Maryville, TN – In an early Christmas victory, Liberty Counsel helped restore the reading of the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke as a part of Maryville’s Christmas celebration. Last year the City removed the reading of the Christmas story from its Christmas program after receiving unsound legal advice, claiming that reading the Bible was a violation of the Constitution.
The City sponsored a Christmas tree lighting event each year with a Christmas tree, lights, and ornaments. The annual event included singing religious and secular Christmas songs, lighting the tree, and reading the account of the birth of Christ from the book of Luke. The reading has been a tradition at this event for over 22 years. When this tradition was cut out last year, a number of people worked to continue the tradition by reading the account themselves. Unfortunately, they were denied access to the city’s platform and sound equipment, and temporary arrangements had to be made last year.
The citizens of Maryville were determined they would not give up this tradition. Liberty Counsel became involved and wrote several letters to local officials, clarifying the law. Liberty Counsel was prepared to submit permit applications if the City continued to restrict the reading, but this became unnecessary when it restored the Christmas reading to its event.
Liberty Counsel launched its eighth annual Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign, which is designed to educate and, if necessary, litigate to make sure religious viewpoints are not censored during Christmas. It provides legal information about Christmas on its website at http://www.LC.org and also a “Naughty & Nice” list, which overviews retailers that acknowledge Christmas and those that do not.
Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of the Liberty University School of Law, commented: “We congratulate the City for returning the reading of the Christmas Story to its celebration. It is sad when government official censor the essence of Christmas based on misguided opinions of the Constitution. The War on Christmas comes from those who are either ignorant or hostile to religion. Either way has the same result. Liberty Counsel is committed to protecting religious freedom this Christmas season.”