At a signing event for the contentious “Merry Christmas Bill,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry had a message for atheist activists who have a penchant for sometimes taking church-state separatism to the extreme: The U.S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee “freedom from religion.”
There was no irony in his intentional statement, as the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), one of the prime organizations that launches lawsuits against faith in the public square, would patently disagree with his claim. After all, based on the group’s name, alone, its leaders would likely contend that freedom from theism should certainly be guaranteed for all Americans.
But Perry isn’t buying into that notion.
“I’m proud we are standing up for religious freedom in our state,” Perry proclaimed during the event. “Freedom of religion doesn’t mean freedom from religion.”
The governor went on to say that the law will ensure that “people of all faiths are free to use traditional holiday greetings, and display religious scenes and symbols, even on school property.” Freedom of expression, Perry said, will be sustained and fostered by its implementation.
State Senator Robert Nichols added that the Constitution very clearly protects “freedom of religion,” not “freedom from religion,” corroborating Perry’s views on the matter. Additionally, Nichols noted that, rather than a protection of atheist rights, the removal of a Christmas tree from a classroom is actually an infringement of others’ rights, as Raw Story reports.
Watch Perry and Nichols speak about the legislation, below:
As TheBlaze previously reported, the Merry Christmas bill will enable public school teachers to say “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukkah” without fear of retribution starting during the 2013-2014 school year (read TheBlaze’s previous coverage of Texas’ Merry Christmas bill).
But it doesn’t only give these public servants the green light to wish their students well during the holidays; as stated, it also lets them display Christmas trees, nativity scenes and menorahs — all elements that have been known to draw the ire of non-theist activists. Of course, educators aren’t supposed to favor one faith. And any holiday display should have more than one religious view represented and should also showcase secular symbols.
(H/T: Raw Story)
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