Optimistically Cautious

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Grinch in Seattle

Over the weekend, officials at a Washington airport decided to dismantle their holiday displays. From the Seattle Times:

"The airport managers ordered the plastic trees removed and boxed up after a rabbi asked to have an 8-foot-tall menorah displayed next to the largest tree in the international arrival hall. Port of Seattle staff felt adding the menorah would have required adding symbols for other religions and cultures in the Northwest, said Terri-Ann Betancourt, the airport's spokeswoman. The holidays are the busiest season at the airport, she said, and staff didn't have time to play cultural anthropologists."

The rabbi isn't to blame in this situation, as he apparently just wanted to "add light to the season," not create another controversy during the already hyper-politically correct "winter festival."

I mean, I don't personally mind using "holiday celebration" in place of "Christmas," but having to eliminate images, images many consider secular and representative of the season as a whole to begin with, is another issue. I even know someone who was requested to replace a picture of a Christmas tree with a "non-denominational snowman" on a company publication a few weeks ago.

As gleaned from the above article, I think the U.S. Supreme Court has it right: "Christmas trees can be secular symbols if they are not part of a religious-themed display." It's a tree. Just let it go.


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