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WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 03:  U.S. President Barack Obama greets Santa Claus during the annual National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at the Ellipse December 3, 2009 in Washington, DC. Lighting the National Christmas Tree is a yearly tradition for the President of the United State during the holiday season.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 03: U.S. President Barack Obama greets Santa Claus during the annual National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at the Ellipse December 3, 2009 in Washington, DC. Lighting the National Christmas Tree is a yearly tradition for the President of the United State during the holiday season. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)  

A retreat in the War on Christmas: School admits error in forcing student group to sell ‘holiday’ trees

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

The Grinch is being kept at bay this Christmas, at least in Morganton, North Carolina.

A Western Piedmont Community College student club is now back to selling “Christmas trees,” instead of “holiday trees,” after officials changed the word “Christmas” to “holiday” in announcements and advertisements for the student-run Building Energy Sustainable Technology Society charity tree sale.

Tuesday, the religious legal group Alliance Defending Freedom wrote a letter to the school on behalf of the club detailing how the censorship of the student’s words constituted a violation of their rights.

“The censorship of the BEST Society’s message, and the requirement that its advertisements use the phrase ‘holiday tree’ rather than Christmas Tree, is a violation of the constitutional rights of the club members,” the letter read in part and noted that the club had already heard of adverse effects to tree sales due to the word change.

According to the ADF, when the club inquired about the change, a school official explained that they “cannot market your trees in association solely with a Christian event.”

Wednesday morning, after the school had received the letter, WPCC announced on its website “WPCC Club Sells Christmas Trees!!”

ADF legal counsel Matt Sharp told The Daily Caller that late Tuesday the school sent the ADF a fax explaining that they had “committed an error in doing this and that they were going to take steps to immediately remedy it.”

“They had been under the impression that the law required them to censor the word Christmas and that our letter offered clarification that just the opposite was true, that they have to respect the rights of the club and its members to sell these Christmas trees and to call it a Christmas tree sale,” Sharp explained.

Sharp praised the school for its quick acquiescence to their letter.

“A lot of times this gets dragged out for months, things like this. Christmas is over before it is even resolved. It is refreshing to see a university doing the right thing here,” Sharp added.

A WPCC spokesperson added to TheDC that the school is in “full support” of the BEST Society students selling Christmas trees.

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