House approves Christmas resolution; 9 opposed

WASHINGTON (BP)--The House of Representatives approved a resolution Dec. 11 acknowledging the significance of Christmas and Christianity.

The roll call was 372-9 for passage. The resolution's sponsor expressed astonishment over the "no" votes. Rep. Steve King, R.-Iowa, said he could not understand how members of Congress could vote against the measure after the House approved without opposition similar resolutions honoring observances of Islam and Hinduism.

Among its resolutions, King's measure recognized Christianity as "one of the great religions of the world," expressed support for Christians in this country and other countries, acknowledged the "international religious and historical significance of Christmas and the Christian faith" and renounced persecution against Christians in this country and around the world.

Ten representatives voted "present," and 40 did not vote on King's resolution.

The House had voted 376-0 for an Oct. 2 measure that expressed some of the same sentiments toward Muslims that King's resolution did toward Christians. It also recognized Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting. That roll call included 42 members voting "present" and 14 not voting.

On Oct. 29, representatives voted 358-0 for a resolution that honored Diwali, the Indian festival of lights that is celebrated by Hindus, as well as Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. The roll call showed eight members voting "present" and 66 not voting.

"I would like to know how they could vote 'yes' on Islam, 'yes' on the Indian religions and 'no' on Christianity when the foundation of this nation and our American culture is Christianity.... I think there's an assault on Christianity," King told Fox News, according to a release from his office.

Of the nine representatives, all Democrats, who voted against the Christmas resolution, seven supported both the Ramadan and Diwali measures. Those seven were Reps. Gary Ackerman and Yvette Clarke, both of New York; Diana DeGette of Colorado; Jim McDermott of Washington; Bobby Scott of Virginia; and Pete Stark and Lynn Woolsey, both of California. Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida did not vote on the Diwali resolution, and Rep. Barbara Lee failed to record a vote on the Ramadan measure.


Tom Strode is the Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.