No 'Merry Christmas' in Bethlehem, New York? Fearful town officials told putting up the sign poses no problem

The Star of Bethlehem has become a Christmas symbol.Reuters

It used to be acceptable to put up signs and greet one another "Merry Christmas" when December rolls about, but after a dispute concerning the greeting arose recently in Bethlehem, New York, town officials decided it would be best if they put down the "Merry Christmas" sign that has been a fixture in the town for years.

According to WND, town officials were worried that the greeting might violate the Constitution by mixing government with faith, but the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) believes they have nothing to worry about.

"No one should fear that saying 'Merry Christmas' on a sign like this will violate the Constitution. It does not," said ADF Legal Counsel Joseph La Rue. "The courts, all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, have been clear that the government can erect Christmas signs and displays, including even Nativity scenes, without having to fear a constitutional violation."

Bethlehem had long been putting up holiday greetings, and not just the ones limited to Christianity. Several years back, they allowed a Jewish group to post a Menorah greeting with the words "Happy Hanukkah." A local named Dr. Elena Marcelle later bought a sign that carries the words "Merry Christmas," and she has been putting that up for two consecutive years already.

Things only changed this year when officials "decided that the Merry Christmas sign could not be placed on the town's property" because of worries about the Establishment Clause.

But ADF is insisting that the town has nothing to fear. In fact, the group said the "irony is not lost on us that your town's name is Bethlehem."

"Christians believe that, in the Bethlehem of old, there was no room in the inn for the Christ child. We hope that Bethlehem, New York, will make room for a sign to wish those who drive by the Four Corners a 'Merry Christmas' in recognition of the importance of this holiday to many of Bethlehem's people," they said.