The Reason for the Season

By U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson

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Washington, December 18, 2007 | McCall Avery ((202) 225-4201) | comments
Did you hear that Congress recently voted to keep “Christ” in Christmas? I’m not joking! Just in time for the holidays, the House passed a measure to “recognize the importance of Christmas.”
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Did you hear that Congress recently voted to keep “Christ” in Christmas? I’m not joking! Just in time for the holidays, the House passed a measure to “recognize the importance of Christmas.”

When did America become so politically correct that Congress has to pass a resolution to approve of Christmas?

It’s not just cities eliminating public nativity scenes or Seattle airport banning Christmas trees. It goes much deeper than that.

Over the last several months, there has been a disturbing trend to suppress elements of religious expression that go right to the root of our country’s founding. It’s extremely frustrating.

Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. It’s about time Congress acknowledged America’s legacy of faith instead of promoting a society of secularism. Now, if only some in Washington could go back in time and erase some recent anti-religious actions in the name of being politically correct.

One example just floors me. People may request with their Members of Congress to have American flags flown over the U.S. Capitol, sometimes to commemorate a person, date or occasion. The Architect of the Capitol, an unelected office, oversees and orchestrates this process. The flags come with a certificate issued by the Architect’s office. The certificate indicates the date the flag was flown; it also may include a brief message prepared by the person requesting the flag.

This summer, it was confirmed that the Architect’s office was removing references to God from these certificates. A disappointed young Eagle Scout wanted to honor his grandfather “for his dedication and love of God, Country, and family.” His simple request was denied. Supposedly the policy was created to keep from offending people. Give me a break!

After weeks of public outcry and media scrutiny, the Architect of the Capitol, changed its policy and ruled that the word “God” may be inscribed on certificates accompanying flags that have flown over the U.S. Capitol. While that’s one victory, there is still a long road ahead.

After allegedly receiving a single complaint on the issue, the Department of Veterans Affairs recently banned a popular flag folding ceremony from funerals in all National Cemeteries because it referenced God and the national motto “In God We Trust.” The traditional ceremony includes a recitation with each of the thirteen folds of the American flag. Why would anyone want to censor the graveside expression of religion of grieving family members whose loved ones served our nation?

While I’m a co-sponsor of a House Resolution to overturn this insanity at veterans’ funerals, it just breaks my heart that brave men and women who died for this country won’t have this lovely flag-folding ceremony at their funeral.

Purging our nation of its historical references to God and the banning of religious expression is offensive and outrageous. This nation was founded in the quest for religious freedom. No one has the right to limit free expression of religion or the authority to erase our nation’s history.

As for me, I will shout, “God bless America!” every chance I get.

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