Earlier this week, two Oklahoma legislators announced they will introduce a “Merry Christmas Bill” during the 2014 legislative session to help fight the “War on Christmas.” The bill will protect the rights of students and educators to celebrate all the traditional Christmas clichés that make us feel warm and fuzzy; rights, which at last check, students and educators already have.
From the obscure local political blog The McCarville Report:
In what members of the Legislature describe as a “defensive effort,” a measure is being filed today to defend the traditional holiday seasons of Christmas and Hanukkah.
Reps. Bob Cleveland, R-Slaughterville, and Ken Walker, R-Tulsa, are filing a bill for the upcoming session. House Bill 2317 would call for more protections to go into place regarding Christmas and how it is celebrated in schools.
Called the “Merry Christmas” bill, the measure would allow for schools to celebrate Christmas and use religious-based imagery such as nativity scenes alongside other displays such as Christmas trees. It would also allow school faculty and staff to use traditional greetings such as “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” without fear of reprisal.
This is an excellent idea. If this bill becomes a law, hopefully we’ll see an end to terrible events like the infamous Wiley Post Elementary School Christmas Assembly riots of 2008, where first and second graders were arrested for singing modern renditions of Silent Night, The First Noel and Little Drummer Boy. Now, after years of persecution, students across the state can say “Merry Christmas” to a friend or teacher without fear of detention or being sent to the assistant principal’s office. Hallelujah!!!
Okay, I made all that up. I don’t think a kid has ever been suspended, or a teacher ever fired, for saying Merry Christmas at school. In fact, I think they already have the right to celebrate Christmas. It kind of makes you wonder why the bill was even introduced. Here’s what Ken Walker, R-Tulsa, had to say about it:
“The purpose of this Oklahoma Merry Christmas bill is to put a beacon of light, a safe harbor if you will, in the pages of the statutes so that our children, our parents and our teachers can run to a lighthouse whose light shines boldly from the pages of our state’s law books,” Walker said. “It will declare that we have a right to express our core beliefs and celebrate winter traditions without fear of lawsuit, retribution or reprisal.”
Oh holy night, did Tommy Lee Jones write that on the set of Lincoln!? Beacon of light? Safe harbour? Run to lighthouse whose light shines boldly from the pages of our state’s law books? That’s more hammy than Christmas dinner. Walker may want to lay off of the rum and Braum’s eggnog.
Anyway, I emailed our legal team at the Oklahoma chapter of the ACLU for their thoughts on the bill. Here’s what Brady Henderson, ACLU Legal Director, had to say:
I guess you can’t believe everything you read in the newspaper (or on obscure local social blogs.)
Last week, we told you about the New York Times report claiming that Mary Fallin had flip-flopped and is now allowing state facilities to process spousal benefits for same-sex couples in the Oklahoma National Guard. In case you forgot about it, or were waiting in line at Wal-Mart to buy groceries for the winter weather Armageddon, here it is:
3 States End Resistance to Spousal Benefits Order
By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr.
November 27, 2013
Texas, Oklahoma and West Virginia are now complying with an order from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel requiring state National Guard units to process federal marriage benefits for same-sex spouses of guardsmen, according to the Department of Defense. Mr. Hagel issued the order — which also extended benefits to same-sex spouses of military service members — after the Supreme Court struck down a law this summer that had prevented federal recognition of same-sex marriages. At one point, nine states had objected to Mr. Hagel’s order, citing conflicts with state laws that do not recognize gay marriages. As a result, same-sex National Guard spouses in those states could sign up for benefits only by traveling to a federal military installation. As of Wednesday, only Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana were still defying Mr. Hagel’s order, said a spokesman for the National Guard Bureau in Washington.
Well, it looks like The New York Times blurb was wrong or “misleading.” We know this thanks to a very direct email from Fallin’s Communications Director Alex Wentz:
A few weeks ago, Oklahoma City Councilman and 2014 mayoral candidate Dr. Ed Shadid ventured into the deep, dark corners of Derplahoma to speak with Sally Kern, Mike Reynolds and a bunch of other white guys with beards who tuck Oxford-style shirts deep into their Levi’s about local issues. Here’s the entire talk. It’s over an hour long:
The “breaking news” and “click on this” part of the hour-long video was where Dr. Shadid openly discussed being the world’s skinniest, gasp!, recovering marijuana addict. This is because marijuana, unlike alcohol or high fructose corn syrup, is a deadly, addictive drug that kills millions of laid back, totally harmless people each year.
The admission slowly got the attention of the local media. News 9 reported the story last week with the awkwardly worded headline “Mayoral Candidate Ed Shadid Admits He Used To Be Addicted To Marijuana.” And, well, that was it. Until yesterday.
In the Sunday Oklahoman, the “State’s Most Trusted News” unleashed the hounds. In what will likely be the first part of an all-out, full-frontal assault on the anti-establishment, underdog candidate, the paper not only published an expose on Shadid’s marijuana addiction, but came down hard on him for “pleading the fifth” and asking that a judge seal his 2007 divorce from public record. It’s trip down memory lane. You’d think Gaylord was still alive and David Walters was Governor.
Let’s hope the devil’s monument engraver uses spellcheck.
Earlier this week, The Satanic Temple offered to build and fund a monument at the Oklahoma State Capitol honoring Satan. Their proposal, which was submitted to the Capitol Preservation Commission, comes nearly a year after a monument displaying the 10 Commandments was installed on the north steps of the capitol.
From a Satanic Temple press release:
Congrats gays and lesbians who serve our country! It looks like Mary Fallin is also a flip-flopper.
Last week, while you were engaged in traditional gluttony and consumerism, Mary Fallin quietly decided that our state will comply with federal law and begin to process benefit requests for same-sex spouses of national guardsmen
Because it was sheepishly announced on Thanksgiving Eve, the decision received hardly any local media attention or coverage. In fact, I think the New York Times is the only place to cover it, and even they only gave it a small paragraph:
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