Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Christmas in Shreveport Almost Cancelled

Last month, an atheist did his best to cancel Christmas in a small town. Shreveport, New York, had hosted “Christmas on the Canal” for seventeen years. The community celebration includes carols, a tree-lighting, a nativity scene, a visit from Santa, and other Christmas festivities. The event is financially supported by the town.

This year, however, an atheist resident called Shreveport’s mayor and told her he would sue if the town continued to fund the festival this year. An attorney advised her to cancel or alter the event. She asked the committee of volunteers who organized the celebration to change the name to “Holiday on the Canal” and to remove the nativity scene. The committee refused, the town denied funding, and the event was cancelled.

Then the committee took the story to the public, and donations began pouring in. The funds denied by the town were quickly raised from the community, and Christmas on the Canal went ahead – including the nativity scene.

I’m glad to see that the town of Shreveport understood the value of keeping Christ in Christmas. This shows the true will of the people, who weren’t willing to let one resident tell them how they could or could not celebrate Christmas. A community that takes charge of an issue without government help or funding is a very American answer to a problem.

However, Americans should understand that the town of Shreveport probably would also have won in court. Courts have ruled that Christmas events that acknowledge Christianity are not unconstitutional, as long as there is a balance between secular and religious elements.

Americans should know that they can preserve events and traditions by working through their communities and they should also know that they can fight these battles in court, and sometimes win.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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