SANTA FE, N.M., Dec. 8 (UPI) -- A Republican New Mexico state senator is contacting every state school district to "remind them ... the name Jesus can and should be mentioned in public schools."
Sen. Joe Carraro of Albuquerque told the Santa Fe New Mexican he wanted to impress on the boards "instead of taking Christ out of Christmas, schools are encouraged to keep him and Christmas in public schools."
Carraro said he made the decision after seeing several television news features about efforts to remove religious aspects of Christmas celebrations in schools.
In 1994, Carraro was the prime sponsor of Senate Memorial 83, which said Jesus' name should "be included in any comprehensive study of history." The memorial also noted "it is permissible to mention the name Jesus of Nazareth in the public schools in the state of New Mexico."
His move prompted an immediate response from Peter Simonson, executive director of the state branch of the American Civil Liberties Union.
"Certainly schools can teach about Christ and his effect on Western civilization," Simonson said. "But equally, students should be informed about Mohammed and Buddha and Friedrich Nietzsche."