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Posted by on Jun 16, 2013 in Atheism, Culture, Government, Religion, Society | 5 comments

Rick Perry – Signs War on Christmas Bill, Vetoes Equal Pay Bill

And Texas moves into the lead for the most moronic government.  Thursday, June 13th, Rick Perry, the Republican governor of Texas, signed into law House Bill 308, known as the “Merry Christmas Bill”.

The text of the bill reads

Sec. 29.920.  WINTER CELEBRATIONS. (a) A school district
may educate students about the history of traditional winter
celebrations, and allow students and district staff to offer
traditional greetings regarding the celebrations, including:
             (1)  ”Merry Christmas”;
             (2)  ”Happy Hanukkah”; and
             (3)  ”happy holidays.”
       (b)  Except as provided by Subsection (c), a school district
may display on school property scenes or symbols associated with
traditional winter celebrations, including a menorah or a Christmas
image such as a nativity scene or Christmas tree, if the display
includes a scene or symbol of:
             (1)  more than one religion; or
             (2)  one religion and at least one secular scene or
symbol.
       (c)  A display relating to a traditional winter celebration
may not include a message that encourages adherence to a particular
religious belief.

Mysanantonio.com quotes Perry

“It’s a shame that a bill like this one I’m signing today is even required, but I’m proud that we’re standing up for religious freedom in this state,” Perry said. “Religious freedom does not mean freedom from religion.”

Umm… yes, Ricky, it does mean freedom from religion as established by federal precedent.  You really need to read up on things like laws and judicial court decisions before making yourself sound more idiotic than “I can’t remember the other two departments I’d cut”.

For example, the Supreme Court decision (Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38 (1985)), where the court said:

“At one time it was thought that this right [referring to the right to choose one’s own creed] merely proscribed the preference of one Christian sect over another, but would not require equal respect for the conscience of the infidel, the atheist, or the adherent of a non-Christian faith such as Islam or Judaism. But when the underlying principle has been examined in the crucible of litigation, the Court has unambiguously concluded that the individual freedom of conscience protected by the First Amendment embraces the right to select any religious faith or none at all.”

You know, I’ve been doing this a while and I’ve never heard of a single case where someone said “Merry Christmas” and got sued for it.  I’ve seen plenty of cases where a school or government is promoting specifically Christian religion and getting sued for it.

There’s a huge difference and this bill seems to say that Texas will ignore federal law and precedent and allow the promotion of a specific couple of religions.

This bill is pretty much dead meat the second someone files suit against it.  It really looks like another Dover Trap.

The Dover Trap is a situation where a larger governing body (state for example) sets up a smaller governing body (a school district for example) to get sued by passing a law that is doomed to lose any court case that happens because of the law.  Part of the ‘trap’ is that the larger governing body is not held responsible for the court and settlement costs arising from such a lawsuit.  It’s named after the Dover School District in the Kitzmiller Case.

So, thanks Ricky, for setting up a law that is doomed to fail and put a further burden on any school district that is dumb enough to listen to you.

But that’s not all.  Ricky Perry has vetoed (yes vetoed) a bill meant to prevent wage discrimination.  Basically this bill adds to the Lilly Ledbetter Act.  It allows women to sue in Texas state courts instead of a federal court.

The vast majority of US states have passed such a law.

Now all we need is Perry to sign a “strength’s and weaknesses of evolution bill” and he will have achieved the trifecta of moronic decisions.

  • f_galton

    That so-called “equal pay” bill was an invitation to frivolous lawsuits.

    • SmilodonsRetreat

      I’m not sure I buy that… any more than the Lilly Ledbetter Act has done so.

      HB 950 makes two changes to Texas law. First, it 3 specific definitions to define when the 180 complaint period must be filed. Second it says that liability for back pay can only accrue for 2 years.

      How is that an invitation to frivolous lawsuits… more than the original was?

      • f_galton

        The Lilly Ledbetter Act was invitation to frivolous lawsuits, too. It was passed for political reasons, not because it was sound or needed policy.

      • Guest

        The Lilly Ledbetter Act was invitation to frivolous lawsuits, too. It was passed for political reasons, not because it was sound or needed policy.

  • im-skeptical

    Of course, Perry is not stupid enough to believe that there really is a was on Christmas, I don’t think, but plenty of people are. He’s playing a cynical political game, appealing to the (lack of) intellect of those people, and he expects to reap the rewards in the next election.