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Legal Features

Christmas Under Siege: A Report on the Elimination of an American Tradition

Christmas, as it has traditionally been observed during our lifetime, is under siege.

Across our nation, signs wishing people a "Merry Christmas" are being taken down and "Happy Holidays" banners are going up in their place.

In schools, cities and workplaces around the country, the trend is to treat Christmas like the illegitimate child of the winter holidays. People seem to think that if Christmas is recognized for its religious heritage, even in some small way, it will detract from the equally dignified recognition of the winter holidays of other faiths. Tragically, misunderstandings about the so-called "separation of church and state" have led many public and school officials to conclude that only observances of religions other than Christianity may be openly celebrated on government property. Consequently, discussions of Christmas in many public venues tend to be either silenced altogether or converted from a meaningful celebration to a gaudy commercial extravaganza.

As part of an overall plan to make those of minority religious or ethnic backgrounds feel more comfortable or be better understood, many have undertaken a concerted effort to downplay the influence that Christianity has had on American life and to minimize or eliminate the public recognition of Christian traditions.

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