Arizona is Now Christmas-Safe

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer knows her priorities:

In a formal executive order, Brewer said any executive branch agency that reports to her cannot stop employees from “personally celebrating” either holiday [Christmas or Hannukah]. That includes putting items “traditionally associated” with the holidays on their desks.

She similarly barred those agencies from stopping state employees from wishing others either “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah.” And Brewer said state agencies cannot participate in any “censorship of the lawful celebration and acknowledgement of Christmas, Hanukkah or any other recognized religious holiday.”

What we don’t know is whether this was ever a problem in the past and where other holidays fit into the picture.

Christmas-safe? Hannukah-safe? As reader Christopher asks, “Safe from what, catchy Gap ads?”

And what if I want to celebrate HumanLight? Or the Solstice? Or Kwanzaa?

To Brewer, those don’t seem to count as legitimate celebrations.

It’s not the only instance of her mixing religion with politics, either:

In a September speech to pastors of the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church, she said “God has placed me in this powerful position as Arizona’s governor” to help the state weather its troubles.

She also said there are times when, during a meeting with staffers, one will suggest praying about an issue.

“And we stop, and we take that time, and we pray about it,” Brewer, a Missouri Synod-Lutheran herself, told the group. “And it does make a difference.”

Of course it makes a difference; look at all the time they’re wasting in meetings. Do they accomplish anything?

(Thanks to Christopher for the link!)

  • martin

    Well glad she let everyone know about using taxpayer money to have prayer during meetings. I am sure this will all be stopped by the end of next year and they can quit wasting taxpayers money on unconstitutional activities.

  • http://atheistcamel.blogspot.com/ Dromedary Hump

    “God has placed me in this powerful position as Arizona’s governor”

    Wow! So the governor was appointed by GOD. That must make her feel very special. Perhaps god will select her for divine impregnation as well.

    I’m going to venture that if god appointed her that she would proffer that Satan appointed the all the Democrats.

    I hope defecation hits the fan when Ramadan rolls around.

  • Sackbut

    From the article:

    “State and local officials in Arizona (and elsewhere) in the past have attempted to strip both Christmas and Hanukkah of their meaning,” Brewer wrote in her order.

    She pointedly referred to the fact that Janet Napolitano, her predecessor, had referred to the decoration in the lobby of the Capitol tower as the state’s “holiday tree.” And in 2001, when Napolitano was attorney general, her office put out a memo listing “acceptable seasonal decorations” in common areas, including snowflakes, icicles, garlands, poinsettia plants and wrapped presents – but not trees under which gifts could be placed, or Santa himself.

    I see. So the fact that someone puts up a tree called a “holiday tree” robs some holiday of its meaning. And apparently the meaning of Christmas and Hanukkah is “trees under which gifts could be placed” or “Santa Claus”.

  • http://omega-geek.blogspot.com Spook

    Arizona must be doing great right now if the Governor finds this to be the most important thing on her plate.

  • http://thinkingforfree.blogspot.com/ Eamon Knight

    It seems reasonable enough that employees (even govt ones) should be allowed to display religious symbols in their personal workspaces. So, was there ever any serious challenge to this? Or is this directive solving a problem that doesn’t exist, just for the sake of looking good?

  • Jeff Dale

    The prayer itself probably doesn’t take much time out of the meetings. Seems to me the greater concerns are [1] that staffers of other or no religion would be compelled either to go along with the prayer or to take a stand against it, [2] that work performed would take a Xian slant, which in some cases would mean giving inappropriate preference to interests of Xian citizens over others, and [3] that decisions might be altered by unjustified reliance on divine influence (for example, by making inadequate preparation for contingencies because of thinking that “God” will protect against such contingencies).

    It’s always interesting, too, to see how some of those in the dominant majority (those who say “Merry Xmas”) would feel so threatened by a minority asking not to be marginalized. If a nativity scene is removed from a courthouse lawn, some Xians act as though their rights were trampled, when it’s actually the minorities’ rights that need more assiduous protection. Some people want to say “Happy Holidays” as a small but meaningful gesture of kindness to non-Xians (without taking anything away from Xians), and some Xians act as though the whole massive edifice of Xmas is in jeopardy.

    Can some people actually be so blind to how things would seem to them if circumstances were reversed and Xians were in the minority? Or do they choose to block out such thoughts on the idea that anything goes in support of Xianity? I’m sincerely curious, so if anyone here has had these views explained to them (beyond just the common sound bites), please post.

  • Jonas

    It seems reasonable enough that employees (even govt ones) should be allowed to display religious symbols in their personal workspaces.

    I’m Ok with this as long as it remains as stated personal space. December (or Easter) isn’t a month for Christian workers to proselytize to Jewish ones. There is a difference between a worker putting up a religious card in her cubicle and a VA nurse proselytizing to an atheist veteran.

    I’m not there, but the whole thing sounds political, and ‘for show.’

  • Tim Carroll

    “God has placed me in this powerful position as Arizona’s governor” – Gee, I didn’t realize god even voted.
    Seriously, when has anyone *ever* tried to prevent an american citizen from celebrating anything as they see fit? Oh, yeah, the christians do it all the time.

  • Matto the Hun

    Yeah because poor Christians and X-mas are under attack, meanwhile a duly elected councilman in NC is being told he cannot serve because he doesn’t believe their almighty imaginary friend .

    Odd how the gov. claims she was “appointed by GOD” (gah, typing that hurt more than crapping a porcupine). So was “God” too feeble to stop that nefarious atheist in NC? Or maybe “He” wants more atheism in NC…

  • Trace

    “God has placed me in this powerful position as Arizona’s governor”

    Oh dear.

  • http://toughquestionsblog.com AZSuperman01

    Maybe if she stopped praying and started actually doing her job they could get the AZ budget balanced! The AZ budget was supposed to be balanced back in June, but it STILL isn’t… and now the news is saying the state may be writing IOU’s for state employee wages and tax returns as early as February.

    See story here: AZ May Run Out of Money in February

  • Reginald Selkirk

    And Brewer said state agencies cannot participate in any “censorship of the lawful celebration and acknowledgement of Christmas, Hanukkah or any other recognized religious holiday.”

    But they could censor any unlawful celebration, right? So that pronouncement is an empty bag of words.

    I like the way they include Hannukah, just to give the impression that they are inclusive. No mention of kwanza, winter solstice, Ashura, Festivus, etc. Should we assume those are included, or not?

  • muggle

    Isn’t it interesting how an all-knowing, all-powerful “God” always picks some absolute nut cake to put in office?

  • Colin

    The Lord works in mysterious ways. It’s clear that God ordained that Obama would win and call the former Arizona governor to head Homeland Security, all so that Brewer could rise to become Governor.

  • Alex

    I’m marking Arizona off my atheist conquest map. Curse those meddling Christians!

  • everettattebury

    Brewer said state agencies cannot participate in any “censorship of the lawful celebration and acknowledgement of Christmas, Hanukkah or any other recognized religious holiday.”

    Ganulin vs United States:

    “Courts have repeatedly recognized that the Christmas holiday has become largely secularized. …By giving federal employees a paid vacation day on Christmas, the government is doing no more than recognizing the cultural significance of the holiday. ”

    So Christmas is not a religious holiday, but a secular one. If the celebration of a religion’s holiday is done to promote or advance that religion, and if there is no secular purpose for the government recognizing the holiday, then it is probably a violation of the Establishment Clause.

    By the way, Hannukah is not on the list of official holidays in Arizona.

  • Jodie

    I’m doing my part as a covert operative in the war on Christmas. I put up my tree the Sunday after Thanksgiving, sent out my Christmas cards December 7th, started listening to carols on the first, and put my dog in a Santa hat…..All the while celebrating as a secular holiday in the spirit of peace on earth and goodwill toward men. I give out my last batch of Christmas cookies Monday. Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!


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