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December 20, 2007

Southwestern Oklahoma State University Bans the Word "Christmas"

The War on Christmas rages on at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, where the very word "Christmas" has been banned.

From Liberty Counsel, via Standard Newswire:

Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU), has issued a disturbing policy which requires all employees to refrain from using the word "Christmas" in oral or written form. This directive was given by the university upon legal advice of the Oklahoma Attorney General, W.A. Drew Edmondson. Liberty Counsel sent a demand letter to SWOSU following a complaint from a university affiliate.
John Misak, the Director of Human Resources, recently visited various university departments and employee groups and informed everyone that any decorations featuring the word "Christmas" in any work or public areas of the university must be immediately removed. He also instructed everyone to discontinue the use of the term "Christmas" in their speech while on the job. This censorship specifically includes exchanging greetings of "Merry Christmas" among employees or with nonemployees, whether initiated by a nonuniversity employee or not. Christmas remains a legal holiday for state employees, including those at SWOSU. The directive does not include any other legal holidays such as Thanksgiving or New Year's.
The announcements made by Misak are in direct violation of the United States Constitution and other federal law. The First Amendment prohibits government from being hostile to religion. Selecting one legal holiday for negative treatment and special restrictions solely because it has religious aspects clearly demonstrates hostility toward religion. Moreover, the free speech rights of employees at the university are infringed when their speech is censored solely because of a religious viewpoint or perceived religious viewpoint. A public employer like SWOSU also violates the Civil Rights Act when it prohibits its employees from saying "Merry Christmas."

Imagine if a foreign army invaded and forbid us to say the word "Christmas." When we were done laughing, we would rebel — I hope. I know our forefathers would have.

the_grinch.jpg
The Grinch is pleased to have educrats on his side.

On a tip from V the K.

Posted by Van Helsing at December 20, 2007 4:15 PM

Comments

Universities.
In the United States of America.
Banning words.

Do we think they see the bitter irony involved here and just can't help themselves, or do they not get the irony of it all?

Posted by: mega at December 20, 2007 4:30 PM

is this news from that little college in altus, ok. baa hum bug on you

Posted by: gary at December 20, 2007 5:16 PM

this did not happen, bryan at hotair apologized.

Posted by: joe at December 20, 2007 8:17 PM

Actually it DID happen and they acknowledged as much in their denial after being caught. Ask staff who are not allowed to speak if you want the truth.

No Ban on Christmas
December 20, 2007

An attempt to be respectful of the diverse religious population at Southwestern Oklahoma State University has been misinterpreted as an attempt to ban Christmas on the Weatherford campus.

The rumor of this ban is not true.

The university attempted to prevent the appearance as a state agency of endorsing any particular religion.

John Hays
SWOSU President

Posted by: OU Rules at December 20, 2007 10:43 PM

I love the statement by President Hays!
"An attempt to be respectful?"
What the heck does THAT mean?
Of course, Hays is not saying what they did, because if he did, he and the school administrators would come off looking like idiots....oh, wait, they ARE idiots!

Posted by: john at December 20, 2007 11:09 PM

It probably wasnt a "ban", it was likely a "suggestion" they not use the word Christmas - just some tepid greeting like "Happy Holidays".

Posted by: Anonymous at December 21, 2007 6:08 AM

Everyone that reads this blog NEEDS to go to the SWOSU web site. There you will find a page covered with candy canes, wreths, greens, Christmas lights, Santa's village complete with a North Pole sign and gifts. This is the most incredible show of hypocrisy I have seen!!!

Posted by: NewtownMark at December 21, 2007 7:18 AM

No one accused the university of banning Christmas, so the press release is denying that which no one alleged. On the other hand, SWOSU employees are coming forward and reporting that managers did instruct them not to use the word 'Christmas.'

Posted by: V the K at December 21, 2007 9:07 AM

"Merry Christmas, Southwestern Oklahoma State!"
(Now SUE me)

Posted by: KHarn at December 21, 2007 6:28 PM

You guys are ridiculous to believe that SWOSU told anyone to "not say Christmas". A staff member told an employee to cover up the word Christ, sarcasticly and everyone blew it out of proportion. You people make me laugh!!

Posted by: Ronnie at December 25, 2007 9:45 PM


Update: No Ban on Christmas
December 21, 2007

After the stories about Christmas were published stating that Southwestern Oklahoma State University banned the word ‘Christmas’ or Christmas decorations, I made inquiries to discover if there was any basis to the reports. The university does not have a policy that bans the word ‘Christmas’ or Christmas decorations. However, some supervisors or department leaders within the university who meant well may have suggested to employees that caution should be taken with respect to Christmas decorations. One thing led to another and the result was that some mistakenly assumed that Christmas decorations were being prohibited. I have met with various staff members to get to the bottom of the matter and have also had a pleasant discussion with Mathew Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel.

The university will continue to follow the law and to respect the right of all its staff members. Thus, the university will follow the general principles set forth by the courts regarding the display of religious symbols and/or Nativity scenes. A publicly sponsored Nativity scene on public property is constitutional so long as it is displayed in the context of other secular symbols of the holiday, like Santa Claus or a Christmas tree, so as not to appear to be endorsing a particular religion. A privately sponsored religious symbol or Nativity on public property where members of the public are permitted to display such symbols does not need an accompanying secular symbol to be constitutional.

In applying this general rule to the university, if a Nativity or other religious symbol of the holiday is displayed in a place open to the general public (like a lobby), the university will include secular symbols of the holiday in the nearby context. However, employees in their cubicles or offices may personally display a Nativity or other religious symbol of the holiday. In such setting, the employee need not include secular symbols of the holiday. Employees have always been and continue to be permitted to greet one another with the greeting ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays.’ The decision is up to each employee.

I trust that these guiding principles will clarify the matter regarding Christmas for the staff and the general public.

John Hays
SWOSU President

Posted by: Rouben Tourian at December 27, 2007 9:51 AM

I can't believe how many websites have run crazy with false information..... If you take a look at the track record of the people involved at making the accusations, you might be more likely to investigate the matters before you point fingers. If you took the time to visit Southwestern Oklahoma State University, you would see how many good people are gathered in one place celebrating together. A very bad picture was painted about a very special place.

Posted by: Rouben Tourian at December 27, 2007 9:53 AM