Sunday, December 18, 2005

House of Representative Supports Christmas Symbols

The Christmas wars found their way into Congress last week, as the House of Representatives on Thursday passed H. Res. 579 by a vote of 401 yeas, 22 nays, 5 voting present and 5 not voting:

Whereas Christmas is a national holiday celebrated on December 25; and Whereas the Framers intended that the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States would prohibit the establishment of religion, not prohibit any mention of religion or reference to God in civic dialog: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives—
(1) recognizes the importance of the symbols and traditions of Christmas;
(2) strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to Christmas; and
(3) expresses support for the use of these symbols and traditions, for those who celebrate Christmas.

Friday's Virginian-Pilot reported that the resolution was introduced by Rep. Jo Ann Davis, a conservative Christian member of Congress from Virginia. Speaking in favor of the proposal during House debate, Davis lamented, "Christmas has been declared politically incorrect." In response to concerns that her resolution amounted to government promotion of religion, Davis amended her original resolution to make clear that she wants to protect Christmas traditions simply "for those who celebrate Christmas."

Democratic Rep. Robert C. Scott, also from Virginia, accused Davis of being more concerned about the symbols of Christmas than the substance. He argued: "Instead of legislation that respects the spirit of Christmas, Congress in just these past few weeks has passed a budget that includes mean-spirited attacks on the least of us. For those who are hungry, we are cutting food stamps. For those who are sick, we are cutting Medicaid."