The argument over whether to say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" on Dec. 25 has been going on for years, but one group reportedly made an official decision on the matter: The U.S. Army.
Fox News released a report on Christmas Eve saying a group of soldiers at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Miss., were told they were not allowed to say the word "Christmas."
The report said the soldiers were banned from saying the word by an equal opportunity officer from the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute two weeks ago. During the meeting at the 158th Infantry Brigade, soldiers were discussing an upcoming Christmas football game when the officer said not to use the word, according to conservative Fox columnist Todd Starnes.
"'Our equal opportunity representative stopped the briefing and told us that we can’t say Christmas,' the soldier told me," Starnes wrote. “'Almost the entire room blew up. Everybody was frustrated. The equal opportunity rep told our commander that not everyone celebrates Christmas and we couldn’t say 'Christmas celebration'. It had to be holiday celebration.'”
Starnes said the soldier was told "an individual can say Christmas, but as an organization in the Army you can’t say Christmas."
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However, the Army is claiming there is no ban on the word "Christmas," but rather the officer at the 158th Infantry Brigade was just giving a suggestion.
“There is no policy at the 158th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division East or First Army that forbids using the word ‘Christmas’,” Public Affairs Chief Amanda Glenn told Fox News. "The Equal Opportunity advisor simply stated that it would be more appropriate to call it a holiday football event."
However, an attorney representing the soldier, whose name was not released, said the Army did tell soldiers not to use the word.
"She stated that the word Christmas had to be replaced with the word holiday," Liberty Institute attorney Michael Berry told Fox. "They’re treating Christmas like it’s pornography. As a matter of fact, the Army actually treats pornography better than it does Christmas.”