Yesterday, I issued an Executive Order encouraging the celebration of Christmas and Hanukkah and prohibiting any censorship of these religious holidays.As you may know, in the past, state and local officials in Arizona (and elsewhere) have attempted to strip both Christmas and Hanukkah of their meaning, including establishment of policies forbidding state employees from placing religious items of celebration at their desks, re-naming of Christmas trees as “holiday” trees, and renaming of Menorahs as “candlesticks.” Under my administration, I will call things what they are…a Christmas Tree and a Menorah… and will gladly allow both Christmas and Hanukkah to be celebrated at the State Capitol. I encourage my colleagues and fellow elected officials to do the same.
Finally, as I have mentioned before, this is also a season for fire safety. Please remember to be careful with your Christmas lights and any other holiday decorations. Remember to keep your tree watered and to keep a watchful eye on lit candles. Please be safe. May God bless you, your home, and all of Arizona. Sincerely, Jan Brewer, Governor
Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer, has officially declared Christmas and Hanukkah to be a recognized holiday that can be celebrated by anyone in the state of Arizona – including government and state/local official offices in an Executive Order signed on December 17th, 2009:
Declaring Christmas and Hanukkah Celebration
WHEREAS, Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, the founder of the Christian religion, and has been celebrated annually for more than two millennia as a significant historical, cultural, and religious event; and
WHEREAS, Hanukkah also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BC; and
WHEREAS, Christmas and Hanukkah bring joy, love and good will to the hearts of the people of the State of Arizona and hundreds of millions of people across the world; and
WHEREAS, the Constitution does not permit the government to tolerate or engage in hostility toward religion, and the United States Supreme Court has affirmed that the public celebration of religious holidays, and the acknowledgement of religious origins, does not offend the Constitution; and
WHEREAS, state and local officials in Arizona (and elsewhere) in the past have attempted to strip both Christmas and Hanukkah of their meaning, including establishment of policies forbidding state employees from placing religious items of celebration at their desks, re-naming of Christmas trees as “holiday” trees, and renaming of Menorahs as “candlesticks,” and
NOW THEREFORE, I, Janice K. Brewer, Governor of the State of Arizona, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and the laws of the State of Arizona, do hereby order and direct as follows:
No executive agency of the State of Arizona shall require that any state employee refrain from personally celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah, including the placement of items traditionally associated with a particular holiday.
No executive agency of the State of Arizona shall prohibit any state employee from referring to the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays by their accurate names and wishing others a “Merry Christmas” or a “Happy Hanukkah.”
No executive agency of the State of Arizona shall participate in any censorship of the lawful celebration and acknowledgement of Christmas, Hanukkah or any other recognized religious holiday.
All executive agencies of the State of Arizona, and any political subdivision thereof, are authorized and directed to cooperate with the implementation of the provisions of the Order.
This order is effective upon signature and shall continue in effect until amended, modified, terminated, or rescinded by the Governor, or terminated by operation of law.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of Arizona, at the Capitol, in the City of Phoenix, on this 16th day of December, 2009. …
EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks to Don Farr for passing this message of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s letter.