Press Release

Congressman McKeon Reacts to Ban on Christmas Tree and Holiday Decorations in Newhall Apartment Complex

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Washington, Dec 6, 2012 | Alissa McCurley (202-225-1956) | comments
This morning both the Santa Clarita Valley Signal and the Daily News reported that the management at a senior citizens’ apartment complex in Newhall had ordered the facility’s Christmas tree and other religious holiday decorations like several Menorahs, be removed from its community room. This unreasonable demand has rightly outraged its rent-paying residents.

Congressman McKeon issued the following statement:

“This is an absolute outrage and another example of a sad, sad trend I see happening in America today. In Congress, rules prohibit us from sending out any official form of communication to our constituents wishing them any sort of religious happy holiday greeting. We can’t say Merry Christmas, we can’t say Happy Hanukkah, we can’t say anything that even alludes to a religious celebration or specific holiday greeting. We can’t even use the colors red and green.

“On Monday night hundreds of people gathered on the Capitol lawn as we lit the Capitol Christmas Tree and tonight millions will watch as the President lights our National Christmas Tree- a tradition of spirit and unity we have enjoyed for 90 years. Are these great American holiday traditions next to go? I understand that freedom of religion is a founding principle of our democracy, and that part of that freedom is the freedom to not believe in or practice a religious faith. But an abolition of every marker of the holiday season, no matter the religious affiliation, is an affront to our most sacred traditions and darkens what is supposed to be a time of thankfulness, giving, togetherness, peace, love, hope and reflection. These residents pay rent to a private entity and should have the freedom to practice the holiday traditions of their choice.

 “I was proud to hear Speaker Boehner speak with conviction at the Capitol Christmas Tree lighting on Monday night. As the Speaker so eloquently stated, the tree is not just a Christian symbol of Christmas, but a larger symbol of the wonder of the human spirit and the blessings we rejoice in during the holiday season.”

Speaker Boehner’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Thank you to everyone involved in this event. This spruce has traveled many miles to reach this Great Dome, itself a radiant beacon of God's blessings. At Christmastime, its splendor calls to mind the star of Bethlehem and the chants of the angels announcing a humble birth in a manger.

“The birth of Christ fulfilled a prophecy of salvation, giving a weary world cause to rejoice. In that spirit, we will bring light to the tree that flourishes as a symbol of everlasting life. And in turn, this tree will bring light to us, opening our hearts a little more to the needs of our neighbors and the covenants we have made with one another. For the celebration of Christmas is not merely the recitation of a story that occurred once upon a time. The real mystery is having that story reborn in our souls, just as the shepherds were stirred by the angels singing, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, goodwill toward men.’

“So with gratitude, I offer you this simple phrase, ‘God bless us, everyone,’ and from my family to yours, Merry Christmas.”

-Speaker John Boehner
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