Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Trees at our dumb airport

I'm amazed that the whole country has been talking about what happened at our little Seattle Tacoma International Airport. The Port of Seattle decided to remove Christmas trees from the airport because a local Rabbi threatened a lawsuit. I don't take sides in this because what happened is more of a commentary on how stupid religious symbols have become. Here are some facts about what happened:

1. The Rabbi didn't want the Christmas trees to come down but he was frustrated because the Port of Seattle ignored his request for awhile to place a Menorah as part of the seasonal display. For whatever reason they only responded to his correspondence when a lawyer representing the Rabbi's group pointed out that the law was not on the side of the Port.

2. The Port of Seattle realized that their biggest vulnerability was not having a policy regarding decorations. Because a policy wasn't in place it would just appear that they put up trees and decorated them in the month of December without giving it much thought...just like normal people.

3. The Christmas Tree is not a religious symbol but the Menorah is.

4. The Rabbi regrets threatening a lawsuit but wonders openly why it took the possibility of a lawsuit to get the attention of the Port of Seattle. I wonder this too.

5. It's funny that outspoken non-Christians are hung up about the Christmas tree while at the same time many Christians I know feel that the secularized celebration of Christmas is distracting from the true religious components of the holiday. They even have a slogan: "Remember the Reason for the Season."

6. Christmas is more of a cultural holiday than anything else. I don't know any non-Jews that celebrate Hannakah, but I know scores of non-Christians who celebrate Christmas and have a Christmas tree.

7. Christmas is a national holiday.

I'm done with the facts for now. I think the Port of Seattle did the right thing. It took this extreme act to show just how dumb this had all become. In Seattle we're used to this type of thing going on all the time but the outcome usually never ends the way anyone wants it. Not this time however, the trees are going back up and with the blessing of the Rabbi. I'd like to think this is a sign that we totally haven't lost our minds.


Gino said...

thats all we needed? a rabbi's blessing over our christmas trees?

pesronally, i'm thinking we give waaay too much power to some dude representing 1-3% of the population.

screw the rabbi.
i been to WA. the place is literally overgrown with christmas trees. all they need is lights and tinsel. he should have been used to the sight of christmas-looking trees without menorahs alongside them by now.

robert the grump said...

What a great opportunity. Mel Gibson can come to Seattle to light the new menorah at SeaTac. Kill two birds with one stone.

The Port of Seattle overreacted at first, but to everyone's credit, this has been worked out logically. If this had happened in Oregon, they'd be overrun with anarchists demanding representation for devil worshipers.

Tracy said...

Well said Grump.

We'll have Mel Gibson come in for the menorah lighting and possibly Kramer come in for a Kwanzaa ceremony. It's not often something so logical occurs after a Seattle-ish overreaction so it's really a good sign.

Also, I'd like to concur with your assessment that Oregon is retarded.

little-cicero said...

Well, travelers stuck in this airport on Christmas Eve will have this nutjob rabbi to thank when they find themselves without a tree in sight- not even such a small consolation to make up for the misery of their situation. What a selfish SOB. This airport is doing this purely to lift the spirits of its employees and clientel- there is not really any other reason to spend the money on this- which makes it even more of a shame.

This obsession with absolute representation is no doubt due to the liberal ideals this nation was founded upon, but ultimately this is one of those things which should be purely personal. Why couldn't the airport just make an argument as concise as you did, primarily that you can't have a religious symbol in a public sphere, and stick to it. Really the only comparable symbol which could have been used was a dradle- a traditional, cultural holiday symbol.