December 10, 2006
Oy Vey! That "War On Christmas!"

First of all, MERRY CHRISTMAS! Happy Hanukkah! May God grant you many blessings, including the ability to breathe deeply and keep calm. Because....Seattle finds itself Exhibit A in the purported "War On Christmas." The Port of Seattle removed Christmas trees at SeaTac Airport after a rabbi requested a secular (lightbulb-laden) menorah be added. It was all too much for the flustered Port. Sheesh. Lame-o, I know. But here's my advice for disappointed conservatives. Be self-sufficient. Don't count on large institutions such as government or corporations to satisfy your religious sensibilities. Put a Nativity Scene on your lawn and invite a Muslim family for Christmas dinner. Have some eggnog; go to church; give a prayer of thanks for your personal freedoms; help the needy; have some more eggnog. FYI: Exactly FOUR people attended the second annual "Saving Christmas" Rally at Westlake Plaza yesterday (see second link, above).

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at December 10, 2006 10:00 AM | Email This
Comments
1. Those on the left who deny that there is a "war on Christmas" need only read the Times article. Most of us will live long enough, I expect, to see Democrats attempt either by legislation or lawsuit to have Christmas removed as a national holiday.

Yesterday's P-I had the weekly "Horsey's Burning Questions" feature...this week entitled, "Holiday consumerism brings little joy". Following were a smattering of letters from angry liberals decrying greed and consumerism run rampant. I found those letters to be terribly sad. It must be awful to be so miserable at this time of year.
When I think about Christmas I don't remember what presents I got. I think about family and friends and big dinners with lots of laughter. My advice: give to charity if you can, put up some lights, have some eggnog, listen to some Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, and Dean Martin. Be thankful for family and friends past and present. You'll feel better.

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on December 10, 2006 10:26 AM
2. I never really go the desire of Christians to have the State celebrate their religion for them. From my readings of the bible, Christ did not seem to big on government involvement in religion. Hell, this Country was founded by people fleeing state run religion. Private individuals are complete free to celebrate and the state can put up secular symbols. They can even set up holiday zones in parks were people can come and set up displays.

All this gibberish about a war on Christmas just discourages secular people like myself from wanting any part of the damn holiday. What should be a time for family, friends, festivities, and if you so choose faith, has become yet another nonsensical battle in the culture war. From the stupid debate over happy holidays vs. Merry Christmas (its a holiday too morons) to Christians wanting giant nativities at the capital the beauty of the season has been overshadowed by single minded zealots.

And the port should have just put up the Menorah

Posted by: Giffy on December 10, 2006 10:36 AM
3. I think that either the rabbi or sea-tac airport should be threatened to be sued in order to KEEP the christmas trees at sea-tac. This is the only way to fight back...nutcases always threaten to sue..and this always stops tradition. So the only real way to counteract these actions (and nutcases)..is to act as stupid as them and threaten to sue them if they sue whoever they want to sue...in this case sea-tac airport.this is the only real way isn't it?? tell me...what would work otherwise??

Posted by: elisloew on December 10, 2006 10:39 AM
4. The rabbi is a fool for equating a pre-Christian druidic fertility symbol with a menorah, which is a central icon of the Judaic faith.

The Sea-Tac authorities are fools for not realizing this obvious fact, and having the courage to take this misguided man to court and exposing him for the bigot he is.

Sound Politics is foolish for defending, in any way, the obvious insult to the spirit of good will that was perpetrated by the rabbi, the airport board, and other all other intolerant ignoramuses, be they private or public.

This is not the time to lighten up when our traditions and values are insulted by bigotry and ignorance. It is, rather, the time to cry, with one voice, "Enough"!

What a disgraceful episode for Seattle.

Posted by: Rey Smith on December 10, 2006 10:46 AM
5. So Giffy,

Is it the nuts that want to change the tradition, that in some cases is decades or more long or the ones who are upset every time someone sues to try and REMOVE the displays that you are upset about? Isn't it the ones who try and mandate the removal of the words that were the tradional greeting for the particular holiday the zealots you are concerned about?

The question is, why IS there a culture war today, and who started it? Is it the case that any time someone wants to silence a Christian response one only has to call them zealots for being upset over something? Do you believe that only CHristians are the ones who aren't allowed to be upset?

And as far as the comment discourages secular people like myself from wanting any part of the damn holiday Not to be crass, but what does that matter to me or anyone else for that matter. Celebrate or not, no one is making you.

Can we finally get over the difference between a state that acknowledges a faith that is sahred by a vast majority of the population verses a mandated adherence? You should by now know that state run religion is not what a Christmas tree represents, or even the words Merry Christmas spoken by a person employed by any government entity, and you should also know that the founders never had ANY problem with religious influence in the FEDERAL government nor the STATE religion of the various STATES in the union.

The battle today has always been one of attack by the secularist, reaction by the Christian, and the subsequent labeling of the Christian as "creating" a problem by their reaction.

Seems to me the the motto of the secularist is "the only good Christian is a silent one."

Think about it: Why are the complainers of Christianity given a pass and the Christians vilified in the "culture war"? Christianity IS a part of our culture. Maybe we should just remove ALL cultural differences and be generic people. We would all be happy then.

Posted by: Eyago on December 10, 2006 11:19 AM
6. Are the bureaucrats so brain dead that they cannot walk and chew gum at the same time? I have responded to numerous anti-Christian diatribes at this site. If fact, the current poster referred to Evangelicals as "cheap dates." I have an idea that there might be more than a little anti-Chrisitan sentiment here. Now, with that said, I have no problem with a Menorah along side a Christmas tree. For those who have actually read the Bible, Jesus was a Jew. What about the Muslim symbol, the Crescent, I believe, no problem with that either. What about the Druids, you say, don't know what their symbol is. No problem with that either. My Christian faith is strong enough to let others believe what they want. Dumb bureaucrats.

Posted by: WVH on December 10, 2006 11:20 AM
7. I caught this on the news last night, and I'm mystified that it's such a big deal. On the one hand, the Christmas tree, as Rey Smith pointed out, isn't a Christian symbol (you can blame the Germans for the tradition, by the way), and on the other hand, I don't see what's so troublesome about putting a menorah up.

The whole point of being a nation with a rich and diverse culture (note that's singular) is that we can have those cultural and religious symbols co-existing without everyone getting flustered over it. Personally, I take my own exposure to other traditions as an opportunity to learn more about my neighbors. I honestly don't understand why that's so difficult for some people on all sides of the debate.

Posted by: Nathan Azinger on December 10, 2006 11:30 AM
8. Eyago,

I have no problem with Christmas trees, and neither does any of the liberal I know. I like them in fact. However when another faith asks for inclusion they should be included. In the case of the port the suite was NOT to remove the christmas trees, but to include a menorah, and it was suggested only after the port stalled.

I also don't have a problem with Merry Christmas, and really can't recall a movement of any veracity to get rid of it. Many corps one their own, moved to happy holidays, and many have been saying it for years. I am sure you remember phrases like 'holiday season', 'the holidays' etc, from years gone past. From the end of November to the 1st of January there are no fewer then 3 national holidays and a spattering of others. What is so offensive about including all of them in your greeting. Want to say Merry Christmas go ahead, trust me no one cares, but if some wants to say happy holidays leave them alone.

Don't believe me, just do a search for boycotts organized around Christmas and Christmas greetings.

The bulk of the rhetoric surrounding this nonsense comes form the far religious right who creates straw men to scare the masses in to tho thinking Christmas will be banned. The funny thing is the only time Christmas was actually banned, it was the Christians doing the banning.

And WVH, great point. I have found that when when the error is on the side of inclusiveness, as current Court policy supports, everyone wins.

Posted by: Giffy on December 10, 2006 11:41 AM
9. I did your search, Giffy. Here's a lovely anti-christmas site complete with (surprise!) Soviet Communist style graphics -- http://www.xmasresistance.org/

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on December 10, 2006 11:52 AM
10. Bill,
How about checking out the first couple pages of results for this search.
http://www.google.com/search?q=christmas+boycotts&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a
I wonder who has more influence Falwell and CWFA or some bored college kid with dreamweaver.

Posted by: Giffy on December 10, 2006 12:02 PM
11. What a bunch of nothing. As others have pointed out, the Christmas tree has nothing to do with Christ other than that it was given that symbolic meaning by the Germans, and even that is dubious because many historians believe that Christ was not even born during the winter. But let's be real. For at least the last 60 years, the Christmas tree in the US has been a secular winter holiday symbol that is more about the celebration of our societal success which leaves room for us to have a charitable gift giving ritual at this time of year. If people are that ridiculously offended by a lighted tree, they need a huge amount of humiliation.

I'm appalled because frankly I find Christmas trees to be fun, decorative and festive tradition. Just like eggnog, or gift giving, or taking time out to celebrate with our co-workers, friends and families. There is absolutely nothing scary, religious or exclusive about any of these traditions.

Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky should be extensively ridiculed as a Scrooge and the Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

Posted by: Jeff B. on December 10, 2006 12:08 PM
12. I wonder if a lawsuit to challenge the name change from King County removing the old logo and going to Dr. Martin Luther King County and using his image is in order. Is King County government endorsing the Southern Baptists to the exclusion of the Catholics, Prodestants, Jews, Buddists and Muslims? If we ran an initiative to rename King County to Vatican County and used an image of the Pope would that be a problem?

Posted by: Huh? on December 10, 2006 12:35 PM
13. Israel has few enough friends without this Rabbi's further attacks on this important Christian Holiday. I don't buy his "they overreacted" jive when he was the one that hired an attorney!!!!

Posted by: SeaRep on December 10, 2006 12:36 PM
14. Enough of this already! I refuse to say "happy holidays". I won't buy Christmas trees from the local Catholic church, St. John Vianney, who actually has a sign out advertising their "HOLIDAY TREES" for sale. HOLIDAY TREES for sale at a Catholic churh! The overly politically correct Seatle has gone too far.

Posted by: mimi on December 10, 2006 12:46 PM
15. Giffy,

The secular crowd does not use boycotts, they use sublte terms like "inclusiveness" and other things to say that if you allow any one thing, you then have to include all possible ones or have none or have something "secular". The point is, our founders were never "secular" as we understand it today, and your reference to the founders as a basis for secularizing all government is in error.

WHen traditions are removed it is due to one perosn or organization making some stink about an existing tradition on the basis of "separation" and then geting the government ot back down (or waiting until the ACLU files a law suit.)

But if you want a more local and specific example you can go to the memo by Ron Simms diricting his staff to NOT use the term Merry Christmas, again based on the "inclusiveness" ideology. Being employed by the county should not require someone to leave their "faith" at the door when they go to work. A office clerk saying Merry Christmas is not the same thing as government mandated adherence to a particular religion.

Posted by: Eyago on December 10, 2006 12:55 PM
16. Agree with Mimi. Sometimes PC is just a straight shot to PS or perfectly stupid.

Posted by: WVH on December 10, 2006 12:56 PM
17. Thanks for the advice, Matt... I took it a few years ago. I was determined to fight back against blow-up snowmen (cute, but um, NOT for me), wimpy "Happy Holidays!" (um gee didn't we just recently celebrate Labor Day? My, my how time flies!) and the all too real "war on Christmas, war on Christians).

I looked and looked for weeks.
I became obsessed
I made it my mission to find a NATIVITY for my yard.

I searched all the usual Christmas haunts...
Target: NOPE.
Lowes: NOPE.
Home Depot: NOPE.
Sears: NOPE.
Costco: NOPE.
Kmart: NOPE.
JoAnn Fabrics: NOPE.
Michael's: NOPE.
JC Penney catalog: NOPE.
Sam's Club: NOPE.
Walmart: a provisional YES... provided I wanted this tiny 18" sized Joseph for my front lawn.... I think not. So, NOPE.

FINALLY I found a half life sized set at McClendon Hardware. They still have them AND you can buy the additional individual pieces such as Wisemen, camels, sheep and the star in the east!

I also hunt down religious themed cards ... almost exclusively found at Catholic/Christian stores. How sad.

Now to the IMPORTANT stuff.

I take my eggnog with Kahlua...
or Baileys
or brandy...
or bourbon...
or rum...
or SPICED rum...

Sprinkle a bit of fresh ground nutmeg on that, would you please?

Posted by: Ragnar Danneskold on December 10, 2006 12:59 PM
18. To Bill in #1, yes I agree with you. For us it's about the family traditions and enjoyments. It's nice to see neighbors celbrate too, but I don't expect the government to do anything.

For those who do only see it as a consumption fest that's too bad. They should either ignore the holiday or try starting their own traditions to both look forward to in future and look back on with fondness in the past.

Posted by: ba on December 10, 2006 01:12 PM
19. Eyago,

But no of those force anyone to anything, except maybe in an official capacity. No one has to listen to us secular types. My hunch for the things Ragnar describes is just the good old free market working its magic. I highly doubt that major retailers and greeting card companies are interested in anything beyond selling the most product. the fact is that the nation, especially this little corner of it is becoming more secular. The reason you see secular cards and decorations is because that is what people are buying.

Don't like, I am sure the are specialty shops and internet retailers to provide what you want.

And I don't remember talking about the founders. I did mention that Christians banned Christmas, but in the US at least that was in the 1600's.

The wikipedia article on Christmas is quite interesting. It is facinating how many iterations it has gone though, some quite incompatible.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas#The_Reformation_and_the_1800s

Posted by: Giffy on December 10, 2006 01:14 PM
20. >
> Dear children,
>
> It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season. Maybe you've forgotten that I wasn't
actually born during this time of the year and that it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate My birthday on what was
actually a time of pagan festival. Although I do appreciate being remembered anytime.
>
> How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children
> of your own. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth just, GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Now, having said that let Me go on.

If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.
>
Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can & may remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching explaining who I am in relation to you & what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 - 8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it.
>
1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.
>
2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.
>
3. Instead of writing George complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.
>
4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.
>
5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.
>
6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since
> you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile it could make the difference. Also, you might consider supporting the local Hot-Line: they talk with people like that every day.
>
7. Instead of nitpicking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families.
>
8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary, especially one who takes My love & Good News to those who have never heard My name. You may already know someone like that.
>
9. Here's a good one. There are individuals & whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they
> have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them (and I suspect you don't) buy some food & a few gifts & give them to the
Marines, the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me & they will make the delivery for you.
>
> 10. Finally if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.

> P.S. Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me & do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest.

> Check out the list above & get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember
>
> I LOVE YOU
> God

Posted by: Suzihomemaker on December 10, 2006 01:21 PM
21. This crap about a so called "War on Christmas" is a bunch of hot air. First of all, December 25th was not Jesus's birthday. It is a date declared by Pope Julius I in 336 AD to replace the pagan Saturnalia celebration. There is no mention in the bible of a "Christmas tree". Christmas trees origination with pagans long before Christianity even existed.

So the war started in 336 AD. That the conquerors are not complaining that the conquered are rising up against their original war on paganism is quite ironic indeed.

Yet more hot air from whiney Christians.

Posted by: pbj on December 10, 2006 01:34 PM
22. Suzi:
I agree with your sentiments, but there really is a political issue here. The issue is religious freedom. If one takes the secularization present in the European Union which has led to cases against fundamentalist Christians or some of the cases which have come out of the Canadian Supreme Court, it does matter that individuals are able to express religious thought. Reponses to this thread are not simply a matter of personal pique. When you have a poster that is comfortable with calling an entire group, "cheap date" there is something else going on, other than childish pique. By the way, the literal meaning of evangelical is follower of Christ. So, are all followers of Christ, "cheap date?" Most of the posters, myself included, have danced around the question: Is there bigotry against Christians? If it is OK to put a crucifix in urine and call it art, but not to use a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad, is there bigotry?

Posted by: WVH on December 10, 2006 01:36 PM
23. Giffy @ 2

Damn well said! Take this as your "Holiday Gift". You'll likely not get another for 12 months.

Happy Winter Solstice !

Posted by: pbj on December 10, 2006 01:37 PM
24. Giffy at #19, "No one has to listen to us secular types."

Unless they attend public school, publicly funded universities, and get their news from the Associated Press, NBC, ABC, and CBS.

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on December 10, 2006 01:38 PM
25. ba @ 18

"For those who do only see it as a consumption fest that's too bad. They should either ignore the holiday or try starting their own traditions to both look forward to in future and look back on with fondness in the past."


They had one prior to 336 AD. That is when your Pope Julius I destroyed Saturnalia and replaced it with Christmas. You Christians are the ones that started this culture war. When you start a war, you shouldn't be so dumb as to be surprised when some people fight back.

Posted by: pbj on December 10, 2006 01:49 PM
26. pbj at #25. Now we're getting somewhere. An outright admission that indeed there is a "war on Christmas".

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on December 10, 2006 02:14 PM
27. WVH (#22)
I do agree with you that there is a political issue...and I do know that it does matter if we allow the PC police to run roughshod over our rights as Christians to express ourselves. The point of the letter I posted was just a gentle reminder to all of us, myself included, that God is in His heaven and is still in total control.
Merry Christmas and God bless us, everyone!

Posted by: Suzihomemaker on December 10, 2006 02:20 PM
28. Check the URL for what passes as art at the Seattle airport: floating stomachs!

Posted by: LeBain on December 10, 2006 03:35 PM
29. I thought that Christmas Trees fell under the plastic reindeer rule even though they are called 'Christmas' trees. Clearly no constitutional violation has occured if it only was Christmas trees, quite secular according to the courts...I do believe a Menorah is a plastic reindeer as well.

Posted by: Doug on December 10, 2006 05:34 PM
30. Oh, I forgot:

MERRY CHRISTMAS GIFFY, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzah, Happy Winter Solstice, Happy Human Rights Day, Happy Boxing Day, and especially for you a happy Bill of Rights Day!

And if you don't have a reason to celebrate and need one, then today a big Happy Bonza Bottler Day for you, This Bud's For You!

Posted by: Doug on December 10, 2006 05:46 PM
31. I agree with Matt here. Merry Christmas to all our Christian readers. But I don't understand how anybody's enjoyment of their holiday (Christmas, Hanukkah, Passover, Ramadan, Festivus, or whatever) can be diminished because a government airport chooses not to display a symbol of the holiday.

Posted by: Stefan Sharkansky on December 10, 2006 06:02 PM
32. Because of a threatened lawsuit, the airport's Christmas trees have to go? Oh brother. This is more silliness.
Honestly, if I were in Israel, I wouldn't go threatening to sue if they didn't put up a Christmas tree in the airport. When in Rome, just observe what the Romans do and get on with your life.

I hope the Olympia Christmas tree isn't being called a "holiday" tree this year again. This business of celebrating Christmas but not being able to actually SAY it is for the birds. I will not play the game. It's intellectual dishonesty.

Posted by: Misty on December 10, 2006 06:16 PM
33. Stefan, what I read was that the airport didn't exactly "choose" not to display the trees, they were forced to remove them by a rabbi with a lawyer.

This kind of nonsense may not diminish my enjoyment of the holiday, but the incrementalism of the left will surely diminsh the enjoyment of future generations.

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on December 10, 2006 06:22 PM
34. Thursday, November 30, 2006
Free Christmas Trees from JNF for Christian friends and members of the Foreign Press

ref: do - 2787
30 November 2006
To: Members of the Foreign Press
From: Shlomit Shrvit, Spokesperson

Dear friends,

Re: Christmas Trees

As has become our custom, Jewish National Fund will be pleased to distribute Christmas trees that have been thinned out from its forests to its Christian friends and members of the Foreign Press.

The procedure of thinning out of the forests this time of year is part of the regular curriculum in the Jewish National Fund forests.

Trees can be picked up from our Givat Yeshayahu Nursery (near Beit Shemesh) begin from Sunday Dec. 17, until Dec. 24 2006 between 08:00am - 15:00pm.

Kindly contact us in order to reserve your tree - please do so no later than Sunday, Dec. 18, 2005. In your reservation, kindly indicate at the same time the approximate height you would like the tree (between 1 to 6 meters).

Best wishes for a joyous holiday season to you and your families.

Best Regards,

Orit Hadad
Spokesperson's Office Jewish National Fund
www.kkl.org.il

Posted by: Richard Pope on December 10, 2006 06:43 PM
35. Rey Smith: "The rabbi is a fool for equating a pre-Christian druidic fertility symbol with a menorah, which is a central icon of the Judaic faith."

Excuse me, the Torah is the central icon of the Judaic faith.

Hanukkah was not a major holiday in the U.S. until the late 50s, when some Jews thought it would be nice to have a more public winter holiday. To they revived Hanukkah with its happy theme of freedom from their Greek overlords.

The seven-candle menorah is a symbol of that holiday.

Please remember, everyone, that the rabbi who started all the fuss has said he never intended to shut down the trees and he was "appalled" that Sea-Tac had done so. Unintended consequences.

There really is a battle going on between the forces of reason and the forces of unreason and between good and evil. Sometimes it's just hard to tell which is which.

Matt - I think your take on this is just a little too breezy. As one could tell reading the comments in the ST article, some people were quite disappointed and hurt when the trees were removed.

Posted by: mac on December 10, 2006 07:11 PM
36. Rey Smith: "The rabbi is a fool for equating a pre-Christian druidic fertility symbol with a menorah, which is a central icon of the Judaic faith."

Excuse me, the Torah is the central icon of the Judaic faith.

Hanukkah was not a major holiday in the U.S. until the late 50s, when some Jews thought it would be nice to have a more public winter holiday. To they revived Hanukkah with its happy theme of freedom from their Greek overlords.

The seven-candle menorah is a symbol of that holiday.

Please remember, everyone, that the rabbi who started all the fuss has said he never intended to shut down the trees and he was "appalled" that Sea-Tac had done so. Unintended consequences.

There really is a battle going on between the forces of reason and the forces of unreason and between good and evil. Sometimes it's just hard to tell which is which.

Matt - I think your take on this is just a little too breezy. As one could tell reading the comments in the ST article, some people were quite disappointed and hurt when the trees were removed.

Posted by: mac on December 10, 2006 07:11 PM
37. Today my cashier at Wal-Mart told me "Merry Christmas." Life is good.

Posted by: Tyler Durden on December 10, 2006 07:30 PM
38. Stefan,

But I don't understand how anybody's enjoyment of their holiday ... can be diminished because a government airport chooses not to display a symbol of the holiday.

I think you miss the point. I am not upset that someone isn't celebrating Christmas, it's that we are blamed for creating a problem when all we are protesting is that SOMEONE ELSE is protesting Christmas. Why is it that we get vilified when we aren't doing anything but protesting the dismantiling of our culture with the bludgeon of a misapplied indignation. Why aren't you poo pooing those who get somehow lose their enjoyment because others celebrate a holiday?

I generally don't see Christians protesting all those government agencies that don't celebrate in the way we want, just the cases where there was a once a celebration that was tradition for years or decades that had to be removed because of someone's hurt feeling and or a law suit. Or am I missing all the reports where Christians are bringing law suits to force agencies to celebrate Christmas? It is my understanding it is others who are removing what once was and some of us are pointing it out.

Posted by: Eyago on December 10, 2006 09:17 PM
39. Stefan and Matt:

Does the government have to be totally secular? Does every symbol of religion have to be excised from government buildings? I know that the Christmas tree is not a religious symbol, but a symbol of the season. Using your logic, does Moses get booted from the US Supreme Court building? Is there room for religious expression in this country?

Posted by: WVH on December 10, 2006 09:21 PM
40. Of course no one's enjoyment of the holiday will be diminished by the airport's removal. But it is sad that one objection/threat is all it takes to rattle the bureaucrats into this weird overreaction.

Rabbi Lapin would say that the other rabbi did his cause no favors by threatening litigation.

Posted by: Bleeding heart conservative on December 10, 2006 11:45 PM
41. Back to the silly Rabbi;
First off, persecuted as Jewish have been throughout the ages, you would think a rabbi would understand and appreciate the different religions of the world. So much for that.
Secondly, I would think the silly rabbi would kiss the behind of a strongly Christian country that ran Hitler out and have strongly stood behind them in establishing their country, helping defend them, selling them state of the art military equipment, all the foreign aide etc. etc. (Yeah, I know they financed our founding before they were established)
Look around, silly rabbi, and tell me what other country would defend Israel like that then let their courts entertain petty a$$ complaints like yours.
I won't whine when I see a star of David or other symbol but perhaps in light of this I'll boycot kosher salt.
And no, I'm not broad-brushing Jews, just moronic ones.
Merry Christmas to all...

Posted by: PC on December 11, 2006 12:33 AM
42. Why the Port of Seattle and Other Public Places Should Not Allow Any Religious Displays.

First, the airport is a publicly funded and supported facility (not a church although there probably is a lot of praying at take off and landing.)

If we truly believe in the concept of the separation of "church" or religion and state, then the decision is a correct one and I support it 110%. Religious displays of any religion do not belong in any public spaces. My tax dollars should not be used to put up these kinds of religious displays (and to a non-Christian like myself, a Jew, they are) or to pay for the lighting of them.

Second, if we take the equal opportunity position of allowing freshly murdered and turned into a fire hazard Christmas trees, Menorahs (celebrating a Jewish religious military victory), or Kwanzaa (some family values there, whew) displays, then we would have to allow a display from alleged devil worshippers with an upside down broken crucifix, the numbers 666, the words "believe in Satan and yee shall be saved" and a sacrifical altar filled with human blood. So perhaps, it is best not to have any displays at all.

Third, imagine what it would be like to live in a country (like Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, or Afghanstan) where Christians are the minority and/or are not allowed to put up their symbols and/or have the dominant religion shoved down their/your throat. Then maybe you would understand how the rest of us feel about these so-called secular but religious displays no matter what the Supreme Court calls them.

We are a diverse country. Putting up displays like this separate us. Religion belongs in the home and in the appropriate religious institution. Public space is for public business. Period.

Posted by: Keith Gormezano on December 11, 2006 01:21 AM
43. Keith

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF;...

"Third, imagine what it would be like to live in a country (like Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, or Afghanstan) where Christians are the minority and/or are not allowed to put up their symbols and/or have the dominant religion shoved down their/your throat."

Ironically, a Google search of the "Wall of separation" statement (at usconstitution.net) from Jefferson -- in his letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, came up with this..

"Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 to answer a letter from them written in October 1801. A copy of the Danbury letter is available here. The Danbury Baptists were a religious minority in Connecticut, and they complained that in their state, the religious liberties they enjoyed were not seen as immutable rights, but as privileges granted by the legislature - as "favors granted."

Jefferson's reply did not address their concerns about problems with state establishment of religion - only that on the national level.

The letter contains the phrase "wall of separation between church and state," which led to the short-hand for the Establishment Clause that we use today: "Separation of church and state."

Keith, some of us -- even back-slid Catholics ;) like myself who remember Mass in Latin, and churches being a 'guitar-free' zone -- can understand this. Many of us feel that the U.S. is fast becoming the way that you describe.

Taken to one level, there's a huge irony in your statement. "And/or not allowed to put up your symbols..." after a statement about the 'correctness' of the decision about taking down the trees at Sea-Tac since they 'don't belong there'.

FT

Posted by: FT on December 11, 2006 05:01 AM
44. My take on it is if the Christmas trees are a decades-old tradition, they should not have been taken down. The rabbi didn't intend for the trees to be removed, just that a menorah should be included along with the trees. His mistake though, was hiring a lawyer and threatening a lawsuit. Bureaucrats will do anything to avoid a lawsuit and ruffling feathers, so the trees were removed though the rabbi didn't mean for that to happen.

In other cases though, Christmas trees have been removed from malls where they'd been put up for decades previously because some atheist decided to be a grinch and sue because he/she was having Christmas "imposed" upon him/her whenever he/she went to the mall.

I really wish people could just respect each other's rights instead of resorting to whining and lawsuits because they don't like each other's symbolisms. As a Christian, I'm strong enough in my faith to not have a problem with a menorah or even a sickle moon and star being put up alongside a Christmas tree and I wish others could just live and let live.

Well, as a Christian I will just say Merry Christmas and leave it at that!

Posted by: shadowhawk on December 11, 2006 06:03 AM
45. fine--take out ALL the Christmas & holiday symbols from public places if that's what's needed to stop the childish Christmas & seasonal infighting. i dont need the government to tell me what season it is nor support my beliefs. i honor it in my own way, be it publicly or not.

we have bigger problems to solve with so-called 'religions' than their seasonal symbols--namely, their intolerant actions and philosophies and rage against other religions & cultures.

as for the anti-Christian charges, why is it that only Christian holidays & symbols have their names altered? we dont call Ramadan a vague name like "the fall holiday fast" we don't change the name of the Quran, mosques, temples or change names of Jewish nor Wiccan holidays or holy books/symbols. only Christian ones are changed to p.c. terms or removed from sight--

example--the tiny (historical) mission cross in the SF or LA city seal. why was that so offensive, given the settlement history FACTS of that area? history p.c. re-writes.

coincidence? i think not. it's because Christians don't typically pour into the streets to riot or cut off heads at any insult like other religions have been shown to do around the world.

Posted by: jimmie-howya-doin on December 11, 2006 06:53 AM
46. I'm Jewish. As a child, I was taught that Jews had been driven from every country in which they had lived--and, the only places this hasn't yet happened are the U.S. and Canada.

My parents were Depression-Era children. As the Depression-Era children grew into adulthood, the litmus test for any political news was: "Is this good or bad for the Jews?"

This made one temper one's comments for two reasons: that what one did and said should be good for the Jews, and more importantly, that what one did and said should reflect the tolerence that America, in the main, has exhibited toward the Jews throughout its history.

This Rabbi is a moron. Never did he think if his actions would be good or bad for the Jews...he just wanted to have his way.

I hope he's satisfied. Gentiles nationwide are talking about Jews and Christmas, and not in complementary terms, either.

What a putz!

Posted by: Walter Lipman on December 11, 2006 07:01 AM
47. My question is... did the Rabbi ask before he hired the lawyer? Or did he try without going to that resource and was not heard?
He had requested for weeks? It seems to me that the tidbits that I have heard and read may not tell the whole story.

Posted by: SL on December 11, 2006 07:37 AM
48. All the Rabbi wanted was to include his tradition along with the other festivities celebrated in December. I don't understand how Christians can say this is an attack on Christmas when they created the holiday. But all that being said, we should all respect the diversity of which this country was founded, to ESCAPE RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION. Isn't there enough room for the celebration of multiple holidays?


The History of Christmas


The history of Christmas dates back over 4000 years. Many of our Christmas traditions were celebrated centuries before the Christ child was born. The 12 days of Christmas, the bright fires, the yule log, the giving of gifts, carnivals(parades) with floats, carolers who sing while going from house to house, the holiday feasts, and the church processions can all be traced back to the early Mesopotamians.

Many of these traditions began with the Mesopotamian celebration of New Years. The Mesopotamians believed in many gods, and as their chief god - Marduk. Each year as winter arrived it was believed that Marduk would do battle with the monsters of chaos. To assist Marduk in his struggle the Mesopotamians held a festival for the New Year. This was Zagmuk, the New Year's festival that lasted for 12 days.

The Mesopotamian king would return to the temple of Marduk and swear his faithfulness to the god. The traditions called for the king to die at the end of the year and to return with Marduk to battle at his side.

To spare their king, the Mesopotamians used the idea of a "mock" king. A criminal was chosen and dressed in royal clothes. He was given all the respect and privileges of a real king. At the end of the celebration the "mock" king was stripped of the royal clothes and slain, sparing the life of the real king.

The Persians and the Babylonians celebrated a similar festival called the Sacaea. Part of that celebration included the exchanging of places, the slaves would become the masters and the masters were to obey.

Early Europeans believed in evil spirits, witches, ghosts and trolls. As the Winter Solstice approached, with its long cold nights and short days, many people feared the sun would not return. Special rituals and celebrations were held to welcome back the sun.

In Scandinavia during the winter months the sun would disappear for many days. After thirty-five days scouts would be sent to the mountain tops to look for the return of the sun. When the first light was seen the scouts would return with the good news. A great festival would be held, called the Yuletide, and a special feast would be served around a fire burning with the Yule log. Great bonfires would also be lit to celebrate the return of the sun. In some areas people would tie apples to branches of trees to remind themselves that spring and summer would return.

The ancient Greeks held a festival similar to that of the Zagmuk/Sacaea festivals to assist their god Kronos who would battle the god Zeus and his Titans.

The Roman's celebrated their god Saturn. Their festival was called Saturnalia which began the middle of December and ended January 1st. With cries of "Jo Saturnalia!" the celebration would include masquerades in the streets, big festive meals, visiting friends, and the exchange of good-luck gifts called Strenae (lucky fruits).

The Romans decked their halls with garlands of laurel and green trees lit with candles. Again the masters and slaves would exchange places.

"Jo Saturnalia!" was a fun and festive time for the Romans, but the Christians though it an abomination to honor the pagan god. The early Christians wanted to keep the birthday of their Christ child a solemn and religious holiday, not one of cheer and merriment as was the pagan Saturnalia.

But as Christianity spread they were alarmed by the continuing celebration of pagan customs and Saturnalia among their converts. At first the Church forbid this kind of celebration. But it was to no avail. Eventually it was decided that the celebration would be tamed and made into a celebration fit for the Christian Son of God.

Some legends claim that the Christian "Christmas" celebration was invented to compete against the pagan celebrations of December. The 25th was not only sacred to the Romans but also the Persians whose religion Mithraism was one of Christianity's main rivals at that time. The Church eventually was successful in taking the merriment, lights, and gifts from the Saturanilia festival and bringing them to the celebration of Christmas.

The exact day of the Christ child's birth has never been pinpointed. Traditions say that it has been celebrated since the year 98 AD. In 137 AD the Bishop of Rome ordered the birthday of the Christ Child celebrated as a solemn feast. In 350 AD another Bishop of Rome, Julius I, choose December 25th as the observance of Christmas.

Posted by: Bubba on December 11, 2006 07:53 AM
49. The rabbi was on KTTH this morning, and he said he never wanted the trees taken down, only to have a menorah included as well. He also said he tried several times to request this from the Port with no success, before hiring an attorney. Also, he never actually filed anything like a lawsuit with that attorney, he only used the attorney to let the Port know that he was serious because they had not acted.

The port could have worked with the rabbi and put up a menorah pretty easily, which would have averted this whole controversy.

Posted by: Palouse on December 11, 2006 07:54 AM
50. Anyone who uses an attorney to make a request is making it clear a lawsuit will follow. The Rabbi and others who file such lawsuits learned well from the Mafia's "protection racket".

Posted by: SeaRep on December 11, 2006 08:04 AM
51. @45 - Jimmie, I think you put it well.

I guess I don't really understand why the tree got equated with Christianity in such a way that it was apparently so offensive that it had to be pulled from the airport. I don't see this as an overtly "Christian" symbol. To me it is much more a symbol of the holiday season than a symbol of the Christian faith. Thus, I don't see why the airport would have to (potentially) display a bunch of other religious symbols to appease everyone. I mean if they had a Nativity Scene on display, I could see it then - THAT is overtly Christian, but a Christmas Tree? This is just ridiculous.

All that said though, no matter what liberal Seattle chooses to do, I will have a great Christmas with my family and friends. Merry Christmas everyone!

Posted by: Tammie on December 11, 2006 08:16 AM
52. While I generally don't like the threat of a lawsuit tactic, hearing him this morning on the radio it sounded like that was his only option to get the port to work with him. Sometimes that is the only way that people will listen. Unfortunate. It's all very silly, but the more I hear about it, the more I think it's the port that has made this into what it is.

Posted by: Palouse on December 11, 2006 08:18 AM
53. Bubba:

Any educated person knows these things, and realizes that the origin of the modern concept of Christmas is complex and obviously of pre-Christian origin.

Actually, this supports my original point, which sems to have gotten lost among the apologists for the rabbi and the anti-Christians who have come out of the woodwork, and is that A CHRISTMAS TREE IS NOT A RELIGIOUS SYMBOL; HENCE, A MENORAH -- WHICH MOST ASSUREDLY IS A RELIGIOUS SYMBOL (yes, "a" religious symbol, Mac, not "the" religious symbol -- please note the difference between definite and indefinite aticles in the English language) -- IS IN NO WAY RELEVANT TO THE DISCUSSION.

Complaining about the tree, and equating it with a menorah was an act of ignorance on the part of the rabbi. Removing the tree was an act of cowardice AND ignorance on the part of the airport board.

Arguments made by so many otherwise well-informed and intelligent people on thhis bbs, to the effect that an evergreen tree is somehow a dangerous Christian icon, are ignorant and frankly appalling.

Posted by: Rey Smith on December 11, 2006 08:26 AM
54. Rey, the US Supreme Court has ruled that a menorah can have a secular purpose as representation of a holiday or season (like a Christmas tree) when displayed along side other holiday decorations.

Posted by: Palouse on December 11, 2006 08:41 AM
55. Keith Gormezano at #15 says, "Second, if we take the equal opportunity position of allowing freshly murdered and turned into a fire hazard Christmas trees, Menorahs (celebrating a Jewish religious military victory), or Kwanzaa (some family values there, whew) displays, then we would have to allow a display from alleged devil worshippers with an upside down broken crucifix, the numbers 666, the words "believe in Satan and yee shall be saved" and a sacrifical altar filled with human blood. So perhaps, it is best not to have any displays at all."

I love topics like this because they display the anger of the left so vividly. Gormezano even went to the trouble of bold-facing his entire post--the internet equivilent of yelling.

The best part was about "freshly murdered Christmas trees". Someone should tell Gormezano that Christmas trees are farmed. I wonder if he feels the same way when he eats an ear of corn.

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on December 11, 2006 08:57 AM
56. My apologies...that was supposed to be Keith Gormezano at #42.

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on December 11, 2006 09:02 AM
57. I think this whole outrage is missing a very pragmatic issue: the Port of Seattle has much more important things to do - like moving thousands of people through its airport SAFELY - than worrying about civil right issues. Interior and exterior decorating issues SHOULD be at the bottom of the priority list. I say an UNDECORATED SeaTac airport is just fine, and in no way affects the running of the airport.

Posted by: ALP on December 11, 2006 09:10 AM
58. Rey

Instead of the Menorha would it be more apprpriate to use the Dreydle? Since it isn't a religous symbol but a representation of the holiday? Much as the X-mas Tree is a representaion or symbol of Christmas?

I feel the argument is should the airport put up symbols of the holiday.

But quick question, did any of the Trees have a Cross at the top or as a decoration?

Posted by: bubba on December 11, 2006 09:12 AM
59. sorry Typo.. Dreidel

Posted by: bubb on December 11, 2006 09:14 AM
60. It seems the Port didn't act like it should.

Their lawyer could have told them that the Christmas trees were constitutionally allowed, assuming they had candy canes, silver bells, and other holiday decorations. They do not need to be displayed with decorations from other religions as the Port feared, the Christmas trees are themselves secular in that regard. And any lawsuit against them would not have succeeded.

The Rabbi could have easily attended Port meetings and gotten enough support and suggested enough suggestions so that NEXT YEAR there would have been a display with Christmas trees and a Menorah. Instead in his rush to please himself and not be considerate of others he hired a lawyer. He wanted recognition, power and fame and whatever came with it, no doubt. Why else would you hire a lawyer and be confrontational at this point?

The War on Christmas continues and it's operated in much the same way as terrorism - only without the bloodshed. Individuals and individual cells spread throughout the country blowing up one at a time.

Posted by: Doug on December 11, 2006 09:20 AM
61. Bogomilsky is now claiming that in threatening a suit his sole intent was to have a menorah displayed. If he is sincere and an honorable man then he should follow through with a suit as aggressively as possible. If Bogomilsky doesn't file suit then he should be considered a bluff and should excuse himself from the public eye - no Oprah, no O'Reilly.

Posted by: Tyler Durden on December 11, 2006 09:29 AM
62. The person in charge covered their butt. I'd do the same thing. Once the word lawsuit was mentioned their hands were tied and here is why:
Under our constitution we are allowed to practice religion. So the festive trees or even "Christmas trees" are acceptable. So next to include everyone the Jewish menorah is donated. Then it draws media attention so the 5th pillar of Islam is donated (c4 explosives). Then to celebrate the rasta faith a bunch of dubs are smoked in memory of our.... Then some anarchists/Nazis are angered and finish off the survivors by exterminating the diversity. Then we all realize that the separation of church and state limits our rights making us have to fight for everything. I think the Nazis win again. Divide and Conquer! The solution is clear an artistic depiction of a Ganja Christmas tree decorated with swastikas tree with a 7 candle menorah being blown apart by plastic explosives and then defaced by the anarchist symbol.

If you want your menorah don't draw so much attention next time or we all suffer. You can pickup a swastika to deface at your local pawn shop to support someones beer religion which is about the only sign of religion being displayed in public at the airport this year.

Cheers to a blessing in disguise! It would be a shame that we'd have to nuke some poor counrty (or county) so close to a national holiday over a evil "Christmas" trees.

Posted by: Silent Bob on December 11, 2006 09:48 AM
63. Palouse @ 49 got the facts behind the story. Looks more like it's a War on Hanukkah than a "War on Christmas". They refused to put up a Menorah, but kept the trees till they were sued.

Posted by: Cato on December 11, 2006 10:05 AM
64. Nobody should get too upset about a Christmas Tree. After all, it's a symbol that came from the Pagan Germanic Tribes, and much of Christmas itself finds its roots in the Pagan religions of Northern and Western Europe.

Happy Yule, everyone!

Posted by: Libertarian on December 11, 2006 10:13 AM
65. There are three statutes at the US Supreme Court building, Moses, Confucius, and Solon, representative as sources of the law. The question people, I put to both Stefan and Matt is do the secularists want all traces of religion excised from the public square? The Christmas tree is a symbol of the season. Under the securalist agenda, do we boot Moses from the Supreme Court building and leave the other two?
The Consitution protects freedom of religious expression. Is the point of this little excercise one step in the agenda to totally eliminate religious expression? In my opinion, the Rabbi did not fully think through the possible effect of his actions, just as sometimes posts at this site are not fully analyzed and another poster described them as "breezy", particularly when dealing with religious topics.

Posted by: WVH on December 11, 2006 10:14 AM
66. Apparently, Patty Murray refused to refer to the National Christmas Tree as such. She kept calling it a Holiday Tree.

Posted by: Misty on December 11, 2006 10:55 AM
67. Misty 66--no problem--

...and i'll stop referring to Patty as an intelligent, capable and inspirational Senator.

Happy Multi-culti Holidays from the "Sacred City" of Seattle.

Posted by: jimmie-howya-doin on December 11, 2006 11:10 AM
68. Yes, everyone is getting tired of this annual debate. Me too. However, if the rabbi was going

It seems to me that the rabbi and others have some kind of narcissitic need to see himself mirrored in every corner of our public space. In the name of diversity, it was he who had the diversity problem in that he could not appreciate the expression of another tradition.

The rabbi saw the Christmas trees (which naturally enraged him?). And what did he do? Did he write in his blog? Did he write a letter to the editor? Did he engage in civil discourse? Did he write his Congressman? No. No. No. No.

Naturally, he got a lawyer to bully the airport administrators who are busy running an airport at the busiest time of year and dont have time to enter into complex social analysis to figure out if the Wiccans and Native Americans and Hindus might be next to sue for not having their beliefs represented.

Hannukka is NOT a major feast for practicing, believing Jews. The only reason they insist on public mannorahs is that they have a problem with Jesus and the acknowlegement of his birth.

We dont see Jews or other groups insisting on holiday displays at other more important times of year for them. So why December? Because they hate to see anything remotely Christian in the public eye. This isnt about equal rights or freedom of expression, it is about a not too subtle anti-Christian bigotry.

The good rabbi ought to just appreciate the secular Christmas displays for the good will of the season which they represent. Instead of becoming enraged, maybe he too could use some of the good will of the Christmas spirit. Merry Christmas!!!

Posted by: Jason Suggs on December 11, 2006 11:43 AM
69. Jason @ 68 - Read todays article in the Seattle Times.

Port staff members were first contacted in October by Mitchell Stein, a consultant to the Port for the past five years, who wanted to install a menorah this year. Stein is also affiliated with Chabad.

"We thought the Port was going to make the right decision to support diversity and Hanukkah," Stein said. "The lawsuit was only a way to get their attention."

Posted by: Cato on December 11, 2006 11:51 AM
70. Palouse:

The Supreme Court has decided that we can murder millions of babies as a form of birth control and call it "choice", too.

They're wrong a lot.

Posted by: Rey Smith on December 11, 2006 11:54 AM
71. This was resolved in an adult manner. The display was made. A request was made for an additional display. A lawuit was filed. The display was removed.

We can still trael safely this holiday season. Christianity tends to manifest itself in the media in the from of trees and gift etc. Islamic radical often manifest them selfes with explisves. Although the rabi had good intentions may have angered "Christian Radicals" to make postings on the internet and things didn't turn out as planned things ended better for everyone because the actions of the port. Once this is taken into perspective it was the media radicals that blew this out of proportion. I'm glad a Jewish guy brought it up first it could have been worse.

Posted by: Least common denominator on December 11, 2006 12:00 PM
72. At first, I thought the P-O-S was using rabbi yay-hoo as a scapegoat. Then I read Rabbi numb-skull threatend to sue.....unless he got his fancy candle holder displayed pronto. He can go brand its image to his big kosher butt and display it all he wants in the terminal.

I should think the Jewish community would be ashamed of this "rabbi". Nothing like causing division amongst your greatest allies.

Posted by: pbs7mm on December 11, 2006 12:26 PM
73. Rey, the comparison of finding that a menorah can be a secular symbol of a holiday to the legalization of abortion is a non-sequitor.

There's alot of blame the rabbi going on here, and it's wrong. He only wanted more inclusion in the public display, not to take down what was there already. The port is the one that took it a step further by taking down the displays, rather than just putting up another symbol as requested months earlier. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the rabbi wanting the additional symbol included, and he gave the port ample opportunity to do so.

Posted by: Palouse on December 11, 2006 12:57 PM
74. Okay, Palouse. You used the SCOTUS ruling as your rationale, remember? I simply pointed out one of the egregious errors committed by that body. I even resisted the temptation to cite Dred Scott.

So....

If a menorah is a secular symbol, why is it used in celebrations of Hannukah?

After you've explained that, tell us the role Christmas trees play in Christian worship.

The rabbi didn't ask. He threatened a lawsuit and his lawyer laid down a deadline. The airport simply bailed, liked the PC Seattle cowards they are.

Posted by: Rey Smith on December 11, 2006 01:08 PM
75. A lighted menorah with bulbs has no place in Hanukkah celebrations. It is just a symbol, no more religious than a Christmas tree.

And the rabbi did ask prior to hiring a lawyer. The port ignored him.

Posted by: Palouse on December 11, 2006 01:18 PM
76. someone brings a lawyer and/or allegedly threatens a lawsuit over a symbol. meanwhile, the populace is screaming about too many lawsuits & paying more for everything or elimination of simple pleasures due to those very lawsuits.

"IIIIII'm not part or the problem--IIIII just want my rights!" yea. right. thanks.

...and this the our "tough side" we show terrorists & the world....(Lord help us!)

Posted by: jimmie-howya-doin on December 11, 2006 02:01 PM
77. CHRISTMAS TREE AT MY U.S. POST OFFICE!!!

Yeah, a victory, and I ain't telling anyone where it is. There is a wonderful Christmas tree, with a bright star at the top, decoration painted on our Federal Post Office, and no, there isn't a Menorah painted there. Oh, and if the Salvation Army is listening, I've refused to give my usual $ donations this year, tired of hearing them greet my with Happy Holidays, can't find a one that will say Merry Christmas.

Posted by: Doug on December 11, 2006 02:31 PM
78. Palouse:

A lighted menorah with bulbs is a representation of an oil-lit menorah, is it not?

A Christmas tree is not a representation of any Christian relgious object.

I can't believe you're not seeing the difference.

Posted by: Rey Smith on December 11, 2006 02:52 PM
79. Doug #77-You can find warm and welcoming greetings of "MERRY CHRISTMAS" at your local Walmart, where after the nonsense of last year, decided they would no longer being going with the pc "happy holidays."

Posted by: mimi on December 11, 2006 02:55 PM
80. You could interpret it that way Rey, but that does not make it so. It could just be a symbol of the holiday, like a Christmas tree. A menorah with eight bulbs is just a symbol, it's the ceremonial lighting of a real one and the prayers said along with it that make it religious.

Posted by: Palouse on December 11, 2006 03:35 PM
81. "And the rabbi did ask prior to hiring a lawyer. The port ignored him."

Well, that's the damage control spin we're hearing today. In my mind it still adds up to "give me what I want or I'll sue".

The other part of the spin is to blame the port for removing the trees. In the P.C. crazed world of Seattle what alternative was there? Thankfully, thanks to Michael Medved and Rabbi Daniel Lapin, reason may yet previal.

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on December 11, 2006 03:38 PM
82. Sorry, palouse. A representation of a religious object differs radically from a representation of a non-religious object.

Pray over a tree all you want. It'll only make you look foolish, except to druids.

Posted by: Rey Smith on December 11, 2006 03:43 PM
83. So Bill, the Port could not have just put up another symbol and averted any controversy? How difficult would that have been? I don't think it was that onerous, and the rabbi requested it months ago, so they had plenty of time to plan for it. There is a big difference in what the rabbi was asking for, and what people like Newdow want, which is the removal of any symbol which can even be associated with religion.

Posted by: Palouse on December 11, 2006 03:49 PM
84. Rey, no one prays over 8 lighted bulbs.

Posted by: Palouse on December 11, 2006 03:50 PM
85. Palouse:

Except possibly the Edisonites.

Attitudes like yours make it likely they'll want a kinetophone displayed next year at Christmas time.

Posted by: Rey Smith on December 11, 2006 03:59 PM
86. "So Bill, the Port could not have just put up another symbol and averted any controversy? How difficult would that have been?"

Not difficult at all if it wasn't in ultra-liberal Seattle.

The Rabbi is saying he made the request months ago. We don't known in what form the requests were made, or to whom. We also don't know if there were earlier threats of legal action.

I'm basing my comments on what is known, not the spin.

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on December 11, 2006 04:08 PM
87. To all those who say the Port of Seattle should have taken care of this sooner there's hope. When Nickels own personal Rasputin, Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis, slides and slithers under the door and into the seat of Port of Seattle Chief Executive he can work it out for next December.

Posted by: Tyler Durden on December 11, 2006 04:13 PM
88. There are several issues that need to be addressed.

First, Rabbi Bogomilsky is a rabbi of the Chabad faith. Many members of Chabad , in fact most of them, are Jewish, however, the religion they practice is NOT Judaism.

Second, the holiday of Chanukah celebrates a defeat of the Maccabees over the Greeks who wanted us to assimilate and become like the rest of society. The Maccabees wanted us to remain as Jews and be separate. Lumping Chanukah together with Christmas goes against what the holiday is all about.

Third, Chanukah is a holiday of rabbinic origin, not from the Torah. Therefore, since the rabbis came up with the holiday, they are the ones who determined how it is to be celebrated. The halacha (Jewish law) is that a menorah is to be displayed in the home and in the synagogue. Nowhere in the Talmud (or anywhere else in Jewish literature) does it say that a menorah should be displayed in a public venue.

As an Orthodox Jew, I say put the trees back up and leave the menorah where it belongs--certainly not in an airport.

Posted by: Gitel on December 11, 2006 07:11 PM
89. Thanks Gitel for bringing some sanity to this discussion. Christmas trees are not religious symbols, as the US Sup Ct has affirmed. Nativity creches and menorahs are. Let's leave the creches and menorahs at home and leave the Christmas Tree as a universal secular celebration. If this issue flames anti-semitism, who is to blame but a rabbi?

Posted by: hal on December 11, 2006 07:21 PM
90. To compete with the Christmas time flora
A rabbi demands a menorah
The Port of Seattle is loathe to do battle
'Lest they open the box of Pandora

My enjoyment of Christmas isn't diminished.

It just bums me out that the Brave New America of relentless diversity and multiculturalism is going to be such a bland and joyless place for my grandkids.

Posted by: Clueless Will on December 11, 2006 08:32 PM
91. Christmas trees are not religious symbols. Okay, but they are associated with a RELIGIOUS CHRISTIAN HOLIDAY. The origin of the Christmas tree is irrelevant, what it stands for is. As a Jew, I do not find a Christmas tree as anything more than a Christian symbol. With that said, I see no reason to have a Menorah at an airport either. In Seattle there are individuals of many different faiths, who celebrate many different traditions. Why exclude them? In all honesty, who is really going to be offended if they go to the airport and there are no decorations? Or how about snowmen or snowflakes? We should stop arguing and fighting over a non-issue and go celebrate our holidays with our friends and family. The US protects our freedom of religion, so go decorate your house in anyway that you deem appropriate, and stop relying on public places to look the way you want them to. Who really wants to spend that much time in an airport on the holidays, anyways?

Posted by: MRF on December 11, 2006 09:20 PM
92. The bottom line is that it's apparently okay for Christians to demand Christmas trees be put up and to be wished Merry Christmas but it's not okay for a Rabbi to ask for the same thing.

The irony is that the Menorah is a biblical symbol. There's no sane reason for Christians to be offended by it, especially since the Book of the Macabees was included in Christian works and the story of Hannah and her 7 children was often retold.

The problem isn't that the Rabbi wanted to put up a menorah. The problem is that the airport preferred to take down the Christmas trees, rather than agree to put up a Menorah. The problem is that some Christian activists don't want to celebrate a Judeo-Christian heritage, they want an exclusively Christian heritage, which is fine in a Church, but this is a public airport.

Posted by: sultan knish on December 12, 2006 08:17 AM
93. #92

I disagree with you. I for one, don't have a problem with a
display including the Menorah or Crescent for that matter. I think the port bureaucrats were hasty and created this this issue by their handling of the Rabbi's request. Most of the Christians I know attempt to be respectful of other beliefs. My best guess is many of the decisionmakers at the Port are secular humanists and uncomfortable with religion, no matter the faith.

Posted by: WVH on December 13, 2006 11:31 PM
94. I note that the trees were referred to as "Holiday Trees." So, if they are NOT Christmas Trees than I would hope that putting up a candle holder (Menorah not allowed, freedom from religion and such) will have to suffice. Christmas Trees - Yes, then Menorah - Yes.

Posted by: Bob on December 14, 2006 09:32 AM
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