Tennessee Schools Fight for Right to Celebrate Christmas

Posted by


The American
Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, is threatening Tennessee school districts with
legal action if students and teachers recognize Christmas. The Alliance Defense
Fund (ADF) is stepping in to offer free legal assistance to protect the
constitutional rights of the schools.

The drama
started when the ACLU sent letters to public school superintendents in
Tennessee warning them that the schools will violate the Constitution if they
recognize Christmas without recognizing every other winter holiday.

“It’s ridiculous
that people have to think twice about whether it’s OK to publicly celebrate
Christmas. An overwhelming majority of Americans celebrate Christmas and
are opposed to any kind of censorship of it,” says ADF
Senior Counsel David Cortman. “Urban legends about the offensiveness
of Christmas are clearly out of sync with the American people, common sense and
the Constitution. The ACLU’s conclusions are without merit and are part of
a tired, worn-out, and disproven campaign of fear, intimidation and

The ACLU’s
letter states that school districts risk violating the U.S. Constitution if
they “focus primarily on one religious holiday” without teaching about a
variety of other winter holidays as well, including Hanukkah, Bodhi Day, Kwanza, Eid al Adha, Winter Solstice and New Year’s Day. The
letter, which goes on to recommend using only secular holiday symbols, errantly
argues that the celebration of Christmas within the public schools produces
“divisive conflicts” and constitutes “indoctrination,” “coercion” and

“In recent
years, certain groups, such as the ACLU, have spread misconceptions about the
legalities of celebrating Christmas in public school,” the ADF letter states in
response. “As a result, many school officials have removed nearly all
religious references to Christmas and replaced them with secular
symbols. While many do so unknowingly, school officials have begun a new
‘tradition’ of violating the constitutional rights of students and teachers to
seasonal religious expression in our public school system.”

“And our
Constitution acknowledges that people of faith have a right to openly express
their beliefs in the public square,” the letter continues. “But many
school officials attempt to prohibit students and teachers from expressing any
religious aspect of Christmas. … No court has ever ruled that the Constitution
demands school officials to censor Christmas carols, eliminate all references
to Christmas, or silence those who celebrate Christmas.”

attorney Zale Dowlen,
one of nearly 1,900 attorneys in the ADF alliance, signed the letter together
with Cortman and ADF Senior Counsel Nate Kellum, based in

A 2008 Gallup poll
found that 93 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas. A 2009 Rasmussen poll found that 83 percent of American adults
believe public schools should celebrate religious holidays.

+ posts

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top

We Value Your Privacy

By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies. This use includes personalization of content and ads, and traffic analytics. We use cookies to enhance your browsing experience, serve personalized ads or content, and analyze our traffic. By visiting this site, you consent to our use of cookies.

Read our Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy.

Copy link