On its website, the USDA/Forest Service lists these prohibitions on what cannot be included for ornaments on the 2021 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree: Decorations cannot include logos, political or religious affiliation or symbols, drug or alcohol references, be divisive or offensive.
So, the official government guidelines say, "religious symbols" are prohibited from being decorations on the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree.
In an email to the architect of the Capitol and the Capitol Police Board, the Christian Defense Coalition asks if that prohibition on religious symbols includes nativity displays, baby Jesus or the holy family.
The group also asks if there are any ornaments on the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree that display or celebrate the birth of Christ.
Here is the full text of the email send to the architect of the Capitol and the Capitol Police Board:
I hope this correspondence finds all well. As you know, for the past 30 years I have worked tirelessly to ensure free speech and religious freedom is embraced and protected on the grounds of the United States Capitol.
The "People's House," as the US Capitol Building is so rightly called, must be a place where all Americans should be afforded the right to come and peacefully celebrate and express their First Amendment Rights.
That is why it was so troubling when I read the official guidelines for ornaments on the 2021 U.S. Capitol Christmas included these words; "Decorations cannot include logos, political or religious affiliation or symbols."
While celebrating this year's Capitol Christmas theme, "Six Rivers, Many Peoples, One Tree," do the guidelines prohibiting any display of "religious symbols" include things such as ornaments of the Nativity Scene, the Holy Family or Baby Jesus?
Said another way, do the official 2021 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree ornament guidelines prohibit any displays of the birth of Christ?
A companion question would be, are there ANY ornaments on the Capitol Tree which display and celebrate the birth of Christ?
Since the definition of Christmas is, "the annual festival celebrating Christ's birth," it would be deeply concerning if ornaments celebrating His birth were prohibited and censored from being on the Capitol Christmas Tree by the order of a government agency.
I thank you in advance for a speedy reply.
Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney
Director of the Christian Defense Coalition/Washington, D.C.
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