August 9, 2016

Deborah Ross’ War on Christmas Songs

On Deborah Ross’ campaign website, the first thing a North Carolina voter would read in her bio is that she “grew up in a small town.” Yet, a new report from the Washington Free Beacon shows just how out of touch Ross is with the small towns of North Carolina.

The residents of Havelock, North Carolina would be especially surprised to learn that Ross is touting her small town bona fides. For close to ten years Ross was the executive director of the North Carolina branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU is a notoriously litigious organization, yet Ross’ actions in 2000 are too much even for such an extreme group.

That year Roger Bell Elementary held a Christmas pageant where, to no one’s surprise, Christmas songs were sung. For one student’s grandfather that was too much though. He alerted the ACLU-NC that the school system was being used “proselytize for Christianity,” and urged them to act.

As the Washington Free Beacon has uncovered, act Ross’ ACLU-NC did! Their lawyers sent a letter to Roger Bell Elementary warning them that they could be in violation of the First Amendment by holding a Christmas pageant:

“However, when the ACLU became aware of the grandfather’s message on Christmas songs, a letter was sent to the principal of Roger Bell Elementary within a week alerting the small Havelock, North Carolina, school that the use of ‘explicitly denominational songs’ violates the Constitution.’ It has been brought to our attention at the ACLU of North Carolina that at the last Christmas pageant held at Roger Bell Elementary, songs about Jesus, the Nativity, and Mary were song [sic] as part of the program,’ the ACLU wrote in an April 10 letter. ‘While songs concerning Rudolph, Santa, and similarly nondenominational songs may be constitutionally permissible, songs specifically concerning Jesus and other explicitly denominational songs violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.’”

Roger Bell Elementary fought back and won, yet they were forced to “lawyer up” to fight back against the ACLU-NC’s frivolous effort. Even though Ross lost her battle against Christmas pageants, the episode is instructive. She led an organization that felt singing Christmas songs voluntarily violated the Constitution. If these are the values Ross fights for, what could she do in the United States Senate?