A Congressman's card (sent at the expense of his election campaign)
Senators may. However, members of the House may only offer holiday greetings to voters. They must steer clear of anything so politically incorrect as actually uttering the name of the federal holiday — which has been officially “Christmas” since 1870, when the House and Senate first gave the nation the day off to observe Christ’s birth.
According to theWashington Examiner, the absurd ruling was made
by nameless members of the Franking Commission, a bureaucracy which spends much of its time making, clarifying and re-writing rules in order to justify its existance. Staffers then apply the ever-changing rules, which only they understand, to outgoing mail from Representatives to approve whether each letter qualifies for “franking privileges” — free postage, one of the perks of being a member of Congress.
This year, Congressmen were told no holiday greetings, including “Merry Christmas,” could be sent.
U.S. Representative Nick Rahall, a West Virginia Democrat on Wednesday urged the House Leadership to rein in the absurdity.
“This policy is just one more way political correctness is slowly dismantling the meaning of the Christmas season,” Rahall and other House members said in a letter to the House leadership. “The responsibility of the Franking Commission should not be to enforce political correctness. We are celebrating significant moments in two religions that have fundamentally shaped our Nation, and, as Members of Congress who represent thousands of constituents celebrating these holidays, we ask you to reconsider these outdated and restrictive rules.”
He pointed out the preposterous guidelines in which members were told they could make references in their official letters “to the season as a whole, using generic language” such as “have a safe and happy
holiday season,” but that greetings such as “Merry Christmas” were banned.
George and Laura Bush's 2007 Christmas card
Of particular irritation to Rahall is that Senators may use the traditional “Merry Christmas” greeting.
Rahall also is a co-sponsor of a House resolution that recognizes the importance of the symbols and traditions of Christmas and that strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to Christmas.
“An American Christmas celebrates the simple majesty of the Christ child’s birth with humble candlelight church services full of song, gratitude and celebration, reflecting long held values and the faith of our fathers,” said Rahall. “although in recent years, this treasured holiday’s place among our Nation’s celebrations has been shaken.
“Attempts to dilute the true meaning of Christmas, this significant holiday in our Christian heritage, crop up every so often. How often have we seen efforts even to replace time-honored greetings like, ‘Merry Christmas’ with generic phrases such as ‘Happy Holidays’ and the sort. I want to add a personal ‘humbug’ to that wrong-spirited
movement. Let Christmas always be Christmas,” said Rahall.
If you watch this 1981 Christmas message from the White House, you begin to wonder how far America has drifted:
Peter Konetchy, a candidate for the Senate finds the whole thing baffling.
“We are a Christian Nation, welcoming all religions, but solidly founded upon the Judeo-Christian values espoused in both the New and Old Testaments. We know our rights come from God, not government. We are the greatest nation ever founded because of our Christian heritage manifested through hard work, self reliance, voluntary charity, and gratitude for blessings received.
“Recently I was reading an article explaining how congressmen can no longer reference ‘Christmas’ within their Christmas mailings. Whether congress should use taxpayer funds to send greeting cards to constituents is an entirely different matter, but the cards were not disallowed, just the reference to ‘Christmas,’” said Konetchy, who is seeking a Senate seat from Michigan.