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Christmas greeting – or call to convert? GOP lawmaker’s Christmas message causing controversy

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WAUKESHA -- A Christmas greeting -- or a call to convert? A recorded Christmas message from a Waukesha Republican state representative is causing some to argue it's a violation of the separation between church and state.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison believes Rep. Scott Allen (R-Waukesha) shouldn't have emailed and recorded his message using state equipment.

Allen says his intention is peace, and hope.

It's not uncommon for lawmakers to send out Christmas greetings to constituents.

In his Christmas Day 2013 message, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama even directly referenced their faith.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama Christmas 2013 message

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama Christmas 2013 message

But some believe a video by Rep. Allen crosses a line. Not because of the Christmas theme, but because of Allen's religious call to action.

"For those who may watch this who are not Christians, I invite you to consider the hope offered by the Prince of Peace," Allen says in the video.

Rep. Scott Allen

Rep. Scott Allen

"It`s just inappropriate," Annie Laurie Gaylor said.

Gaylor is the co-president of the Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation.

She says her office has already received a complaint from one of Allen's constituents.

In a letter sent out on Christmas Eve, those with her group are calling on Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) to investigate the issue further.

"They`re not supposed to tell us what to believe and what church to go to and how to be saved," Gaylor said.

Annie Laurie Gaylor

Annie Laurie Gaylor

Gaylor is also criticizing Allen for recording and emailing the message using state equipment.

When asked whether she sees this as an issue of separation between church and state, Allen said: "Well, I`m not quite sure. My church wasn`t involved at all in the production of that video."

Allen says the reaction he has received from constituents has been positive.

Fellow Republicans, like Assembly Minority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) backed Allen on social media. Allen didn't directly answer whether his remarks are a call to convert non-Christians, but he maintains that his faith defines him as a person and a leader.

Assembly Minority Leader Jim Steineke

Assembly Minority Leader Jim Steineke

"It is by definition who I am. It is inseparable from me. If people of the 97th District don`t like that, then they have a choice to make," Allen said.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Tuesday, December 29th that Allen used the Assembly's studio in the state Capitol and state equipment to produce the video. Vos said he thinks the message is appropriate and people are making too much of it.

Allen's video was uploaded to the Wisconsin Assembly Republicans YouTube channel, where it has received mixed reviews from users, and about 450 views as of Thursday night.


  • Belowme

    Really, one complaint? Get a life Gaylor and i hope you and your family aren’t celebrating christmas, no gifts for you or your family. I bet you bombard the airwaves with anti religion propaganda all the time, hypocrite.

  • Michael Neals

    I cannot help but think that if a non-christian professed their faith etc. and a CHRISTIAN complained, the christian would be prosecuted for a hate crime toward the professing non-christian. It is free speech, an opinion, a proclamation of his/her own. Don’t like it-change the channel, turn it off. Do NOT silence it. By silencing no one is given the opportunity to choose. And if you choose not to decide you still have made a choice. ;)

    • RB

      Profess your faith in the supernatural on your own dime. Not with our taxes funding your personal beliefs; not in our tax funded public schools, offices, parks, capitals, or social media. …It is offensive to proselytize the public with your personal religious beliefs by piggy-backing on our government venues–being fundamentally against our law. Balking and ranting, calling foul, should others with sincerely held beliefs object on the basis that the existence of your religious supernatural otherworld–is not at all natural, not at all grounded in reality, nor appropriate for government endorsements. You are free to practice your religion in this country, and you are not free to practice it on me, my family, or friends.

      If you think your religion gives you the right, to subvert and supersede our secular law, you are wrong. It is my right to call you out for every abuse of our government venues to express your personal Christian beliefs, exclusionary to all others. And until you cease and desist doing so, you are free to whine and demean others with conflicting beliefs, and a better understanding of our law. I get the impression from these social venues, that some of the “faith” would seriously like to resurrect the Christian blasphemy laws that ended as late as the early 20th century, and reinstitute the inquisition, and fortunately nature has a way of evolving life, even beyond the supernaturalism fantasized by the minds of some humans.

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