Political Correctness Leads to “Merry Christmas” Laws

GEO_edited-1Texas governor Rick Perry signed a new law in 2013 called the “Merry Christmas” law. The new law protects Christmas and other holidays in Texas’ public schools from legal challenges.

The law was initiated when Representative Dwayne Bohac learned that his son’s school had erected a “holiday” tree, as the word “Christmas” was banned in the school for fear of attracting litigation. Mr. Bohac remarked that the exclusion of any reference to Christmas at public schools was “political correctness run amok”.

The Christmas controversy, called the “War on Christmas” by Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, has taken a variety of forms.

In 2005 the City of Boston erected a “holiday tree” that incensed the Nova Scotia farmer who supplied the tree to Boston. He said he would rather put the tree in a wood chipper than put up with misguided political correctness.

Nativity scenes were barred in public schools in New York in 2002, a position that prevailed when the public school authorities were sued.

In 2007 a public school in Ottawa caused alarm when the word “Christmas” was excised from the school choir’s rendition of “Silver Bells” and replaced with the word “festive”. A few years later another public school in Ontario cancelled their Christmas concert and replaced it with a winter craft fair and concert in February.

Major American big-box chain stores have also been subject to criticism. Sears, Home Depot, Kmart, Target, Walmart, and others who left out the word “Christmas” in their marketing material acceded to pressure from customers and Christian lobby groups to reinstate the name of the religious statutory holiday.

Meanwhile Texas has led the way for “Merry Christmas” laws in Alabama, Tennessee, and Missouri with bills awaiting enactment in several other American states.

As for me, I say both “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hannukkah”.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

What Happened to the Russian Orphan Returned to Russia by His American Mother?

Remember the heart-crushing story of the Russian boy who was adopted by a woman in Tennessee, only to be put on an airplane bound for Russia, with a note that said the boy was a violent psychopath and she didn’t want him anymore?

I do, and I also remember thinking I had never heard of such a heartless act. Recently, I followed up on this story to see what happened to the little boy in this heart-wrenching story.

You may recall that Torry Hansen from Shelbyville adopted Arytom Savelyev, who she renamed Justin Hansen, from a Russian orphanage. In April of 2010 her mother, Nancy Hansen, delivered 7 year-old Arytom to the airport for a flight back to Moscow. The Hansens’ conduct spurred international anger, but no criminal charges were ever pursued.

A month later Washington adoption agency, the World Association for Children and Parents, filed a civil lawsuit against the Hansens for child support and sought to be appointed as temporary guardians of the young boy. They became involved out of frustration that no one was investigating the abandonment and endangerment of Arytom.

Local officials said there was no crime committed in their jurisdiction and therefore, no criminal charges. A Russian Court later pronounced an order that Ms. Hansen pay $2500.00 a month in child support.

The civil lawsuit brought by the adoption agency came to light when Judge Lee Russell in Tennessee ruled in November 2011 that the media could have access to the trial proceedings after the Hansons’ attorney tried to obtain an order barring the media and requesting a sealing order.

The trial is scheduled for May 2010. Meanwhile, Arytom was without a stable home until recently. He is now living with his new foster mother, teacher Vera Yegorova and her 16 other foster children under the auspices of SOS Children’s Villages. The Villages are in 133 countries and began in Austria in 1949.

His mother reports he is now doing well in school and has adapted to his new home and siblings. Ms. Yegorova learned of Arytom’s plight through the media noting that her foster son has never mentioned the traumatic events to her or acknowledged that he speaks English.

After this incident Russian barred American adoptions and has only just recently opened the door again for Americans to adopt Russian orphans.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang