December is the heart of what is often referred to as the holiday season. In addition to Christmas, Americans celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, Diwali and the Winter Solstice. Although Christmas is a religious holiday for many, others celebrate it on a non-religious basis. While the ACLU is sometimes accused of being against Christmas and the spirit of the season, this is not true. The ACLU strongly supports religious freedom and everyone’s right to celebrate holidays in their own way. But, under the U.S. Constitution, government should stay neutral on religion, including by not endorsing religious displays or promoting any particular religious tradition. By staying out of the business of promoting religion, government creates inclusive communities and complies with the Constitution.
Busting myths about the ACLU and Christmas
Selected legal cases related to religious freedom and the holidays
Westfield High School L.I.F.E. Club v. Westfield Public Schools
In 2002, Westfield High School students were punished for distributing candy canes with religious messages attached—a violation of the students' First Amendment rights. We filed a brief on their behalf.
Pielech v. Massasoit Greyhound, Inc.
In the early 1990s, we supported two women who were fired for refusing to work at race track on Christmas Day, which they could not do because of their religious beliefs.