Annual War on Christmas Begun by Trying to Avoid It

Last year at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky wanted to see an 8-foot-tall menorah on display. The airport already had giant Christmas trees in place.

Madness ensued.

To avoid that situation, airport personnel are done with all things Christmas-y:

“We’re featuring peace and harmony,” said Mike Feldman, deputy managing director of the airport. “We’re using lights. Winters are so dark and dreary.”

That means no Santa Claus at the airport. No Christmas tree. And no menorahs. Nothing that smacks of a religious Christmas or Hanukkah celebration.

The Rabbi’s lawyer, Harvey Grad, doesn’t like this decision:

“I find the whole thing stupid,” said Grad, who was prepared to sue over the menorah issue last year, though his client didn’t want to. “My view is that there was a need for accommodations. This is a multicultural city, and the airport should have gone out of its way to recognize different religious and ethnic views. I thought they would address that this year, but they decided to sidestep the issue.”

Grad added, “At no time did my client or anyone ever seek, intimate or suggest the tree should be removed. The idea came solely from within the Port, and my personal view is that the people of Seattle are going to be really disappointed with no Christmas trees.”

This year’s imaginary “War on Christmas” has begun.

(Thanks to Craig for the link!)


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • http://endcycle.blogspot.com jeremy

    Obligatory Jewish reply:

    OY!

    :)
    Sorry.
    Speaking for at least this (atheist) Jew, I grew up loving Christmas trees. We never had one in our house (not our thing, y’know – we lit candles and spun dreidels and ate potato pancakes and got a present every night and yadda yadda), but we would often go to freinds’ houses where there would be eggnog and a tree waiting for us to help decorate it. We’d drive around the neighborhoods to see the Christmas lights, and we always (ALWAYS) watched the Snoopy Chiristmas special.

    I hate it when people assume that somehow I’d be offended by seeing a Christmas tree up and not a menorah.

    Are you KIDDING me?

    There are bigger things in this world to worry about than a tree with LIGHTS. Sheesh.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Just noticed the “Great American God-Out” ad to the right. November 15th is already taken by Oxfam America’s Fast For A World Harvest. It’s bad enough that the Smoke Out horned in on the day they set years before, now this.

    Hey, Lydia, the day’s already spoken for. Why not Feb. 2?

  • HappyNat

    This year’s imaginary “War on Christmas” has begun.

    Good work, Hemant. Keep the word out that the war is imaginary to lull Christmas into a false sense of security. Then when we jump out of the giant rabbit on Dec 24th we will catch Christmas not only surprised but totally unarmed. bwhahaha . . . .

  • Polly

    I find the whole thing stupid,” said Grad, who was prepared to sue over the menorah issue last year, though his client didn’t want to.

    This says it all. Lawyers.

    Too bad, I like evergreens with lights on them. Candles on golden lampstands are rather pleasant, too.

    The airport is probably afraid of a terrorist attack if they put up a ginormous menorah.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    There’s nothing more subversive about American Christmas than not buying anything for it, why not try that and make Bill O’R cry?

  • http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ Greta Christina

    “That means no Santa Claus at the airport… Nothing that smacks of a religious Christmas…”

    Um… Santa Claus?

    Since when did Santa Claus become a symbol of a religious Christmas?

    Santa Claus has “secular Christmas” all over him like a cheap red suit.

  • Siamang

    “It’s bad enough that the Smoke Out horned in on the day they set years before, now this.”

    Stealing holidays and repackaging them… it’s not just for Christianity anymore!

  • Siamang

    This year’s imaginary “War on Christmas” has begun.

    It always comes earlier and earlier. Heck, “Imaginary war on Halloween” Season isn’t even over yet.

  • http://www.cogspace.com/ Katie Molnar

    I agree with the sentiment that Xmas is already a secular holiday. Jesus would not have approved of a bunch of overweight Americans prancing around malls, shoving people out of the way to be the first to be price-gouged attempting to procure a pair of tennis shoes with LIGHTS IN THEM, all the while thinking that all the distorted pagan rituals and commercialism is somehow related to his birthday, which was probably in the summer if he even existed.

    A lot of people rant about Xmas being commercialized. Personally, I’m glad. Better than the alternative anyway. Still, I’d much rather celebrate the solstice on the 23rd as a neat astronomical event and part of the delicate cycles that brought life to be, and take it as a chance to celebrate life by spending time with my family and friends (who are alive), maybe throw a little party and play some music slightly fresher than White Christmas.

    The holidays, however celebrated, aren’t about religion. They are and always have been about huddling around a fire to get through the cold winter alive. They’re about gathering up all your friends and family and hopefully making some fond memories. And given the number of September and October birthdays, they’re about, well, something uptight Christians would be shocked to think about. =)

    Also, the long nights and starving wildlife of winter once provided our ancestors with a steady supply of meat on the not-exactly-frigid African savanna. Without all that protein, we would have been hard pressed to evolve the intelligence we have.

    Who says you can’t have a celebration for somewhat-logical reasons? I’m sick of celebrating dead people and Jesus.

  • http://sideeffectsmayvary.wordpress.com Lily

    To HappyNat – you just made me laugh out loud (the sinister “bwahaha” at the end was an especially nice touch).

    Has Bill O’Reilly started ranting yet about the “War on Christmas”? Until that happens, which is sure to be any day now, I’m not sure we can declare this season’s “war” officially started. :) Have we skipped the “Halloween = Satan” war? I must not have been paying attention.

    I agree with Polly – candles and trees with lights are nice. Heck, some of the music that gets blasted at retail stores around christmas isn’t too bad either…at least initially, though it does grow tiresome when the same 3 songs are played over and over (it’s as if there is only one CD that is mass-distributed to every store across the country).

  • Mriana

    You know, we haven’t had a Christmas tree for about four years now. I never really thought about it though. Yes, we still give each other presents, but we never really saw the tree as that important.

  • Mriana

    I just thought about something that could make everyone happy- religious and non-religious alike. Everyone gets holiday pay from Thanksgiving (or even from Dec. 1 if employers like) until Jan. 2 (or first Monday in Jan.), plus that whole time off from work, school, etc. so everyone can celebrate the holidays in their own little way. :D

    Sound fair?

  • Maria

    I just thought about something that could make everyone happy- religious and non-religious alike. Everyone gets holiday pay from Thanksgiving (or even from Dec. 1 if employers like) until Jan. 2 (or first Monday in Jan.), plus that whole time off from work, school, etc. so everyone can celebrate the holidays in their own little way.

    Sound fair?

    sounds great!

  • Siamang

    Mriana,

    Sounds great, except this is the country where a lot of people seem to think the phrase “Happy Holidays” is an insult, because Christ isn’t given top-billing.

  • Mriana

    Siamang said,

    October 25, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    Mriana,

    Sounds great, except this is the country where a lot of people seem to think the phrase “Happy Holidays” is an insult, because Christ isn’t given top-billing.

    Do I look like I care? :lol: I’m not suggesting holiday pay to give Christ top billing. I’m giving holiday pay to recognize everyone, whether they like it or not. If they don’t like it, then they can work through the holidays. :D :lol:

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    “Happy Holidays” is an insult, because Christ isn’t given top-billing.

    They could save themselves a lot of trouble by using a dictionary.

    O.E. haligdæg, from halig “holy” + dæg “day;” in 14c. meaning both “religious festival” and “day of recreation,” but pronunciation and sense diverged 16c.

  • Eliza

    This year I really hope I can get my rear in gear & set up a nativity scene with Mary, Joseph, the creche with baby Jesus, the animals, the barn, with (of course) a fully decorated Xmas tree in the corner of the barn, menorah on the windowsill, Santa coming down the chimney w/ his sled & reindeer on the roof, and – why not? – Christmas lights around the eaves. Last year it was just an idea…this year it comes to fruition!!

  • Mriana

    Why go through all of that work when you’ll just get tired of it before the holidays are over with and then have to take it all down in a few weeks?

  • Eliza

    Great idea, Mriana – I’ll leave it up all year, add figures of Martin Luther King Jr in January, US Presidents Washington & Lincoln in February (plus cupids & hearts), lambs & eggs & the Easter Bunny in March (oh, and maybe a crucifix, wouldn’t that look interesting in this dolled-up nativity scene)…then Hemant can write a post about it when I get drummed out of town, say April at the very latest. :-)

  • Mriana

    ROFLMBO! That’s too funny, Eliza. Yes, you must have the crucifix for Easter. I’m sure that will get a few heads to turn. The Christians can’t complain, because they use it every day and esp around Advent and Easter time. You could say, “Hey, I’m just trying to celebrate your pagan holiday with you. Isn’t that what you wanted? For everyone to celebrate your holidays?” They would be in a catch-22 with that one. :lol:


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