Rep. Diane Black R-Tenn. sent an inappropriate, religious message to her Tennessee constituents on Dec. 24. Her letter "Wishing You a Merry Christmas... Even if I'm not supposed to (copied at the end of this page)" began and ended with a personal rant in support of religion and her dislike for the Franking Commission.
"Franking" is a tax-supported "free postage" privilege for members of Congress. As Rep. Black cited in her letter, Franking resources may only be used to inform constituents of an important matter. Taxpayers should not have to subsidize congressional communications that pander religion or show preference for Christianity over other religions or religion over non-religion.
Franking law "prohibits the use of the Frank for any card or message expressing holiday greetings for any traditional holiday for example, Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving."
Rep. Black stated: "Americans are not simply celebrating 'winter' this December. Rather we are celebrating significant moments in two religions that have fundamentally shaped our nation." Rep. Black is insinuating that all her constituents are of either the Jewish or Christian faith, sending a message of exclusion to everyone else.
The law further dictates: "Comments critical of policy or legislation should not be partisan, politicized or personalized."
Please write a strong letter or email to the Franking Commission in support of Franking rules. Feel free to "CC" Rep. Black and the other members of Congress listed below.
Feel free to write your own message or copy the message below.
"I support the Franking Commission's fair rules barring the use of taxpayer-subsidized resources for holiday or religious greetings, partisan, politicized or personalized messages. Keep religion out of government and keep politicians from pandering or campaigning on the taxpayers' dime."
1309 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-8281
Fax: (202) 225-9957
"CC" your message (or customize one) to:
Rep. Diane Black R-Tenn.
1531 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4231
Fax: (202) 225-6887
Rep. John Boehner R-Ohio
1011 Longworth H.O.B.
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-6205
Fax: (202) 225-0704
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi D-Calif.
235 Cannon HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4965
Rep. Black's LETTER
Wishing You a Merry Christmas... Even if I'm not supposed to
It seems like every year during the holidays, we get reminded of how political correctness has run amok in this country. Recently we had our own example of this in the House of Representatives, when the House Franking Commission sent out a memo to offices regarding holiday greetings.
According to the people at the Franking Commission, Members of Congress cannot wish constituents "Merry Christmas" in any official mailing. In fact, no mention of a specific holiday is allowed. When I heard this, I was outraged. The Franking Commission exists to ensure that resources used in each Representative’s office—from letters to emails and official communications—are used for informing constituents of important matters and that Members are not using taxpayer dollars for political purposes. It is not their job to police the greetings that Members use in their correspondence or to enforce political correctness. How is wishing constituents a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” a political message that is banned, while “have a happy new year” is permitted?
Americans are not simply celebrating “winter” this December. Rather, we are celebrating significant moments in two religions that have fundamentally shaped our nation. Recently, I joined Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IL) in sending a bipartisan letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) along with House Administration Chairman Dan Lungren (R-CA) and Ranking Member Robert Brady (D-PA) asking them to revise these unnecessary rules.
And going beyond the Franking Commission fight, I am cosponsoring H.Res. 489, legislation that reaffirms the significance of Christmas symbols and traditions—protecting your ability to display your beliefs and holiday spirit this season through publicly displays like Christmas trees and nativity scenes while strongly disapproving of any attempt to ban references to Christmas in the public sphere.
Faith and religion has shaped our great country and I believe should be celebrated and freely expressed. President John Adams said it best, “Statesmen may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.” The House of Representatives must set an example for the rest of the nation that everyone should be allowed to express their feelings when it comes to the holiday season without fear of having to be politically correct.
And with that, allow me to wish you all from the bottom of my heart a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a blessed New Year!
Member of Congress