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Rahall wants to keep Christ in Christmas

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Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., introduced a Congressional resolution Friday, Dec. 20 recognizing the importance of symbols and traditions in Christmas.

Rahall said substituting a time-honored greeting like "Merry Christmas" with an empty phrase like "Happy Holidays" is wrong.

"There's nothing wrong with publicly recognizing the religious nature and true meaning of Christmas, especially for a nation like ours founded on the principles of religious freedom and speech," he said.

Rahall added that as a Christian and American he finds political correctness is making Christmas slowly drift away from the true meaning.

"It is fitting and appropriate that the Congress recognize the Christian traditions and symbols of Christmas and encourage Americans to learn about the religious underpinnings of the holiday."

Rahall, who has previously joined with Senator Byrd in arguing that the Constitutional separation of church and state has been misinterpreted over time, is a cosponsor of H. Res. 448, a resolution reaffirming the intention of the First Amendment to protect the free practice of religion and opposing attempts to ban references to Christmas in civic dialogue.

In the last Congress, Rahall urged the House of Representatives' Leadership to revisit House rules that prohibited Members of Congress from including "Merry Christmas" greetings in correspondence with their constituents. This year, in keeping with Rahall's urging, the House Franking Commission, the body that oversees the rules of official Congressional correspondence in the House of Representatives, reversed that ruling.

"The framers, who were religious men, sought to establish a government where the people could practice their faith freely, without government interference," Rahall said. "While seeking to prevent our Government from endorsing a state religion, the Framers never intended to remove references to religion from the political sphere entirely. ‘Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord,' reads the Bible, and the Framers certainly believed that.   

"At times, we seem to be moving farther away from the religious and moral principles on which our Nation is founded. Our children need to know, especially at Christmas, that it is all right to express their faith publicly. It's their right as Americans, and we would do well to exercise those rights and lead by example."