Members of Congress are not allowed to use federal resources to send religious holiday greetings to their constituents, so Republican Rep. Scott Rigell decided to engage in some tongue-in-cheek disobedience, sending his constituents a holiday greetings video making fun of the fact that Hanukkah and Christmas had become offending terms.
Entitled, “Merry _____ and Happy ______ from Rep. Scott Rigell,” the video features Rigell in his office, decorated with Christmas stockings and a giant blow up Snoopy wearing a Santa hat and holding a Christmas tree, lamenting the fact that he can’t give his constituents the seasons greetings he would like.
“You may have seen on Fox News the guidance that members of Congress have received about what we can and can’t say about the holidays. And it’s really deflated, I think, the whole spirit of the season,” he says, as the Snoopy deflates behind him.
“We’re not able to say to our Jewish friends what we’d like to say,” he continues, moving in front of a picture of a menorah on a laptop screen, “and we’re not able to say what I’ve said all my life, since a child,” he says as two aides walk behind him holding signs that say “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukkah.”
“But, you know, as I think about what the guidance is that I’ve been given, and try to reconcile that with some very important documents,” Rigell says, standing in front of a framed copy of the Constitution, “I find myself coming to this conclusion: That it’s good and proper and right and constitutional for me to look into the camera and say … Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, and wonderful and sincere holiday greetings from all of us.”
The guidance Rigell is referring to is a December 12 memo from the Franking Commission Staff which told members of Congress that “Members are unable at the current time to use official resources to record holiday greetings, post on social media/website, or send constituents in franked mail [postal-stamped] or e-communications,” as the Washington Examiner reported.
“Representative Rigell likes to speak directly to the people of the second district via video quite a lot. In fact, we’ve made more than 100 videos this year. This one happened to strike a chord, and rightly so,” emailed Kim Mosser Knapp, Rigell’s Communications Director. “This nation is facing a lot of challenges right now. The last thing Congress needs to be doing is telling its Members that we can’t say Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah.”