Knights of Columbus project keeps Christ in ChristmasThe Knights of Columbus Council 4243 in St. Clairsville , Ohio has launched a pilot project designed to encourage all Christians to help keep Christ in Christmas. The effort is part of a national, Knights of Columbus program which has been adapted by the local council and is being used in various other U.S. communities.According to John Swan, Grand Knight of K of C Council 4243 in St. Clairsville, which serves St. Mary's Church, the simple project consists of a colorful, Christmas badge which reads, "It's OK To Say Merry Christmas to Me," which will be handed out to parishioners at all Masses between now and Christmas.According to Swan, the effort helps counter the always active, non- Christian pressure of recent decades to have Christ and God removed from virtually every traditional aspect of our daily lives. "Picking up on an idea from a recent local editorial, our council thought the 'It's OK to Say Merry Christmas To Me' badges was a good idea and decided to quickly raise funds and order badges in time to be used by the members of St. Mary's Parish in the weeks before Christmas," said Swan, adding that the badges arrived in time for last weekend's Masses. "The response has been so overwhelming that we ran out of badges and are getting calls about the program from other churches and individuals around the Ohio Valley," said Swan. Project chairman, Marty Schumacher, Council Trustee said that the K of C "Keep Christ in Christmas" Program was started in 1989 in Connecticut and has since developed various projects and promotional items. Those wishing to get their church group involved can contact the national Web site, to learn of the many promotional items available." Today the fear of not being politically correct has become a useful tool through which many non-Christians persist in trying to take Christ out of Christmas and God out of everything else," said Schumacher. "Long-gone are the Hollywood-made, wholesome Christmas movies of the 40's. Today, department store clerks are afraid to say Merry Christmas for fear of getting reprimanded, if not fired. The world has been way out of balance for some time. Considering that about 86 percent of Americans are Christian, it's amazing how passive we've become," he added.For more information about starting your own program, contact John Swan at 695-0366 or Marty Schumacher 782-1235.Photo Caption: Shown displaying the newly arrived badges reading, "It's OK to say Merry Christmas to me" is Father Thomas Chillog, Pastor of St. Mary's Parish in St. Clairsville. On either side of him are two members of Knights of Columbus Council 4243. At left is Marty Schumacher, council trustee and program chairman. At right is John Swan, Council Grand Knight.