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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Has Southwestern Oklahoma State University banned Christmas?

The controversy allegedly began when the University's Director of Human Resources, John Misak, recently visited various departments and said that decorations featuring the word "Christ" or Christmas" in any areas of the University must be immediately removed.

Liberty Counsel became involved after receiving a complaint from a University affiliate.

Hat tip to Faultline USA and Stop the ACLU for the emails that led me to this article over at The Examiner.

Now the Okie Napoleon is banning Christmas!

I am not making this up (because I am from Oklahoma and this guy is an embarrassment).

Edmondson issued an advisory opinion to officials at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford advising them that the word "Christmas" should not be spoken by any employee of the state school, not written in any official holiday decorations.

The Liberty Counsel has issued a news release about the Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford where they state "The announcements made by Misak are in direct violation of the United States Constitution and other federal law. The First Amendment prohibits government from being hostile to religion. Selecting one legal holiday for negative treatment and special restrictions solely because it has religious aspects clearly demonstrates hostility toward religion. Moreover, the free speech rights of employees at the university are infringed when their speech is censored solely because of a religious viewpoint or perceived religious viewpoint. A public employer like SWOSU also violates the Civil Rights Act when it prohibits its employees from using the words "Merry Christmas."

Tapscott over at the Examiner and the Liberty Counsel has both published the University President John M. Hays' phone number:

Contact information for University President John M. Hays: Telephone (580) 774-3766, Fax (580) 774-7101, email

Please be kind and respectful when you call or email.

Stop the ACLU reacts:

Make sure to wish him a Merry Christmas while you are on the phone. Make sure to let him know just how ridiculous his politically correct scrooge crap is….politely if possible.

For the sake of fairness, some are reporting that callers to the Southwestern Oklahoma State University are being told the story is false.

Their website has Christmas decorations on the front page, but does say Happy Holidays, which was changed from Merry Christmas, and was last modified today, December 20, 2007.

The questions that stem from this is:

#1. Who was the University affiliate that lodged a complaint with Liberty Counsel?

#2. Is there anything in writing proving the University's Director of Human Resources, John Misak, actually made the directive banning any mention of Christmas or the word Christ?

#3. Have decorations featuring the words Christ or Christmas been removed?

#4. Why was their website changed today taking the words Merry Christmas off and replacing them with Happy Holidays?

#5. Will anybody step forward to confirm that they were told "that decorations featuring the word "Christ" or Christmas" in any areas of the University must be immediately removed?"

I will update this post with any further news or if any of those questions get answered.

More Christmas news from Hot Air.

[Update] Commenter David Kirby over at Red State had this to say about his phone call to the University:

Hmmm. I called and asked the lady why he banned Christmas.
Conversation went something like:

AGSecretary (AGS): "Oh, I don't think he banned Christmas." Touche.
DK: "Then why ban using the word Christmas?"
AGS: (stutter)
DK: "According to the details I have..."
AGS: (cuts me off) "DETAILS?? You have details? You're going to need to speak to our public relations department." (transfers call)

Apparently, the fact I was mildly informed and had "details" made her a bit uncomfortable. As expected, the PR people didn't pick up the phone.

Future callers, please be advised that bringing up details will abruptly end the call.