Liberty Counsel will defend employees of the Durham Children’s Developmental Services Agency (CDSA), a division of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, who have been prohibited from displaying any Christmas or other holiday decorations deemed “religious” in their office.
The North Carolina Division of Public Health has previously allowed its employees to decorate office spaces and common areas for various holidays. Using their own resources, the staff of the local CDSA has brought Christmas decorations and decorated office common areas, along with their own office areas, on the employees’ own time.
However, this practice was banned in the Durham CDSA when the employees received the following email on November 30, 2016:
“Our Management Team has discussed this issue in detail and has agreed on the following:
- No decorations reflective of a specific holiday or religion should be displayed in common use areas, on the outside of office doors, in waiting areas, or in areas where families meet with staff. The receptionists may have small items in their personal space.
- Holiday parties are fine but decorations and activities should not be reflective of a specific holiday or religion.”
This email, which implies that this unconstitutional directive is the official sanction of the North Carolina Division of Public Health and the North Carolina Infant-Toddler Program, promotes hostility toward religion and the preference for things secular or non-religious. Liberty Counsel is prepared to file suit if management does not respond within the given deadline.
“It is unconstitutional to censor a religious viewpoint on a permissible subject matter,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Government employees cannot be censored from displaying Christmas or holiday decorations that contain religious viewpoints of a recognized state and federal holiday called ‘Christmas.’ Is ‘Merry Christmas’ banned under this directive? If this directive is not immediately rescinded, Liberty Counsel will hold the management of this agency accountable,” said Staver.
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.