Texas Signs ‘Merry Christmas’ Bill Into Law

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(CNN) Students, teachers and administrators in Texas public schools can now wish each other Merry Christmas without fear of prosecution as long as other religions are also included.

That’s according to Gov. Rick Perry, who signed the religious freedoms bill into state law Thursday.

Perry says the law ensures religious freedom by making it okay for traditional holiday greetings and religious symbols to be used on school property while stressing that freedom of religion is not the same thing as freedom from religion.

He says the law gives students from all faiths freedom of expression, and that use of religious greetings and symbols will educate students on different religions.

The bipartisan measure sailed through the Texas House and Senate.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Dwayne Bohac of Houston, said he drafted it after discovering that his son’s school erected a “holiday tree” in December because any mention of Christmas could spark litigation.

“We hope that this is a fire that will take off and become laws in the other 49 states,” said Bohac.

The proposal has drawn little public opposition. Tom Hargis, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, declined to comment beyond a statement that “we hope administrators and teachers remain mindful that it’s an important role of parents to teach their children about matters of faith, not our public schools.”

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