Tuesday, December 12, 2006

No War on Christmas? Think About It

At left, Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky/Chai Center of Greater Seattle.

By Lisa Haddock
Faith Forum Editor

Is there a war on Christmas? Some say this issue is a figment of the right-wing imagination. But recent events at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport suggest otherwise.

Responding to a threatened a lawsuit from a Chabad/Lubavitch Hasidic rabbi, Port of Seattle authorities removed Christmas trees.

Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky was pushing to have a Hanukkah menorah erected at the facility. When officials didn’t comply, the rabbi threatened an immediate court fight. Rather than slugging it out, Sea-Tac took down the decorations. After a huge public outcry, Bogomilsky backed down, and Monday the airport decided to put back the trees.

The rabbi’s attorney, Harvey Grad, said Bogomilsky wasn’t asking for the trees to be removed. The lawyer also complained that the rabbi had received odious calls and messages. According to the now-defunct King County Journal, the rabbi is "trying to figure out how this is consistent with the spirit of Christmas."

I would submit that the spirit of Christmas is not the rabbi’s area of expertise. I also submit that anyone who starts a fight shouldn’t be surprised if he takes a punch or two in the face.

Air travel can be unpleasant at any time of the year. And the Christmas season makes for more stress on the traveler. (And notice that I did say “Christmas.”) The sight of Christmas trees reminds travelers of the reason for their journeys.

They are going to see relatives for a celebration of Christianity’s second-most important feast day. Even for the non-religious, Christmas is a cherished season, brimming with gifts, festive meals and family traditions.

For those who bristle at the suggestion that there is a war on Christmas, I suggest: Prove it.

I wish the rabbi the utmost success in placing his menorah in public places. But don’t make it a fight. Don’t force the issue in court, and don’t do it at the expense of Christmas. And don't be surprised if people take this issue personally.

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irving said...

Welcome back after your long absence :) Actually, there is a war on Chrismas, but it is being waged by the relentless commercialism of the season, and we are all the losers for it.

Peace and Many Blessings!

Jan Fredericks said...

If they put the menorah on a public place, then a nativity scene should be there also.