A Tea Party activist and substitute teacher, Merry Hyatt, is trying to get an initiative on next year's California ballot to require schools to play Christmas music. "It's our right to have freedom of worship," Hyatt said. Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State said he had "two words" for Hyatt's proposal: "blatantly unconstitutional." Is it wrong to have kids sing Christmas songs in school?
Christians can't force their beliefs on others: "It's not the government's job to provide you a place to worship," says Ed Brayton in Science Blogs. That's what churches are for. It's mind boggling that Tea Partiers, who say they favor limited government, would want the government to "force non-Christians to take part" in their religious festivities.
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Hyatt has plenty of allies: Merry Hyatt is not alone, says Amanda Winters in the Redding, Calif., Record Searchlight. Several local churches and the Redding Tea Party Patriots are helping her gather signatures to get her proposal on the ballot. "Bottom line is Christmas is about Christmas," said Erin Ryan, president of the Redding Tea Party Patriots. "It's not about winter solstice or Kwanzaa."
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Christmas music is fine — as long as it's secular: Even if Merry Hyatt's initiative passes, says Charles C. Haynes in Michigan's Livingston Daily, courts will probably strike it down if it means forcing kids to listen to religious songs. Schools can play Christmas music for academic purposes, but it's unconstitutional to do it to proselytize. So the best Hyatt can hope for is forcing teachers to play "more renditions of 'Frosty the Snowman' and 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.'"
"Hark, do herald angels sing?"
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