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"The great Seattle airport Christmas tree mess"
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
The great Seattle airport Christmas tree mess
By Jeffrey Hadden
The Detroit (MI) News
The great Seattle airport Christmas tree mess represents the perfect
confluence of the hyper-sensitive and the hyper-cautious.
A rabbi complains that an airport array of Christmas trees should be
accompanied by a menorah, and the airport authorities immediately take down
all the trees. Christmas trees are associated with Christmas, but they are a
cultural, not a religious, symbol, unlike a menorah, and probably had pagan
origins. The good rabbi should have just sucked it up and dealt with the
fact that at Christmas time, there will be Christmas trees in public places
and they won't always be exquisitely balanced with other cultural symbols.
(Though he certainly shouldn't have been subjected to abusive e-mails or
The airport authorities' panic was unnecessary, and subjected them to
national ridicule. They've now reinstated the Christmas trees, which
demonstrates that they didn't have to take them down in the first place.
The rights of minorities should be respected, but those rights shouldn't
extend to what amounts to a veto over harmless cultural celebrations the
majority can enjoy. That's a bit passive-aggressive. Speaking as a member of
a minority -- a political conservative in American journalism -- sometimes
you just have to deal with not being in the majority and move on.
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