The First Amendment and Christmas Trees
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The paper explains how the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States prohibits the government from establishing an official religion in the country. The paper describes the Lemon Test and discusses how Christmas is not only a religious holiday but a national and clearly consumer one as well. The paper looks at cases that address whether various public religious displays are constitutionally correct and describes the issues surrounding Christmas trees. The paper concludes that if the tree is used in a way that magnifies the religiosity, or has religious sayings or banners attached, the Court's rulings would indicate that it is not constitutional; if, however, the tree is just a symbol of the Holiday, much like a Candy Cane or Snowman, then there is not religious intent and the display is legal.
From the Paper:"The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States clearly states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." There is no doubt that the Founding Fathers, concerned about both the historical interference of the Papacy and the Church of England, were focusing on the separation of Church and State. As black and white as this seems, there have been numerous challenges to the First Amendment in terms of curriculum in the schools, what is acceptable in the workplace, and even the right for LDS and Jehovah's Witness' to travel door to door to minister the Gospel (theirs, of course).
"One of the more interesting areas in which society continues to test the First Amendment surrounds Holidays, specifically the Christmas Holiday. It is certainly traditional for schools, businesses, and even government offices to decorate for the Holiday. But, at what point is decorating for the Holiday pressing religion into the public sphere? Is there a difference between decorating a Christmas Tree, which is actually more pagan tradition than religious, and a Creche'? Do representations of Santa Claus, snowflakes, or candy canes offend non-Christians? Is the celebration of Christmas just the celebration of a Christian Holiday, the birth of Jesus, or can it be seen as Winter Solstice and a celebration of family, friends, and the spirit of giving."
Sample of Sources Used:
- "Christmas Wars: Holiday Displays and the Federal Courts." 12 December 2006. The Pew Forum on Religion and the Public Life. <http://pewforum.org/docs/>DocID=175>.
Cite this Term Paper:
The First Amendment and Christmas Trees (2013, April 03) Retrieved February 28, 2021, from https://www.academon.com/term-paper/the-first-amendment-and-christmas-trees-152617/
"The First Amendment and Christmas Trees" 03 April 2013. Web. 28 February. 2021. <https://www.academon.com/term-paper/the-first-amendment-and-christmas-trees-152617/>