December 21, 2007

Christmas at Southwestern Oklahoma State University


Weatherford, OK – Liberty Counsel is very pleased with the recent statement issued by John Hays, the President of Southwestern Oklahoma State University, regarding Christmas and Christmas decorations at the university. The statement is now posted on the university web site.

Mr. Hays says in the statement: “The university does not have a policy that bans the word ‘Christmas’ or Christmas decorations. However, some supervisors or department leaders within the university who meant well may have suggested to employees that caution should be taken with respect to Christmas decorations. One thing led to another and the result was that some mistakenly assumed that Christmas decorations were being prohibited. I have met with various staff members to get to the bottom of the matter and have also had a pleasant discussion with Mathew Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel.”

Mr. Hays further states: “The university will continue to follow the law and to respect the right of all its staff members. Thus, the university will follow the general principles set forth by the courts regarding the display of religious symbols and/or Nativity scenes.... In applying this general rule to the university, if a Nativity or other religious symbol of the holiday is displayed in a place open to the general public (like a lobby), the university will include secular symbols of the holiday in the nearby context. However, employees in their cubicles or offices may personally display a Nativity or other religious symbol of the holiday. In such a setting, the employee need not include secular symbols of the holiday. Employees have always been and continue to be permitted to greet one another with the greeting ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays.’ The decision is up to each employee.”

Mathew D. Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: "I am very pleased by the prompt actions of President John Hays to resolve the Christmas controversy. His leadership in resolving the controversy over Christmas and the general guidelines he has set forth regarding the appropriate way a state school and its employees may acknowledge and celebrate Christmas serves as an example for others to follow. Christmas is a wonderful time of the year and it can and should be enjoyed by all."



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