"Religious freedom does not mean freedom from religion."
-- Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), on signing HB 308, allowing public schools to display holiday scenes and symbols.
Actually, yes -- it does. In fact, that's exactly what it means.
Or to put it another way, what religious freedom means is...well, freedom from religion. Freedom from having any religion in any way imposed upon you by the government.
That's the precise definition.
The bill in question is known as the "Merry Christmas Bill." It permits religious displays and saying "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hanukkah" in schools provided that more than one other religion is represented or there is a secular symbol, as well.
I'm trying to figure out if this means that if a teacher wishes a child "Merry Christmas" if the teacher also now have to say "and a Happy Hanukkah to you, as well." Or throw in Kwanza, instead. Or perhaps Festivus.
No word yet on what qualifies as a secular symbol. Perhaps a pencil qualifies.
I'm also wondering when the first constitutional challenge of something called a "Merry Christmas Bill" is filed.
"People of faith too often feel they can't express their faith publicly," Gov. Perry said. "And if they dare display it, they find themselves under attack from individuals and organizations that have nothing to do with them or their communities for that matter."
No word from the governor on how extensively he will support Muslims to feel comfortable in expressing their faith publicly, and daring to display the symbols of their religion without being under attack.
It is nice, though, that Governor Perry and all his fellow-persecuted Texans now understand how Jews have felt through much of the past 2,000 years. Mazel tov. (Not to worry, I'm holding up a secular keyboard.)
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor