Has Bill O'Reilly moved his clownish act to the legislative chambers beneath the Gold Dome in Atlanta? Could be. Yesterday, Georgia's House of Representatives voted 136-25 in favor of a bill that:
"Simply put, in the state of Georgia, it's going to be OK to say 'Merry Christmas' in the public workplace and in our schools," said Rep. Clay Cox (R-Lilburn), the bill's sponsor.

Thank God. Praise Jesus. In your face, Kwanza lobby! Our school system is saved. This is why we elect GOoopers, isn't it? More invasive governance?

This session of Georgia's GOoper-run legislature may set a new benchmark for inanity. Though it's early, the lawmakers have already brought forward bills that will drag out the divorce process for 4 more weeks, give more leeway to those who use firearms in public (if they feel threatened), make it easier for part-time judges to carry firearms, and impose further restrictions on asbestos lawsuits.

But this one really has to be a record-breaker. An absolute bow to the reactionary and the misinformed for political gain. According to the AJC, the bill's sponsor, Clay Cox, justified the bill by saying that

...he heard from teachers, public employees and students who were afraid to say, "Merry Christmas." But when asked later for specifics, Cox provided none.

No specifics. Shocker. But a pressing need nonetheless.

Despite the overwhelming vote in favor of the measure, a few Dems were not amused, or fooled.

Rep. Tom Bordeaux (D-Savannah) said he could see the effects of the national debate during the recent holiday season. "People would say to me 'Merry Christmas,' not with the joy of Christ in their heart, not with the joy of light come into a dark world, but as a weapon, as an ax, a banging on the door -- a 'Here, I'll show you,'" Bordeaux said.

Bordeaux cautioned legislators about passing a "bill saying you can say 'Merry Christmas,' when it's used to pound on people, not love people. As a Christian, I don't believe that's what my God and savior want me to do, in terms of acting as a legislator," he said.

Ahhhhhh. A voice of reason. I wonder how he managed to get past security?

And why was such legislation needed here in the Peach State? Well. it seems we have a history of minor misunderstandings.

In 2000, then-Cobb County Superintendent Joe Redden assured teachers it was OK to say "Merry Christmas," but they should refrain from using religious decorations and themes in the classroom. His directive came after a middle school principal told her staff not to talk about Christmas at all.

And also:
Last December, a Jackson County school principal reportedly told her teachers not to say "Merry Christmas," prompting teachers to complain to a national organization established to protect Christmas.

Officials at the North Georgia school system said that it was a misunderstanding and that teachers were allowed to use the phrase around students.

Since such Three's Company-esqe miscommunications seem to occur every 5 years or so, the legislature had to take action. Something had to be done before the next inevidable disaster hits in 2010.

Now if they can just heed Bush's warning and get to work on laws to prevent Manimal hybrids. UPDATE: Today the insanity continues unabated. The House today approved a bill that authorizes local governments to display the Ten Commandments in public buildings.

The bill, which passed 140 to 26, would require that any display also include copies of the Mayflower Compact and the Declaration of Independence. It also mandates that the Georgia attorney general represent any local government that is sued over the displays.
And more bizarre, but less offensive is a new bill that
bans police from stopping trucks carrying chickens when the temperature is above 85 degrees unless the officer suspects illegal activity. Even then, it limits the stops to ten minutes unless an arrest is made.

Originally posted to aggressiveprogressive on Wed Feb 01, 2006 at 09:40 AM PST.


The Merry Christmas Law

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