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“Merry Christmas” Bill Passes Ind. Senate

Posted On February 04, 2014

By Mike Perleberg

State Senator Jim Smith (R-Charlestown)

State Senator Jim Smith (R-Charlestown)

(Indianapolis, Ind.) – A bill that would allow religious holiday celebrations in Indiana’s schools has passed the state Senate.

State Senator Jim Smith’s so-called “Merry Christmas” bill would allow schools to decorate with Nativity scenes or menorahs if paired with decorations related to another religious holiday or secular symbols like candy canes or Santa Claus.

Under Senate Bill 326, schools would also be permitted to teach the history of winter holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa.

Smith (R-Charlestown) says Christmas teaches important values, and it should not be absent from Indiana’s classrooms.

“Across the country, there are reports of Christmas traditions, like the singing of Christmas carols or even the colors red and green, being banned in schools because administrators fear lawsuits,” Smith said. “We need to provide Hoosier teachers some protections so that these senseless, arbitrary bans do not take hold in our state.”

The ACLU of Indiana has weighed in, calling the potential law unconstitutional because it would allow public schools to endorse religion, according to the Associated Press.

With its passage in the Senate on a 48-0 vote Monday, the bill now goes to the House for consideration.

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