In case you needed a reminder that Roy Moore isn’t the only Alabama politician who uses his platform to promote Jesus, Governor Kay Ivey did just that on Christmas Day, celebrating “the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ” on her official Facebook page.
My fellow Alabamians, today, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that each of us share His light and love with one another. As we’re upon the Christmas season, reflecting on the past year, let us be filled with hope and joy as we look toward the opportunities that lie before us. May your days ahead be filled with the light of God and His abundant grace. Merry Christmas to you and your families!
Needless to say, all Alabamians don’t celebrate Christmas, and it’s inappropriate for Ivey to use her elected office to promote her personal religious beliefs. She can say “Merry Christmas” to those who celebrate it, but that’s a far cry from pretending that everyone accepts the birth of her Lord as a significant event.
Her video was even more explicit:
… No matter what we face, we must never forget Christmas really celebrates one thing: the birth of Jesus Christ. During the holidays, our homes are filled with lights, from the candles we burn to the lights that twinkle on our trees. We use lights at Christmas because they symbolize that we have the light of Christ, a light which represents hope and promise for the future, within us. Despite our differences, we are all made in the image and likeness of God. We share a common bond, a desire to care for each other and to make this world a better place. That is the message of Jesus and the story of Christmas.
May your Christmas and the days ahead be filled with the light of God and His abundant grace. Merry Christmas to each of you and your families.
“The Supreme Court has long recognized that the First Amendment ‘mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion,'” FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel writes to Ivey. “When you use your office to promote exclusively religious messages, you have violated this neutrality.”
Seidel notes in his letter that it’s not the mention of Christmas that’s the problem, but the blatant promotion of Ivey’s religion.
We do not care that you said, “Merry Christmas” to conclude your video — this has never been an issue — but we do admonish the exclusionary and erroneous nature of much of the message. For instance, many Americans do not believe that we are, as you claimed, “made in the likeness of God.” And the idea that “We use lights at Christmas because they symbolize that we have the light of Christ… within in us” is an absurd modern rebranding…
FFRF is asking Ivey to remove the Facebook post from her social media page — which, days after Christmas, isn’t asking much. Ivey hasn’t responded, and I doubt she’ll treat FFRF’s letter as a defense of the First Amendment. Instead, she’ll call it a form of persecution, as if FFRF is trying to shut her up. That wouldn’t be true at all. She can say whatever she wants in private. She can wish Christians a merry Christmas in public. But she can’t advertise her religion on government communication channels.
I’m not going to hold my breath in the hopes she’ll do the right thing. After all, Ivey memorably voiced her support for Roy Moore weeks ago, saying electing an alleged child molester would still be preferable to electing a Democrat. There’s no reason to think she’ll come to her senses anytime soon.