The Lamp

Where truth can be shared.

Seattle’s ‘War on Christmas’ an Unnecessary Skirmish

Posted by thelamp on December 14, 2006

The Grinch didn’t steal Christmas from travelers arriving and departing through the Seattle-Tacoma Airport after all. The week started out with another depressing story about removing a traditional Christmas symbol from a public place. Just like the Dr. Seuss tale, though, the saga in Seattle had a happy ending.

Even though such battles over Christmas are completely unnecessary, two powerful emotions fuel them every year: fear and love. Authorities answering to the secular culture fear lawsuits, so they quickly acquiesce and push Christmas in the closet at the feeblest threat.

Christians, on the other hand, love their Lord, Jesus Christ. Those who refused to be silent in Seattle made the difference.

“Christians must not silently watch and do nothing as the birth of Christ and the celebration of his life are minimized and pushed into the obscure corners of American culture,” said Pastor Rod Parsley, founder and president of the Center for Moral Clarity.

This particular drama began when the Port of Seattle was asked to display an eight-foot menorah, giving comparable recognition to the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah. Rather than accommodate that request, which may have led to requests from other religious faiths observing holy days at this time of the year, airport authorities decided that the trees had to be removed.

Removing the Christmas trees may have seemed like the easy way out at the time. Angry Christians proved otherwise. The airport’s tradition had been in place
for more than 25 years, with a tree placed over each of the 15 airport entrances.

This year, a Seattle rabbi – in conjunction with the Central Organization for Jewish Learning – reportedly threatened a lawsuit. Seattle residents didn’t take the news very well. By 9 p.m. Sunday, the Web site for the Seattle Times had received about 800 comments to a story that had topped the front page of the print edition, and rightly so. The celebration of Christianity’s beginning should not be held hostage by timid public officials who cower rather than defend the principle at stake.

It is pleasing to God when Christians resist efforts to accommodate the secular culture by diluting the celebration of Christmas. The trees didn’t have to go. In fact, Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky said he was “devastated, shocked and appalled” that the airport’s reaction was so drastic.

Airport administrators said that, by removing the trees, they hoped to stave off this decision until after the holidays. Removing the trees was a decision and a statement about the significance of religious tradition. Before the complaint was launched, the airport didn’t have a policy regarding Christmas trees because no one had made an issue of it before.

The mere threat of a lawsuit apparently is all it takes to scare public authorities, who lack the faith or will to defend Christianity. The roots of Christmas traditions trace back to the founding of this nation. At this rate, in another generation, they will be but a memory of what once was.

Officials in Seattle made a mistake by removing the trees, but at least arrived at the correct outcome by putting them back in their proper place. America is based on religious freedom, and the expression of religion should not be removed from public places simply to save cowards the inconvenience of defending Christians’ 1st Amendment rights.



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