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How the Fed (Almost) Stole Christmas?

One might think that the Federal Reserve is busy enough with bailing out foreign banks, monetizing federal debt, and inflating — er, quantitatively easing — the dollar into oblivion, but apparently that is not the case. The unconstitutional institution somehow found time to micromanage the décor of an Oklahoma bank in an effort to prevent the bank’s customers from being confronted with evidence that the upcoming holiday has anything at all to do with a birth in Bethlehem 2,010 years ago.

According to Oklahoma City’s KOCO-TV, examiners from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City descended upon the unsuspecting Payne County Bank in Perkins, Oklahoma, to see to it that the bank was complying with the Fed’s innumerable regulations. Deciding that expressing religious sentiments of any kind in relation to a certain December holiday could “express, imply or suggest a discriminatory preference or policy of exclusion,” a violation of the “discouragement clause” of Regulation B, the examiners ordered the bank to remove tellers’ buttons depicting Mary cradling the baby Jesus with the message “Merry Christmas — God With Us,” crosses, the “Bible Verse of the Day” (both in the bank and on its website), and even Thomas Kinkade paintings.

The American Family Association, which supplied the buttons, reports that the Fed examiners actually threatened to file a complaint with the Justice Department if the bank did not submit to their edicts. Tim Wildmon, president of the AFA, accurately described this as “threaten[ing] employees with prosecution ... for exercising their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and religion,” which he argued “is flatly illegal, heavy-handed, and sounds more like something you’d read about in Communist China.”

Wildmon further contended that the Fed itself is violating the discouragement clause: “How much more discriminatory can you get than telling private employees of a privately owned bank what they can wear in their own building? The people who are guilty of a ‘policy of exclusion’ here are the petty little tyrants from the Federal Reserve.”

The Fed, by the way, is officially a private bank, not a government agency. Where does it get the authority to boss around other private institutions anyway?

Furthermore, what are the odds that someone was truly offended by the bank’s displays of Christian themes related to Christmas? A recent Rasmussen poll found that 92 percent of American adults celebrate Christmas in their family, and of those, 65 percent regard it as a religious holiday. In addition, 69 percent of adults prefer that stores post signs saying “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays,” according to the survey, and “very few” are offended when someone wishes them a merry Christmas. Besides, if someone really is offended by the displays, he can always take his business to another bank.

The good news is that the public outcry over this abuse of power has resulted in a temporary reprieve for the bank. Between the attention drawn to the story on the Internet and a joint letter from Sen. James Inhofe and Rep. Frank Lucas — Oklahoma Republicans who had been contacted by the bank — to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, the central bank was forced to back down for now and permit the Christian displays. Payne County Bank President Lynn Kinder said that he was informed of this decision in a December 16 telephone call with the second-in-command at the Fed. In a statement on the matter he explained that the Fed allowed the bank “to restore our Christian display of items and verses … until a final determination is made.” That leaves open the possibility that the Fed could still infringe on the bank’s rights in the future, though that is less likely given the now-high profile of the case.

What, then, can we make of all this? Possibly the Fed’s action was part of a master plan to stamp out Christmas. On the other hand, perhaps the Fed, the world’s leading issuer of fiat (unbacked) paper money, is just irked that the Wise Men brought gold rather than Federal Reserve Notes.

Who's right?


Asked by goodwitch399 at 9:42 PM on Dec. 19, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 26 (28,255 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (36)
  • I read about this. It is my understanding they even made an employee remove her cross necklace. This is beyond ridiculous.

    I know from personal experience the feds can be really heavy handed during a bank examination. Our dept was undergoing an exam when I was a trust officer. I returned to my office from a meeting to find one of the guys going through my purse! He had gotten into my desk drawer, removed the purse and was literally going through it! I looked at him and said, "if you need a tampon we have some under the sink in the bathroom." He turned bright red, shoved the purse back in the drawer and walked out of my office. IMO this was really out of line.

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 10:20 PM on Dec. 19, 2010

  • Christians as any other religion~ have a right to express their religion. JS, what if an employee was wearing an burqa/ niqab/etc.... It is a garmet worn to represent the Islamic culture as translated in the Quran... Religious Expression-cross vs burqa. Which is it? Should the Feds not allow employees to wear burqas?

    Answer by grlygrlz2 at 2:08 AM on Dec. 20, 2010

  • "Stamp out Christmas" sounds accurate to me!  Good grief YSK, that is absurd!!!

    I am STILL trying to understand why it's AOKAY for this administration to discriminate against the MAJORITY of it's citizens! confused

    That is all they have done since they TOOK office and they just keep on trying to TAKE ADVANTAGE of US...


    Answer by agentwanda at 11:09 PM on Dec. 19, 2010

  • I think the new Congress plans to investigate the Fed and about time. There is far too much power invested in the Fed and they are removed from the checks and balances we have in all other parts of the government. The Fed needs an audit.

    Answer by annabarred at 10:51 PM on Dec. 19, 2010

  • Fortunately we will have Ron Paul overseeing the fed soon.

    Answer by Carpy at 11:01 PM on Dec. 19, 2010

  • If I was a bank teller, I would have told the agents to "go pound sand," and if they tried to physically take those things off of me, I'd brake their fingers.

    Answer by -Eilish- at 11:11 PM on Dec. 19, 2010

  • YourSpecial, I'd vote you up ten times if I could! What an awesome way to put someone in his place.

    Answer by Farmlady09 at 11:16 PM on Dec. 19, 2010

  • because this is a violation of "Christians" rights and oversteps the authority of Government


    ^^^ THIS!!!

    Socialists will never understand, because they relish in the idea of someone else doing the thinking for them! :o)

    Answer by LoriKeet at 7:36 AM on Dec. 20, 2010

  • It makes me wonder just what we would be able to accomplish if we didn't spend so much time being offended by things that don't really matter to us. I am not Jewish, but if I were shopping and someone told me Happy Hanukkah I would say it right back to them because that's what they are happy about. Obviously, it doesn't hurt me to say it even if I don't celebrate it. I could even ignore it and not work myself into an offended frenzy over it. If it isn't clearly violating any laws then why try to be offended over things like this? As usual, tolerance is a one way street.  The fed makes a habit of overstepping it's authority, this doesn't surprise me at all.


    Answer by QuinnMae at 8:37 AM on Dec. 20, 2010

  • Based on my knowledge about reg B (used to work for a bank holding company) and recent quotes I've read, I don't think it applies to the employees personal effects (e.g. jewelry, buttons, etc.). I would question whether having Bible verses (or any promotion of one religion over others) may be a violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act if some customers might think they wouldn't have a fair chance of getting credit at that bank. Sounds like there needs to be some clarifications made in reg B either by the Feds or by court decision if it comes to that at some point.

    Personally, I don't care if my bank has Christmas or other holiday decorations, and I don't care if my bank teller is wearing a cross necklace or has something he/she finds inspiration on their desk. I would wonder if I would be treatied fairly if the entire bank was covered in a particular religions symbols and quotes and no others.

    Answer by pam19 at 8:23 AM on Dec. 20, 2010