A North Carolina community college has been accused of violating the First Amendment rights of students. That’s because they told a school club they couldn’t use the word “Christmas” to promote a Christmas tree sale.
The student club, called the BEST Society, was planning to sell the Christmas trees to raise money for Angel Tree, an organization that provides Christmas presents to children.
Club members followed the college rules and submitted forms to promote the sale. The proposed text read, “The BEST Society will be selling Christmas Trees…”
But when the announcement appeared on the college’s website and in other places – it had been altered. All the references to “Christmas Trees” had been replaced with “holiday trees.”
The students immediately contacted the college’s community relations director to find out what happened.
The director allegedly told them, “We cannot market your trees in association solely with a Christian event.”
As a result of the change, the club began receiving complaints from the community. In fact, some customers told the students they wouldn’t purchase the trees because the word “Christmas” had been excised.
Matt Sharp is an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom. He says “It’s ridiculous that anyone would have to think twice about using the word ‘Christmas’ as part of a Christmas tree sale.”
ADF sent a letter to officials at Western Piedmont Community urging them to reconsider their decision to censor the word “Christmas” – or face a possible lawsuit.
So far, college officials have refused to comment on the controversy.
I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.