President Barack Obama’s Department of Veterans Affairs has banned employees at its facility in Salem, Virginia, from saying “Merry Christmas” to veterans.
It started as a broader ban that included Christmas trees. Federal law recognizes Christmas as an official federal holiday (5 U.S.C. § 6103) and provides federal employees with a paid day off to celebrate the Christian belief in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.
Every year, a White House Christmas Tree and a Capitol Christmas Tree grace those two respective buildings in Washington D.C., and a National Christmas Tree is also officially lighted outdoors for the public to enjoy during that time of year.
Yet the “Executive Leadership Team” at the Salem VA Medical Center banned Christmas trees, as well as other Christian speech and celebrations. As reported by local media, an email sent by senior staff to the center’s employees reads in part:
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