Saying "Merry Christmas" (or "Happy Hanukkah" or even "Have a festive Festivus") is now legally protected in Texas schools, thanks to a new law signed by Rick Perry yesterday. The "Merry Christmas" bill also protects schools from decorating with seasonal religious symbols such as menorahs and nativity scenes—so long as at there is also a symbol from at least one other religion and a secular symbol, the AP reports.
"It's a shame that a bill like this one I'm signing today is even required, but I'm glad that we're standing up for religious freedom in this state," said Perry, who signed the bill to cheers and bell-ringing from a local group called the Lone Star Santas ("A group for men and women who live in Texas, and portray Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, Elves and helpers," according to its website. "The only rule for this group is to talk and act the way Santa, Mrs. Claus, Elves and helpers would.") "Religious freedom does not mean freedom from religion," he added. (Read more Christmas stories.)