College Allegedly Tells Student Club it Can’t Sell ‘Christmas’ Trees Because They’re Associated With a ‘Christian Event’ (Updated)
This story has been updated.
Western Piedmont Community College in Morganton, North Carolina, is capturing attention after school officials allegedly replaced the word “Christmas” with “holiday” in a student club’s announcement of a tree sale. The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative legal group, claims that the decision was made after the school told the club that the sale, which is being organized for charity, could not be promoted by the school if it was solely associated “with a Christian event.”
The B.E.S.T. Society (Building Energy Sustainable Society) is the environmental campus club at the center of the debate. According to the school’s web site (which does use the word “Christmas” to describe the trees as of Wednesday morning), the sale will continue through Dec. 6.
“It’s ridiculous that anyone would have to think twice about using the word ‘Christmas’ as part of a Christmas tree sale,” proclaimed Matt Sharp, a lawyer with ADF.
According to The Christian Post, though, the club sought specific language for various on-campus means of announcing the sale. The announcement initially read, ”The BEST Society will be selling Christmas Trees,” however this was changed by officials to ”The BEST Society will be selling Holiday Trees.”
In a letter by the ADF, the group claims that the “forced” change to the wording of the advertisements negatively impacted the group. Some potential customers, upset over the change from “Christmas” to “holiday,” told B.E.S.T. that they would not be purchasing trees.
“This has resulted in direct harm to the club’s fundraising activity, the proceeds of which are being used to support Angel Tree, an organization that provides Christmas gifts to children,” the ADF letter reads, going on to note that the change violates the student group’s constitutional rights.
The group is asking that the school return all language referring to “Christmas” so that no legal action is necessary. As stated, the school’s web site is currently using the holiday’s name in the ad announcing the event. It will be intriguing to see how the college responds to other means of advertising that were previously changed to “holiday.”
“Western Piedmont Community College’s B.E.S.T. Society will be selling Christmas trees now through Thursday, Dec. 6. Tree prices are $25 for 6 to 7 foot tall trees; $30 for 7 to 8 foot tall trees, and $35 for 8 to 9 foot tall trees,” the announcement on the web site currently reads. “All trees must be pre-ordered by 5 p.m. the day before pick up with a $20 deposit; trees can be picked up on Fridays, Nov. 16 and Dec. 7 at the tennis courts on the College campus.”
Update: Fox News’ Todd Starnes reports that the college has reversed its ban. Officials are calling the action “a legitimate mistake.”
“It’s a misunderstanding based on a legitimate mistake we made,” Atticus Simpson, vice president of student development at Western Piedmont Community College, told Fox News. “We thought we were violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by promoting the sale of Christmas trees — which we thought would be promoting one religion over another.”
(H/T: Christian Post)
- ‘Bigoted, Religious [Zealots]‘: High School Senior Allegedly Expelled, Charged With Felonies Over Gay Relationship With ‘Consenting’ Fellow Student 982 Comments
- ‘The Daily Show’ Creator Makes Outrageously Offensive Anti-Conservative Joke About Okla. Tornado 426 Comments
- Washington Times Writer: Fox News Scandal Goes ‘Much Deeper,’ W.H. Sitting on Something Top Obama Aides ‘Terrified’ About 378 Comments
- University Will Investigate Christian Professor’s Intelligent Design Class Following Atheist Furor 291 Comments
- ‘Arrogance…Abuse of Power…Rotten to the Core’: Paul Ryan Steamed Over IRS, Benghazi 198 Comments
- Is This Video of Pope Francis Performing an Exorcism? Read More
- Boston Cardinal Snubs Irish PM Over Abortion Support Read More
- Incredible: The Moment a Woman’s Dog Emerges from Rubble During TV Interview Right After She Describes Losing Him 138 Comments
- See the First Behind-the-Scenes Photos as Beck and Mercury One Survey the Damage in Okla. 175 Comments
- Here’s the Inspirational Story of an American Flag Hanging Amid the Oklahoma Tornado’s Destruction Read More
- Disgraced IRS Interim Chief Now Fully Admits Knowledge of Planted Question (but Did It Reveal a Past Half-Truth?) Read More
- Ex-IRS Chief: I Have no Idea How This Conservative Targeting Happened Read More
- Treasury Sec. Ready to Deploy ‘Extraordinary Measures’ as U.S. Hits Debt Limit (Again) Read More
- ‘In the End, Everything Will Be Claimed’: Creator of First 3D-Printed Gun Highlights Creeping Gov’t Control of Technology Read More
- Sebelius’ Controversial Fundraising Efforts Raise Concerns, Allegedly Chase Away Potential Donors Read More
- Meet the Blind Man Nicknamed ‘Midnight Gunslinger’ Who Has 80% Shot Accuracy Read More
- How a $4.5 Million Network of 181 Sirens Helped Save Lives in Oklahoma Twister Read More
- See the Record-Setting Python a Man Caught With His Bare Hands (and Guess How Much It Weighed) Read More
- This Teen’s Invention Means You Could Charge Your Cellphone in Less Than 30 Seconds 100 Comments
- One of the Most Unlikely Animals Being Trained to Hunt Land Mines Read More
- Surprise: The IRS leans left — way left
- ‘First they came for Fox News…’
- Most Republicans not following news about Obama admin’s three scandals ‘very closely’
- Obama DOJ relied on 1917 Espionage Act to target ‘co-conspirator’ Fox News
- Stuart Stevens predicts racist ‘small cable show’ co-hosted by Sharpton, Weiner
- Garcia, Woods take their shots at each other
- Top figures barred from Iran's June ballot
- Deal on bin Laden evidence made in WikiLeaks case
- Los Angeles picking mayor after low-drama campaign
- ESPN cutting workforce, 'smartly managing costs'
- Lawyer: No background check done on Jackson doctor
- Rapper Chief Keef arrested at hotel near Atlanta
- Ex-Ford execs charged in Argentine torture cases