The Law on Holiday Decorations

January 4, 2004

Source: CNN

On January 4, 2004 CNN published an article in its FindLaw column setting out the rules on holiday decorations and discussing the larger meaning, and prescience, of the Court's jurisprudence in this area. The article explains that "the Establishment Clause, of course, prohibits the government from endorsing a particular religion... But suppose a display sweeps more broadly -- such as one in Pennsylvania, which featured a crèche, a menorah, and a Kwanzaa scene, and was erected not under the auspices of religion, but those of 'multiculturalism.' In that event, there is no Establishment Clause violation. The message is not one of endorsement for a particular religious viewpoint. It is a message that the government is acknowledging the celebrations of its various citizens. And that is perfectly constitutional. It is also constitutional, however, for a given Town Hall, school, or other government facility, to have no holiday display at all -- or a predominantly, or even completely, secular display."

See also: Interfaith, Civic