Alabama State Senator Files Unnecessary ‘Merry Christmas’ Bill

Remember when Texas Governor Rick Perry signed a law making it legal to say “Merry Christmas” in public schools — even though no one ever said it was illegal — and also allowing for religious holiday displays?

Now, Alabama State Senator Gerald Allen (R-What else?) is set to to pass a similar bill in his state:

State Sen. Gerald Allen (via Talking Points Memo)

Allen said he is bringing the bill to protect schools from litigation.

“I’m convinced that there is an undeniable secular progressive agenda to remove all religious freedoms from the public square and that includes our public schools,” Allen said.

As a secular progressive who *totally* has an agenda, I can assure Allen no one wants to take away those freedoms. Not me, not the Freedom From Religion Foundation, not some left-wing politician. The only person who wants to take it away is the imaginary straw man in his head.

The only thing we would ever fight against in this case is promotion of one religion over all others or religion over no religion.

So why bother filing this bill? Did something happen that forced Allen to act now?

Allen said he didn’t know of an instance where a lawsuit had been filed over such a greeting, but he said teachers and administrators should be able to express themselves without fear.

I hope someone challenges this.

I hope some brave teachers wish their students a “Happy Solstice” and reminds them that Axial Tilt is the Reason for the Season.

I hope that after an after-school Christian group gets a Christmas Tree put up in the hallway, a group of atheists demands that a Festivus Pole be put up next to it… along with a papier-mâché Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Allen is no stranger to introducing bills to solve problems that don’t exist except in his deluded mind. In 2011, he introduced an anti-Sharia Law Constitutional amendment.

Allen is up for re-election in 2014.

(Thanks to Shannon for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Tainda

    I see now! They think “public” squares and “public” schools are the same thing. They see public and think they can do whatever they want.

    Well, sweetie, as long as “public” schools continue to be mandatory and government funded, keep your fucking religion out of it.

    • vincent findley

      One question, is it ok to tell these students “Happy Solstice”?

      • Mitch

        Absolutely. The event you are referring to is a particular place in the planet’s orbit, nothing else.

        • busterggi

          I’ll second that.

      • Tainda

        Technically it is the solstice and has nothing to do with religion, so I suppose. If it were up to me though, just because of the connotation with paganism, no.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Given that it’s considered fine to say “Merry Christmas”, your question is evidence that you don’t even understand the argument, let alone whether it’s a good one.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Or Happy Thursday?

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        A Festivus for the Rest of Us!

      • RobMcCune

        Yes, though most schools are closed on that day.

      • Matt D

        One question, is ok to tell the students “Happy Hanukka”?

  • kielc

    I’m “convinced” he’s a total dipshit who wouldn’t recognize the constitution if it came up and kicked him in the balls.

    • vincent findley

      Back at ya!

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Poor little angrums, so ignorant of the Constitution, so trolly. Poor angrums.

      • Matt D

        “Fail troll is fail”, as they say.

  • CommentMaker

    I agree. You should try to sell your idea. Please do not try to use the legal system to force your idea on everyone though. Christmas caught on naturally and is well established. Even the government likes it. Take your Axle Tilt idea and try to sell it. I know it is just mockery, but it may work. Start with a Flea Market, then go to the Dollar Store. Set up your Axle Tilt on your own property and rent some property to build your idea. Build your story and see if it has the same effect as the real Christmas. Remember, America is the land of opportunity.

    • pRinzler

      I pray to God that it doesn’t have the same effect as real Christianity. [hyuck hycuk hyuck]

      • CommentMaker

        You wouldn’t be an atheist if you were in the company of “real” Christianity.

        • Bitter Lizard

          And yet you’re here. And we’re all still atheists. Is this because you deny Christ?

          • Tom

            Epic insult misfire for the troll!

        • busterggi

          Now how do we know you’re a ‘real’ Christian and not just one of the couple billion people whom claim to be Christians?

          • Tainda

            Because they didn’t see Jesus in a dog butthole

            • Gus

              Or a vulva…

              • Pepe

                I thought that was his (Jesus’s) mom?

                • Gus

                  Depends if it’s shaved or not.

          • CommentMaker

            On a blog, you will never know. You have to live around and befriend a person to know who they are.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              When your sister gets to Heaven she will be in this group

              On a blog, you will never know. You have to live around and befriend a person to know who they are.

            • Matt D

              Find a lot of friends trolling Atheists blogs, do you?

            • allein

              “On the internet, no one knows you’re a dog.”

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          That’s funny. I’m in the company of a good number of them most of the week. Except for the ignorant prejudice against homosexuals that most of them have (which comes up very rarely), they are each extremely decent people*. One even spent a couple of years taking care of his gay nephew as the young man died slowly of AIDS. Yet as if by magic, their believing something does not make ME believe it.

          My last girlfriend is a devout Methodist and a wonderful, kind person. She used to volunteer four or five days a week until ill health reined her in. My sister, also a Christian, and the person closest to me in the world, has devoted herself to teaching mentally disabled children, work that often leaves her crying. Yet their believing something does not make it true, either. They just, you know, live it instead of demanding that other people be legislated against in order to sate some false sense of persecution.

          Oh I’m sorry, were you trying to make some silly point?

          • CommentMaker

            When your sister gets to Heaven she will be in this group:

            “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me. Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” Matthew 25:34-40

            Your sister will be well received in Heaven. You should read the rest of the story for your part, and she knows it.

            • Edmond

              Will she hold any bad feelings about her siblings who are roasting in Hell? Will she care, or feel loss, or empathy for their pain? Will she feel they DESERVE their unending torture, for their temerity in not being convinced by stories about magic?
              It appears that an atheist could do all the same feeding of the hungry, providing of drink and clothes, visiting the sick or imprisoned, and they’d STILL “deserve” to be burned alive without stop forever. It doesn’t seem like all these “works” have anything to do with getting into Heaven. The only real ticket comes from saying you believe stories about people coming back to life, and if you don’t believe THAT, then no amount of kindness will save you.
              You were just on another post, condemning atheists for being “angry” that other people don’t believe what we do. But it sounds like the central tenet of Christianity is punishing people for just that. Eternal punishment for believing the wrong thing.
              We can’t really be faulted for not believing the stories of Christianity. They simply aren’t convincing. Don’t blame the disbelievers, blame the authors who didn’t make their story realistic. But this isn’t something that someone should be burned alive forever for. Can’t you see why we would think this is such a disgusting ideology? Eternal torture! Just for a difference of belief! This is nothing but a scare tactic, not a system of justice, or an expression of love. If people go to Heaven and then forget all about their tortured loved ones in Hell, then they aren’t still themselves. I would want no part of it, even if it were real.

              • CommentMaker

                If I knew that there were even a bad God and He wanted me to do what He wanted and would give me heaven when I died over hell if I obeyed Him, I think I would consider what He was demanding. Why? Because He had total control. Believe what you want. The tears your sister will shed here on earth and in heaven for you but will be wiped away (Revelation 21.4).

                • allein

                  If we knew that this bad god existed, you might have a point. A lot of us would probably go through the motions if it meant avoiding eternal torture. But we don’t know and have no evidence to suggest it it’s true. There are a million and one god stories out there; why pick this one particular story over all the others?

                • Gus

                  This assumes a number of things not in evidence.

                  First, that a god exists at all.

                  Second, that god is omnipotent, if the first is true. I find it interesting that the modern notion of god is always omnipotent, when every ancient religious text, including the Bible, clearly indicates that it is not omnipotent.

                  Before I would even begin to contemplate obeying an evil god I would want to be very certain it existed. To do evil on the word of men alone, without overwhelming evidence that their words were actually inspired by a god, well, we know what that leads to from history. It certainly is not moral.

                  I would also want to be certain this god was omnipotent. If the evil god had limits, I think the moral thing to do would be to test them, to find out if there was a way to beat it. Whether as a united group of humans, or through finding loopholes.

                  And finally, if there were an evil god, I would be certain that the one thing I must not do is reproduce. That command I would be compelled to disobey. The one way an omnipotent, evil god could be bested, assuming that for some reason it allowed free will, would be for all people to stop breeding. Then only one generation would be tortured for all eternity for disobedience, rather than countless billions of people, generation after generation.

                  Fortunately, no compelling evidence exists for any kind of god, and there is strong evidence against all of the major god claims.

                • Edmond

                  So when she gets to Heaven she’ll stop caring about me? That sounds terrible. It sounds like she won’t be herself anymore. She’ll be changed into someone who doesn’t care about the pain and suffering of others, even close family.

                  If I were to obey an evil god who was making commandments that I knew were wrong, then I would lose my integrity. I might get into Heaven, but I would only do it by disregarding the freedom, dignity and humanity of people I care about.

                  But you don’t believe that your god is evil, you believe he’s good. Right? So you must think that burning people alive forever is the PROPER treatment for people who just can’t make themselves believe in magic, or who were raised in a different culture and religion. At what point will this become appealing? When am I going to be convinced that this is the moral high ground? How am I supposed to love such an abuse of power, and devote myself to reveling in the suffering of others?

                • CommentMaker

                  You cannot set the standard. She will live in peace. That will be that she has no memory of you or any other person she loves that is not in Heaven. It doesn’t matter what you think because God has set the standard. If you are in hell, God and your sister are in Heaven. Nothing else matters.

                • Edmond

                  And you think this is the RIGHT way to run a universe? You think this is a GOOD way to treat people? Even if God has the POWER to do this without anyone stopping him, do you think this is ethical and moral? To burn people forever just because they don’t believe in magic?
                  If my sister no longer remembers me, then she has been changed. Her mind has been tampered with. She is no longer truly my sister, she is someone else. She has been robbed of the ability to care about those close to her who are suffering. I wouldn’t want that to happen to her OR to me. I think this is an absolutely AWFUL idea, and I could never support it. I can’t imagine why someone would think that this is true, and then call it morally perfect.

                • Mario Strada

                  Reminds me of the invasion of the body snatchers.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  You make many claims of fact, for which you have no evidence. The fact that so many people who study the bible can’t agree on even whether hell exists demonstrates that you’re all making shit up and looking for passages to support it.

                • Kodie

                  So god wipes out happy memories of loved ones so those he saves can not realize what a monster they’re glorifying?

                  I mean, that’s worse than rationalization. I don’t know why you believe what you believe, but it sounds like you’re just making it up as you go along. Lies have a way of growing into this big unmanageable web.

                • phantomreader42

                  Well, you have to realize that the horror of being mindraped into being an empty-headed sociopathic slave is not readily apparent to someone who is ALREADY an empty-headed sociopathic slave…

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPD1YGghtDk

                  “At least you can fucking die and leave North Korea”

                • busterggi

                  “That will be that she has no memory of you or any other person she loves that is not in Heaven.”

                  So in heaven people lose their memories and thereby lose their selves – what a paradise, being mindwiped and made the eternal slave to a finicky despot.

                • CommentMaker

                  Your sister believes the same thing. Have a nice life.

                • Edmond

                  If I HAD a sister (you started talking with someone else), I’d let her know what a heartless bitch she is for believing that I deserve eternal fire and torture, just because I don’t believe in magic. I would NEVER tell another person that they deserved this punishment, just for disagreeing with my beliefs. What an embarrassing, immoral system Christianity is.
                  Human beings do NOT deserve such a fate, no matter WHAT their religious beliefs are. How does Christianity justify this? Was God just so BORED with his own existence, that he created humans just so he would have something to watch writhe in pain? A being that would create something like Hell has no love in it. Such a being saw an absence of suffering in the universe, and did something about it.

                • Bitter Lizard

                  Yeah, it doesn’t surprise me that you wouldn’t have a problem with being a slave for evil. Most Christians don’t.

                • CommentMaker

                  Have a nice life in the next world.

                • Matt D

                  Enjoy oblivion when it arrives.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Already finished Oblivion. And the expansions. Where’ve you been the last six years or so?

                • 3lemenope

                  Skyrim!

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  If I knew that there were even a bad God and He wanted me to do what He wanted and would give me heaven when I died over hell if I obeyed Him, I think I would consider what He was demanding. Why? Because He had total control.

                  One of the best arguments against Christianity. Ever. Seriously, I’m bookmarking this one.

                • CommentMaker

                  Have a nice life.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Thanks! You too! I suggest making the most of it, in case it’s all you’ve got :-)

                • Kodie

                  It’s pretty self-interested, this religious belief you have. God hates people and allows a reward for going along with his hatred. You might think you’re a good person but you’re bought.

                • CommentMaker

                  If you think you can reason around Him and not go to Heaven, then do what you want. It would be suicide on your part, not mine.

                • Kodie

                  Your god is a thug and you’re a thug. I don’t need to be threatened, and you are in no position to threaten me.

                • CommentMaker

                  You have the right til the day you die.

                • phantomreader42

                  So, you’re the kind of sniveling coward who would lick the boots of a tyrant forever to save your own worthless hide. You will happily serve any monster, commit any atrocity, betray everyone and everything without the slightest remorse, all to get a cushy place at the evil overlord’s right hand, where you can be a pampered pet. How very christian of you! Sadly, that is not sarcasm, such behavior is exactly what I have come to expect from christians.
                  You and your cult whine about how horribly persecuted you are when you’re not allowed to get away with ignoring any law you find the slightest bit inconvenient, but if you faced anything remotely like REAL persecution you’d be on your knees begging for a chance to sell out everyone you ever knew for a few of your master’s table scraps.

                • CommentMaker

                  If He could send me to Hell, I would do what it takes to avoid Hell forever.

                • busterggi

                  Thank you for admitting your faith has nothing to do with loving god but is based on fear & cowardice.

                • trj

                  If He could send me to Hell, I would do what it takes to avoid Hell forever.

                  Wow, that’s the perfect attitude for moral atrocities.

                • phantomreader42

                  I see, your religion is all about torture and fear. No love, no justice, no mercy. Only hatred, pain, and cowering in terror. That’s what your cult is about. Well, that and your sick fantasy about jerking off while watching your imaginary friend burn everyone else alive forever.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Really? In my own personal imagination, I’d give him the finger and tell him to do his worst. Fuck doing evil out of fear; I don’t want to be that person.

                  In real life if I faced that situation? I don’t know what I’d do; I know what I want to think I’d do, but so few of us actually follow through on our idealized self-conceptions. I’d at least feel really bad about being an evil, cowardly bootlicker, though!

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  ok, I’ll bite. What if you had the choice of you going to hell, or the two people you love most in this life?

                • busterggi

                  If your god has total control then we have no control over what we do. If your god doesn’t have total control then he isn’t truly an omnipotent being. Don’t try to pull that free-will BS either, we’ve all had practise shooting that down.

                • CommentMaker

                  Have a nice life.

                • Tainda

                  Funny, I would tell him to fuck off. I wouldn’t do “evil” for anyone or anything. Then again, I’m not a sheep.

            • Todd Heath

              Jesus also clearly stated to not judge or you will be judged by the same measure you use to judge others. You don’t seem very interested in following that command.

              • CommentMaker

                Here is why you and yours cannot understand scripture.

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c86rKIsNM54

                • Todd Heath

                  I used to be a fundie and am quite well versed in the bible. What you can’t understand is the bible is a mythological book.

          • kielc

            I don’t know what the original point was, but my response is simply these people you describe (and I know, respect, and love many, many people just like this) would be just as good without religion, just as most bad people are bad whether they’ve “got” religion or not. I see religion of any sort, as at best superfluous, and at worst detrimental to true progress as a species.

        • katiehippie

          Better be careful then. You are in the company of “real” atheists.

        • Gus

          Worst. Argument. Ever.

        • Spazticus

          If there were sufficient evidence for the claims of religion, then they could be proven as factual, and “belief” would be a moot point. However, reality has not provided such evidence, and that is one of the reasons why people aren’t buying the propaganda as easily as they used to.

        • Spuddie

          No true Scotsmen around?

        • TheG

          That sounds like a threat. We’ve seen what happens when lone atheists are in the company of “real” Christians…

        • Todd Heath

          I am a atheist precisely because I live in a state populated by so called “real Christianity”. And how do you define that anyway? Every so called “Christian” has a differing opinion on what that even means. It’s subjective at best.

        • baal

          We’re very confused on who would possibly count as a ‘real’ christian. Every time we find one it turns out he’s cheating on his wife with the underage daugher of the guy he’s paying to keep quiet on his tax fraud or something.

    • allein

      Axle tilt?

      • Bitter Lizard

        The penus goes in the anis.

        • Tainda

          Ok, now you’re just trying to deprive me of my coffee!

      • CommentMaker

        Axial

      • unclemike

        Might need to take that to a mechanic.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        n. A degree of separation from the vertical plane by which the current state of sobriety of the lead singer of Guns n’ Roses is measured.

        (Yes, I know what everyone who can spell a name is about to say. Hesh.)

    • busterggi

      Axial tilt is demonstrable and real, Christ is not.

      BTW, the Puritans, whom Christians love to use to ‘prove’ the US is a Christian country, outlawed the celebration of Christmas.

      • CommentMaker

        Oh, my. Thank goodness it was overturned. I love Christmas.

        • Tainda

          Me too!

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

            It’s fun to get the family together and give gifts and celebrate life during the darkest time of the year.

    • katiehippie

      I didn’t realize that Christmas was born in a flea market and dollar store. Seems like something else is believed to have happened.
      Well, you learn something new every day……or not.

      • CommentMaker

        You must be a teenager. FYI, Comment is at that level.

        • katiehippie

          I can spell though. I could do that when I was a teenager as well.

          • katiehippie

            I Also don’t Capitalize words that Don’t need capitalization.

        • Mario Strada

          Said the guy with the Rat Fink avatar

        • RobMcCune

          You sound envious of her sophistication. Don’t worry buddy, your mediocre comments are par for the course when it comes to christian trolls.

    • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

      Do trolls like you even celebrate Christmas?

  • The Other Weirdo

    I would be so gleeful over the “(R-What else?)” There seem to be quite a few Democrats who push these bullshit bills as well.

    • unclemike

      [citation needed]

      • The Other Weirdo

        I go by what I see on this blog.

        • unclemike

          “That is why you fail.” –Yoda

          • The Other Weirdo

            Said by a being who failed so utterly at what truly mattered that it plunged the galaxy into years of terror and genocide while he hid out in a swamp. Oh, and he also said, “Only the Sith speak in absolutes,” apparently totally unaware of the irony. So no, I don’t take advice from fictional puppets.

        • Monika Jankun-Kelly

          We go by the voting record of Congressional officials.

    • Carpinions

      You’ll have to pony up “quite a few” examples of such Democrats before any amount of equivalency will be entertained by the rest of us.

  • Gordon Duffy

    Christians do not own Christmas anymore than vikings own Thursday.

    • Timmah

      Technicly Disney is now who owns the rights to “Thorsday”.

    • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

      Or Wednesday (Woden’s Day), or Tuesday (Tiw’s Day), or Friday (Frigg’s Day).

  • icb

    I wonder: is this kind of a thing the worst sort of cynical political haymaking (read: votes), OR does a politician like Allen believe in his bones that this legislation demonstrably helps the world? Are there other options?

    • Mitch

      There may be other options, but I think the two you pointed out would be the most likely. In Allen’s case, the second seems to be his reasoning. (my apologies to the concept of “reasoning” for having to use it in such a demeaning way)

      • icb

        That’s what weebs me out the most probably — preying on low information voters. I suppose that “gee politicians are slimy” is about as interesting as “gee, water is wet” but the rank cynicism make me sad.

    • Bitter Lizard

      Basically, I read it as just sticking it to anyone interested in maintaining the separation of church and state and non-Christians generally. It’s like those “no Sharia law in Kentucky” bills–just a way of shouting “YAY JESUS” at taxpayer expense.

      • Mitch

        I might be tempted to call an anti-Sharia law part of Allen’s “secular progressive agenda to remove religious freedom from the public square.”

  • JET

    What a waste of time and taxpayer money. But I suppose it at least temporarily delays him from proposing legislation that could do some real damage and maybe distracted him from voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act for the thirty-somethingth time.

  • the moother

    Dear Religious Loons,

    Of course we don’t object to religious freedom. It’s just that, when you practice it, we’d prefer it if you do it sitting in a corner wearing a silly hat – rather than do it loudly in public.

    Yours,

    The rest of us.

  • Mario Strada

    You know those laws that remain on the books and a 100 years later lose any possible logic they may have once had? Like for instance townships where it is unlawful to wear a Tyrolean hat with pink feathers on it (I made that up).

    Imagine a 100 years from now people reading that back at the beginning of the 21st century we needed acts of congress to permit people to say “Merry Christmas”.

    They are really going to wonder what the hell was wrong with us.

  • Spuddie

    So the state senator has no pressing issues in his district which require his time and energy. The state senate has nothing to do with its time because everything in the state is working so perfectly. So everyone involved clearly has the time and resources to spend on this issue.

  • pagansister

    Those idiots have states to run and they worry about someone saying Merry Christmas? Really? The is top on an agenda? Jeeze!


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