First there was no room at the inn. Now there’s no room for Mary and Joseph anywhere. Just ask public universities. Most college campuses never met a party they didn’t like — until they had “Christmas” in the name. That’s the latest flash point from Mississippi to Tennessee.
At James Madison University, the school’s “Unity Tree” lighting didn’t exactly create harmony with the students’ Christian acapella group. Instead of singing, “Mary, Did You Know?” as “Into Hymn” requested, the students were told to perform a secular song — or not at all.
That was par for the politically correct course at the University of Mississippi, where officials renamed the “Grand Ole Christmas” celebration into a “less offensive” drinking party: “Hotty Toddy Holiday.” Hannah Haley was just one of the Christian students stunned by the change. Speakers kept bringing up words like “family” and “inclusion,” she wrote, but went on to exclude the majority of the campus with the change. “There is diversity in even how Christians celebrate Christmas,” she argued.
In Florida, the group behind the annual Capitol nativity scene surrendered before they even started. Pam Olsen, the president of the Florida Prayer Network, felt that with all of the violence in America, sponsoring the manger scene would just bring more division. This is not the year, she told reporters, “for that kind of debate in our rotunda.” If Americans ever needed the hope and comfort of the manger, it’s now. Instead, Floridians will have an LGBT-sponsored “Festivus Pole” (of “Seinfeld” fame) in its place.
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In Indiana, the self-censoring was replaced by court-censoring, thanks to a frivolous lawsuit filed by the Freedom from Religion Foundation. The secular bullies, who refuse to pick on someone their own size, singled out a small school district in Elkhart to bah-humbug. Angry about the school’s living nativity tradition (now 45 years strong), the organization sued — and, with the help of an equally uninformed judge, won. “The living nativity scene impermissibly conveys an endorsement of religion and thus runs afoul of the Establishment Clause.”
If the nativity were unconstitutional, why would close to 20 state capitols have them on display? The reality is that religious liberty exists for the exercise of all faiths — including the Christian one. If that bothers these grinches, here’s an idea: don’t participate! But don’t wage an all-out war to stop the rest of the world from celebrating either.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.