Here is a separation of church and state question to ponder 12 days before Christmas: Should carolers be allowed to belt tunes inside a post office?
In Silver Spring, the answer is: No.
The Internet is bursting with reports of carolers who were summarily tossed out of a post office in the Aspen Hill Shopping Center this past weekend. J.P. Duffy, who works for the Family Research Council, a conservative advocacy group, witnessed the toss out and blogged about it.
Describing the scene, Duffy wrote: “The gentleman of the group wore a top hat and the ladies were arrayed with shawls and bonnets. Dickens would be proud.”
Duffy continued: “They were only a few notes into their carol when suddenly, out of the corner of my eye I saw a scowling postal manager rushing to confront the carolers. He angrily told them that they had to leave immediately because they were ‘violating the post office’s policy against solicitation.’”
The manager was booed. Still, out went the carolers.
I have reached out to postal officials for an explanation. Meanwhile, a Postal Service spokesman told Fox News that “Public assembly and public address, except when conducted or sponsored by the Postal Service, are prohibited in lobbies and other interior areas open to the public.”
He added, “The only reason you should be inside is for postal business.”
A Postal Service spokesman just got back to me, echoing the statement to Fox News and adding, “the carolers were asked to conduct their caroling in a public area on the sidewalk in front of the Post Office. We apologize for any misunderstanding.”
Do you agree?