FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Contact: Dave Welch
Houston, TX – A trans-denominational, multi-ethnic coalition of pastors in cities across Texas is asking all thirty two Texas U.S. Representatives to support a rule change that would reverse a long standing prohibition on any mention of holidays in their “franked” mailings or other official communications from their office. The Franking Commission has interpreted a 1974 code very broadly and some Congressmen are now asking for change.
“Section 3210 (a)(5)(B)(iii) appears to have clearly been focused solely on avoiding the use of tax dollars to send holiday cards. To extend it to any and all mention of holidays in every and all forms of official communication is absurd,” stated Texas Pastor Council Executive Director Dave Welch. “While there are many more critical issues to which our Congress should be devoting their time and attention, to censor our elected representatives from expressing a simple reference to anything from Christmas to Memorial Day is irrational.”
Welch pointed out the hypocrisy in the federal government recognizing official holidays while telling those charged with oversight of that same government they cannot even mention them. “Federal law (5 U.S.C. 6103) establishes ten public holidays for Federal employees, including Christmas Day. While a case might be made to avoid using tax dollars to send Christmas cards to constituents, there is no constitutional or reasonable defense for completely censoring the mention of that or any other holiday in any and all communications,” he asserted.
The pastors also raised the issue that only two of the federal holidays have any connection to religion so this policy of censorship is either direct hostility toward religion and the others are simply “collateral damage”, or this is simply a case of bureaucracy overreaching its original intent. “We believe that this horse can and should be put back in the barn by either the return to the original purpose of the statute or the Franking Commission reversing their interpretation and allowing Congressmen to communicate freely with those who elected them as does the U.S. Senate,” Welch said in closing.
The Texas Pastor Council is a trans-denominational, multi-ethnic coalition of pastor councils in cities throughout the state of Texas who serve to bring a united, Biblical voice to spiritual, social, moral and political issues.