I want to discuss pending House Bill 12.

When Jimmy Stewart portrayed George Bailey in the 1946 adaption of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and ran through the streets of Bedford falls proclaiming, “Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas, Emporium! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan,” he had no idea that 61 years later some people might actually object to his using the phrase “Merry Christmas.”

But, that is exactly what is happening.

First, it was the department stores, Seasonal decor wishing shoppers “Happy Holidays” (we get that in the business community a lot as well), slowly replaced greetings of a “Merry Christmas.” Next came the “winter break” for schools and my own community of Alpharetta, a “winter parade.” Every year, there is an increasing infringement on our right to Free Speech. Specifically, our right to wish each other a “Merry Christmas” is being slowly erased one lacal ordinance and store policy at a time.

But, while schools and department stores are telling people not to use the phrase “Merry Christmas,” my concern goes to the greater issue of our right of free speech as guaranteed and protected by the Constitution of the United States and our state constitution. Whether we are celebrating the new year, our nation’s independence, the Jewish holiday of Hannukkah, or Christmas Day, our right to impact good tidings on our friends and neighbors with any phrase of our choosing must be protected.

House Bill 12 will not affect the private sector, but rather reaffirms the right of all citizens – employees and students included – to express seasonal greetings in any manner they choose.

I understand the critics of this bill dismiss it as a waste of time. But what is more important than our freedom of speech? House Bill 12 does not demand anyone says “Merry Christmas”, but rather protects our right to say that, or any other, seasonal greeting. So, Happy New Year, Happy Fourth of July, Happy Hanukkah, and, have a Merry Christmas!

Do this… Call your Representative and wish them Merry Christmas just to make your point.

Peace to my Brothers and Sisters

brian patrick cork

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