THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
BRANSON — City leaders will vote next week on whether the southwestern Missouri resort town officially supports celebrating Christmas.
The resolution proposed Wednesday by two members of the Branson Board of Aldermen would call on businesses to use decorations and otherwise support what it calls a traditional American Christmas.
It also would state the Board of Aldermen's support for the celebration of Christmas.
Stephen Marshall, one of the sponsors, said visitors came to Branson for Christmas and expected to see it celebrated.
"My feeling is that we do stand by the marketing of Ozark Mountain Christmas, and we do pull people in. We pull lots of people in," board member Sandra Williams said. "I feel like if we are going to market it that we almost owe them what they expect when they get here."
The city's attorney, Paul Link, told the board that passing such a measure might open the city up to a lawsuit.
Link said he was advised by the Missouri Municipal League that the resolution could violate the First Amendment of the Constitution, which says the government can't pass laws favoring a particular religion.
The resolution would urge businesses "to try to keep the word and spirit of 'Christmas' in Christmas and to foster the history and heritage of the traditional American Christmas in Branson, Missouri."
Another section of the resolution reads: "The Board of Aldermen also hereby encourages all businesses and residents of Branson to show their support by the displaying of Christmas decorations during Branson's Ozark Mountain Christmas to ensure that all visitors experience the old-fashioned Christmas they imagined."
Due to the potential repurcussions of such action I'm refraining from commenting in this post and will provide a detailed analysis shortly.