Auburn, AL – After two open forums held over an eleven-month period, the Auburn University Student Government Association (SGA) announced that the former "Holiday" tree lighting event will now be called "Holiday Celebration featuring the Lighting of the Christmas Tree."
The event had been called the Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony since its inception in 2000. The former president of College Republicans, Laura Steele, started a petition to rename the event shortly before last year's tree lighting ceremony. Liberty Counsel worked closely with Ms. Steele to support the effort she spearheaded. According to the Associated Press, over 20,000 e-mails were received over the issue. Thanks to the efforts and persistence of Laura Steele and other student leaders, the stir caused the SGA to review the event, as well as the entire program. "I am so happy that the SGA has decided to call the tree what it is, a Christmas Tree," said Laura. "They have the support and thanks of the thousands of students, alumni and fans that joined the effort to bring the name Christmas back to this wonderful University. We are all very happy to have this resolved and thrilled that we can continue to positively promote Christmas and the real meaning of the season this year at Auburn."
Wes Bonds, spokesman for the celebration committee, said the SGA wanted to make sure the tree was called a Christmas tree. "We wanted to find a name that included everything going on," Bonds said. George Stegall, president of SGA, said he believes the new name is more accurate. "There's no holiday tree. Something had to be done about calling a Christmas tree a holiday tree," he said. "I think it will definitely be well received by Auburn University and the Auburn community," he said. The new celebration will include the lighting of the Christmas tree, as well as the lighting of a peace candle and possibly the lighting of a menorah.
Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, commented: "There has been a disturbing trend toward censorship of Christmas celebrations, but people all across America are fighting back to help save Christmas. Everyone knows that a green, pointed, prickly tree we decorate in December is a Christmas tree. Renaming a Christmas tree to a "Holiday tree" is hypocritical political correctness run amok. Christmas IS constitutional. The Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign is stirring millions of Americans to help save Christmas and to preserve our religious freedom before it is lost forever."
Liberty Counsel, a nationwide, public interest civil liberties law firm, launched its fourth annual Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign and is experiencing another active season defending attacks on Christmas celebrations. On its web site, http://www.lc.org/, Liberty Counsel offers a Help Save Christmas™ action pack, which includes educational legal memoranda to educate government officials, teachers, parents, students, private businesses, employees and others that it is legal to celebrate Christmas. The action pack also includes a very popular "I LOVE CHRISTmas™" button, bumper stickers and other items to promote Christmas.