“And so it was that just two days before Christmas the call went out from the Oklahoma attorney general’s office that faculty and staff at Southwestern Oklahoma State University would have to refrain from celebrating Christmas, or even saying the word “Christmas” on campus.”
The AG in Oklahoma probably worries that Mike Huckabee is going secular. Now he’s suddenly all super-anti-Christian on us? And he’s only that way at a smaller, out of the way Oklahoma school, not at the University of Oklahoma or Oklahoma State University?
Of course you know the rest of the story. From the Associated Press, in the Chickasha Express-Star:
A Florida-based group wasn’t being truthful when it sent out a press release claiming Attorney General Drew Edmondson advised a college to refrain from using the word “Christmas,” Edmondson said.
Dozens of calls poured into Edmondson’s office Thursday after callers had read an “alert” from the group, Liberty Counsel, that said a Southwestern Oklahoma State University administrator issued the directive to employees after receiving legal advice from Edmondson’s office.
Want to wager that Liberty Counsel was down a few dollars in the annual contributions, and just wanted to promote a little panic to bring in some money? Or, are you putting your money on the rum being a little too fiery in the office party egg nog? (Check out Liberty Counsel’s public notice, and nota bene the “Donate” button at the bottom.)
- Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson: “It seems like stating the obvious, but I would like people to remember that there is no accuracy filter on the Internet. My second message — merry Christmas.” Tulsa World photo and quote.
“Some of the callers were quite upset,” Edmondson said later. “The idea that a state official would ban Christmas just days before such a holy day obviously struck a chord with a number of people.”
The Orlando-based group issued two “alerts” on its Web site, saying an order about not using Christmas in written or oral form stemmed from counsel given by Edmondson.
But Edmondson said he never provided any such advise to Southwestern Oklahoma officials and does not advise the school about anything.
“Once the false information is out there, it seems to be immortal,” Edmondson said. “What gets reported as fact on one blog gets repeated as such on others.
“A few of the bloggers did call this afternoon to try to ‘verify’ the story and they did retract their original version of the events, but the damage was already done,” Edmondson said. “When it comes to the Internet, credibility is not required ‚Äî nor is truth.”
Brian Adler, director of public relations at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, said Thursday that the information was false and that there is no ban on Christmas at the school.
Employees were asked to keep public areas of the campus free of religious decor because not all students celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, Adler said.
But faculty and staff members also can decorate their offices however they want, he said.
The issue “has been resolved, and it’s fine,” Adler said. “We’re going to have a merry Christmas here.”
Liberty Counsel is a “nonprofit litigation, education and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of human life and the traditional family,” according to the group’s Web site.
Attempts to reach Liberty Counsel officials weren’t successful on Thursday.
The attorney general at least kept a little sense of humor about the incident.
Edmondson had a message for the group.
“The folks at Liberty Counsel will find lumps of coal in their stockings on Christmas morning,” he said. “That’s what Santa leaves for bad kids who tell lies.”
Liberty Counsel could have a real target, though. See the comments section on the story at the Tulsa World:
12/21/2007 8:25:42 AM, Graychin, Eucha
This must be the latest news from the “War on Christmas.” Somebody has been listening to too much talk radio.
How come the 2007 White House “Christmas” cards don’t mention Christmas? They only say “Season’s Greetings.”
“And that is how Liberty Counsel became home to the Boy Who Cried ‘War On Christmas’ Too Many Times.” ::Fade to tinsel::
- Tulsa World article
- Picture of a boy crying “War on Christmas” (this looks to be a parody site, but it’s not so well done as Landover Baptist)
- Worldnet Daily suckerpunches its supporters
- Liberty Counsel shows chutzpah: Refuses to retract erroneous press release (‘We’re having an impact’)
- Mark Tapscott, who surely knows better, falls for the scam — and repeats bad advice (putting secular items with religious items is not what the courts approve) [Mark, you’re not in Oklahoma any more — call, I can get you on the straight and narrow.]
- Captain’s Quarters had the guts to admit error
- Relying on Mr. Tapscott, Red State fell hook, line and sinker — while adorning their website with a picture of a Christmas tree ornament (no Jesus?). They quote Luke, though, so I guess they think they’re home free. Bah, Humbug, indeed! (Thanks, Blue Ollie)
- See Jonathan Turley’s summary of other offenses, including the crucified Santa
Tip of the old scrub brush to Burning Hot (see comments)
Spread the word; friends don't allow friends to repeat history.