Stacey Campfield (Republican, surprise, surprise!) has identified a problem: people can’t say Merry Christmas or have a Christmas tree in public schools without a lawsuit being filed, and he’s going to do something about it.
Inspired by Texas legislation, state Sen. Stacey Campfieldhas introduced a “Merry Christmas bill” for Tennessee that he says will assure schoolchildren and their teachers have a legal right to use what the bill calls “traditional greetings” during “winter celebrations.”
“This stops all these silly lawsuits that say you can’t say ‘merry Christmas’ or ‘happy Hanukkah’ or have a Christmas tree,” said Campfield, R-Knoxville, who has pre-filed SB1425 for consideration by the General Assembly in 2014.
Yeah! You know all those lawsuits that have been filed against people saying Merry Christmas. Oh, you don’t know about those? That’s ok: neither does Stacey Campfield.
While unaware of a specific case where Christmas has become an issue in Tennessee schools, the senator said he knows of people “afraid of lawsuits” and passage of the bill would provide them with reassurance.
“The ACLU is always freaking out about that stuff,” Campfield said.
This was news to the ACLU:
Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU in Tennessee, said the ACLU is interested in the subject, but the senator’s concerns are greatly exaggerated and she cannot recall any legal action involving a Tennessee school’s holiday activities or even a case of the “blatant religious proselytizing” in schools that would trigger ACLU concern.
“Sen. Campfield is envisioning a problem that does not exist,” she said. “As Gov. Haslam has said, legislators should not be filing legislation just to be wasting paper, and this seems to be one of the things that would be in that category.”
Remember at election season when Republicans promised that their focus was going to be on jobs above everything else?