom.”
The bill protects the phrases “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah," and "Happy Holidays" from legal action. Signs can be posted with these sayings as well, so long as they do not contain messages that encourage readers to follow any particular religious belief. Says Texas State Senator Robert Nichols, “We are currently standing at a cultural crossroads in our society, and this is one step forward for those defending our traditional values and beliefs."
As he signed the bill, Governor Rick Perry reminded Americans that “Religious freedom does not mean freedom from religion." An online petition is available for those who would like for similar bills to be passed in their states as well.