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Contact: Cindy Roberts
December 17, 2010
Federal Reserve bans AFA Christmas buttons in outrageous display of religious bigotry
 The Federal Reserve has banned employees of the Payne County Bank in Perkins, Oklahoma, from wearing the American Family Association’s Christmas buttons. The buttons say “Merry Christmas - God with us” and show an image of Mary cradling the infant Jesus.

What’s worse, Federal Reserve examiners told bank managers that if employees did not remove the buttons, a complaint would be filed with the Department of Justice.

Not only were the Christmas buttons banned, but all religious imagery, including picture frames with Bible verses and crosses on them and paintings by artist Thomas Kinkade, had to be removed from view under threat of prosecution. The bank was forced to remove its daily Bible verse from its website.

Tim Wildmon, the president of AFA, said, “This is both absurd and tyrannical. Christmas is an official national holiday. Telling a privately owned bank it cannot show any images of Christ in connection with this holiday is no different than telling the bank it can’t show images of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in connection with President’s Day.

“For bureaucrats of the central government to threaten employees with prosecution by the Department of Justice for exercising their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and religion is flatly illegal, heavy-handed, and sounds more like something you’d read about in Communist China.

“Every check that passes through that bank is dated from the birth of Jesus Christ. It is positively un-American for these examiners to muscle and threaten American citizens into forfeiting their God-given and inalienable rights to free expression.

“We are asking the Federal Reserve to publicly rebuke these out-of-control bureaucrats, and further, we are insisting that they be sent to sensitivity training so that they do not repeat this display of outrageous religious bigotry.”

Further, the AFA suggests that the Federal Reserve is violating its own standards, which prohibit the “use of words” to “express, imply or suggest a discriminatory preference or policy of exclusion.”

Said Wildmon, “How much more discriminatory can you get than telling private employees of a privately owned bank what they can wear in their own building? The people who are guilty of a ‘policy of exclusion’ here are the petty little tyrants from the Federal Reserve.”

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