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Jews Strive To Restore Christmas Trees At Seattle Airport



 
 
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  #1  
Old December 12th, 2006, 02:45 AM posted to alt.atheism,alt.abortion,alt.anarchism,rec.travel.air,soc.culture.jewish
Sound of Trumpet
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Default Jews Strive To Restore Christmas Trees At Seattle Airport

http://www.towardtradition.org/index.cfm?PAGE_ID=235



12.11.2006 Jews Strive to Restore Christmas Trees


Jews Strive to Restore Sea-Tac Airport's Christmas Trees

By Rabbi Daniel Lapin



Well here we go again. It is so utterly predictable. Like clockwork.
It's December and time for another skirmish in the annual battle
against Christmas. What compels me to comment is that this time it's
not the usual secular fanatic who's responsible for doing things that
evict Christianity from the culture. No, on this sad and alarming
occasion it's a deeply religious, well-intentioned rabbi who has
unwittingly stumbled into a situation that will place his denomination
(and mine)-Orthodox Judaism-in a terrible, negative light.

For at least ten years, Sea-Tac Airport near Seattle has displayed
several large, beautifully decorated Christmas trees each December.
With lawyer in tow, a local rabbi recently threatened to sue the Port
of Seattle if the airport didn't add a Chanukah menorah to the holiday
display.

Yielding to the ultimatum was not an option for airport management,
skittish at the best of times since 9-11. Understandably, they
interpreted the rabbi's threat as only the first. It would not be
hard to imagine Seattle's Islamic community stepping forward with
their own lawyer to demand a Moslem symbol be included as well.

With deft turn of phrase, Sea-Tac public affairs manager Terri-Ann
Betancourt explained that at the busiest travel time of the year, while
Sea-Tac was focused on getting passengers through the airport, she and
her staff didn't have time "to play cultural anthropologists."

Threatening a lawsuit, I feel, violates the Jewish principle known in
Hebrew as Kiddush HaShem, interpreted in the Talmud, part of ancient
Jewish wisdom, as an action that encourages people to admire Jews. One
need only read the comments on the Internet following the news accounts
of the tree removal, to know that most people are feeling indignant and
hurt. They certainly are not feeling more warmly toward Jews as a
result of this mess.

Here I disclose that I know the rabbi involved, am friendly with him,
and am sure that he didn't intend this outcome. I like him, which
makes it painful for me to point out that when one throws a punch
(which is what bringing a lawyer and threatening to sue is equivalent
to) and one gets decked in return, one cannot plead that one didn't
intend that outcome.

The outcome, whether intended or not, is that now vast numbers of
passengers, most of whom are probably Christian, will be deprived of
the cheerful holiday sight of pretty Christmas trees. What is more,
they will know that their deprivation was caused by a Jewish rabbi.
The rabbi's lawyer told a television reporter, "There is a concern
here that the Jewish community will be portrayed as the Grinch."

No, Mr. Lawyer, it is not that Jews will be "portrayed" as the
grinch. Sadly, now we are the grinch. You made us the grinch.

Now what is to be done? I have three requests:

I am asking every reader of this column to sign a petition on the
Toward Tradition website beseeching Sea-Tac management to restore the
Christmas trees.

I am asking every reader of this column to forward it to others who
might be willing to sign this petition.

I am asking Jews in the Puget Sound region to join national radio host,
Michael Medved, and me in offering our volunteer labor to Sea-Tac. We
hope they will allow us to provide the labor necessary for replacing
the trees so that airport staff need not be deflected from their
important duties.

Why am I, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, so concerned about a few Christmas
trees? Not for a moment do I believe that American Christians will
react to this insult with a flurry of anti-Semitic activity. But I do
feel certain that perhaps in some small way, expelling Christmas
symbolism from the airport makes it just a little harder to protect
America's Christian nature.

For centuries, we Jews suffered in a Europe governed by ecclesiastical
authority. We suffered no less under the secular tyrannies of
communism. Now, in post-Christian Europe, where both government and
population are increasingly secular, anti-Semitism is dramatically on
the rise. In short, we have never thrived under religious government
or within secular cultures.

During the past two thousand years of Jewish history Jews have never
enjoyed a more hospitable home than we enjoy here in the United States
of America.

This is because we have a religiously neutral government and a largely
religious Christian population. Most American Christians love Jews and
support Israel unconditionally because of their commitment to the Bible
and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Evidence from across the
Atlantic persuades me that our lot will deteriorate if America's
population gradually becomes secularized and removing the Christmas
trees makes that disturbing likelihood, over time, more probable. Yes,
public symbols are very important.

Years ago we Jews advocated for full equality. Today, with thirteen
Jewish United States senators, over thirty Jewish congressmen, two Jews
on the Supreme Court, and disproportionate Jewish representation in
media and entertainment, one could reasonably say we have achieved it.
But back then, the only culture in America was Christian. Today,
however, America is home to many faiths, not all of them friendly
towards Judaism.

Today, agitating for Jewish religious representation in the culture
inevitably results not in equating Judaism with Christianity but the
removal of both Judaism and Christianity. In other words, pushing for
the menorah means removal of the Christmas tree and the triumph of
secularism. Europe, both past and present, teaches us that if America
becomes secularized, Jews suffer.

For fifteen years I have insisted that for Jews to oppose Christianity
in America is a mistake. The world today is populated by millions who
harbor festering hatred for Jews. There remains one group of people
who love and support us and they are America's Evangelical
Christians. What possible sense does it make to fight your friends by
stripping their symbols from sight?

When the Moslems invaded Spain, one of their first actions was the
removal of all Christian symbols from public view. Secularism's
invasion of America is attempting exactly the same strategy. I implore
American Jews not to ally themselves with this ill-fated campaign.

We are less than a week from the Jewish holiday of Chanukah during
which our most important religious observance revolves around the
blessings we say over the Menorah. In doing so, we oppose the still
prevalent and ever more dangerous force of secularism.

When times change, unlike dinosaurs, wise organisms adapt. We should
recognize that we all have a stake in protecting Christian symbolism in
the village square (or the airport). The only alternative will be no
religious symbolism at all and make no mistake, secularism's rise is
Judaism's decline.

I spoke to the rabbi involved today and he is genuinely unhappy with
the decision of Sea-Tac airport. I invited him to join the Toward
Tradition petition and I hope he will do so. I urge you also to do
whatever you can to help bring back Sea-Tac Airport's Christmas
trees. Let us all show that we care.

Exactly thirteen years ago, a brick was thrown through a Jewish
home's window in Billings, Montana because inside that window was
displayed a menorah. Within days, over six thousand Christian homes in
Billings protested that anti-religious bigotry by displaying menorahs
in their windows.

I am not suggesting that Jews express their support by displaying
Christmas trees in their windows but I am suggesting that Jews fulfill
the spirit of Chanukah by supporting public expressions of the other
Biblical faith. I don't think that the airport was guilty of
anti-religious bigotry but a weakening of Christianity in America could
become a huge threat. For a start, let us try to restore Sea-Tac
Airport's Christmas trees.





Toward Tradition president, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, is a noted rabbinic
scholar and national public speaker. His radio show broadcasts live
over the Internet on KSFO San Francisco each Sunday 1-4pm PST and is
the author of three best-selling books, Thou Shall Prosper, America's
Real War and Buried Treasure.

  #2  
Old December 12th, 2006, 04:18 AM posted to alt.atheism,alt.abortion,alt.anarchism,rec.travel.air,soc.culture.jewish
Mike Hunt
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Posts: 1,099
Default Jews Strive To Restore Christmas Trees At Seattle Airport

The issue isn't that the Rabbi wanted the Christmas ornaments removed,
but he wanted representation of his religion a this public facility.

That request was denied, even though the last Supreme Court case on the
subject agreed with the Rabbi.

The fact that the airport management took down the Christmas ornaments
leads me to believe that they knew they were in violation of that ruling
.. Why didn't they simply allow the Menorah to be displayed? Could it be
they are anti-semitic
  #3  
Old December 12th, 2006, 04:29 AM posted to alt.atheism,alt.abortion,alt.anarchism,rec.travel.air,soc.culture.jewish
Anarcissie
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Posts: 17
Default Jews Strive To Restore Christmas Trees At Seattle Airport


Mike Hunt wrote:
The issue isn't that the Rabbi wanted the Christmas ornaments removed,
but he wanted representation of his religion a this public facility.

That request was denied, even though the last Supreme Court case on the
subject agreed with the Rabbi.

The fact that the airport management took down the Christmas ornaments
leads me to believe that they knew they were in violation of that ruling
. Why didn't they simply allow the Menorah to be displayed? Could it be
they are anti-semitic


The Christmas tree is a pagan symbol anyway. It is not Christian.

  #4  
Old December 12th, 2006, 05:32 AM posted to alt.atheism,alt.abortion,alt.anarchism,rec.travel.air,soc.culture.jewish
Mxsmanic
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Posts: 5,830
Default Jews Strive To Restore Christmas Trees At Seattle Airport

Mike Hunt writes:

The fact that the airport management took down the Christmas ornaments
leads me to believe that they knew they were in violation of that ruling
. Why didn't they simply allow the Menorah to be displayed? Could it be
they are anti-semitic


Christmas is a secular holiday in the United States. Jewish and
Muslim and other religious holidays are not. If one religious holiday
is acknowledge, they all must be. Christmas is not included because
it's not really a religious holiday in the U.S. (really just a time to
have parties and food and presents).

Of course, with events like this, antisemitism is only encouraged, or
sometimes perhaps even engendered where it didn't exist before.

--
Transpose mxsmanic and gmail to reach me by e-mail.
  #5  
Old December 12th, 2006, 06:27 AM posted to alt.atheism,alt.abortion,alt.anarchism,rec.travel.air,soc.culture.jewish
Mike Hunt
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Posts: 1,099
Default Jews Strive To Restore Christmas Trees At Seattle Airport

Mxsmanic wrote:

Mike Hunt writes:


The fact that the airport management took down the Christmas ornaments
leads me to believe that they knew they were in violation of that ruling
. Why didn't they simply allow the Menorah to be displayed? Could it be
they are anti-semitic



Christmas is a secular holiday in the United States. Jewish and
Muslim and other religious holidays are not.


For many Jewish people, the same is true of Hanukah
  #6  
Old December 12th, 2006, 02:17 PM posted to alt.atheism,alt.abortion,alt.anarchism,rec.travel.air,soc.culture.jewish
Anarcissie
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Posts: 17
Default Jews Strive To Restore Christmas Trees At Seattle Airport


Mike Hunt wrote:
Mxsmanic wrote:

Mike Hunt writes:


The fact that the airport management took down the Christmas ornaments
leads me to believe that they knew they were in violation of that ruling
. Why didn't they simply allow the Menorah to be displayed? Could it be
they are anti-semitic



Christmas is a secular holiday in the United States. Jewish and
Muslim and other religious holidays are not.


For many Jewish people, the same is true of Hanukah


I read that the "Christmas" trees have now been restored.

It would help if Christians would acknowledge that the
Christmas tree is non-Christian. Alternatively, they could
go on believing that it is right for them to impose their
religion on everyone else, as they have in the past, but
be more open about it: 'Here's a Christmas tree in your
face, because we have the power to put it there."

  #7  
Old December 12th, 2006, 04:27 PM posted to alt.atheism,alt.abortion,alt.anarchism,rec.travel.air,soc.culture.jewish
Mark K. Bilbo
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Posts: 143
Default Jews Strive To Restore Christmas Trees At Seattle Airport

On Mon, 11 Dec 2006 19:18:32 -0800, Mike Hunt wrote:

The issue isn't that the Rabbi wanted the Christmas ornaments removed,
but he wanted representation of his religion a this public facility.

That request was denied, even though the last Supreme Court case on the
subject agreed with the Rabbi.

The fact that the airport management took down the Christmas ornaments
leads me to believe that they knew they were in violation of that ruling
. Why didn't they simply allow the Menorah to be displayed? Could it be
they are anti-semitic


It was a good, grandstanding way of getting what they wanted. I understand
that the trees are coming back.

I notice nobody asking why it is tax money has to be spent on ornaments
rather than silly things like, you know, fixing potholes or even something
really absurd like airport security...

--
Mark K. Bilbo
------------------------------------------------------------
"Creationists criticize evolutionists for the demeaning idea
of 'coming from apes' and say that man is more noble than
that, and then have sermons where man is called a miserable
worm worthy to be burned eternally in hell."
-William Bagley
  #8  
Old December 12th, 2006, 05:18 PM posted to alt.atheism,alt.abortion,alt.anarchism,rec.travel.air,soc.culture.jewish
Dan Clore
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Posts: 15
Default Jews Strive To Restore Christmas Trees At Seattle Airport

Anarcissie wrote:
Mike Hunt wrote:

The issue isn't that the Rabbi wanted the Christmas ornaments removed,
but he wanted representation of his religion a this public facility.

That request was denied, even though the last Supreme Court case on the
subject agreed with the Rabbi.

The fact that the airport management took down the Christmas ornaments
leads me to believe that they knew they were in violation of that ruling
. Why didn't they simply allow the Menorah to be displayed? Could it be
they are anti-semitic


The Christmas tree is a pagan symbol anyway. It is not Christian.


That's just one of the ironies of the "war on Christmas"
idiots -- they focus on stuff borrowed from pagan religions.

--
Dan Clore

My collected fiction, _The Unspeakable and Others_:
http://amazon.com/o/ASIN/1587154838/...edanclorenecro
Lord We˙rdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
http://www.geocities.com/clorebeast/
News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

Strange pleasures are known to him who flaunts the
immarcescible purple of poetry before the color-blind.
-- Clark Ashton Smith, "Epigrams and Apothegms"
  #9  
Old December 12th, 2006, 05:55 PM posted to alt.abortion,alt.anarchism,alt.atheism,rec.travel.air,soc.culture.jewish
[email protected]
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Posts: 248
Default Jews Strive To Restore Christmas Trees At Seattle Airport


On 11-Dec-2006, "Anarcissie" wrote:

Mike Hunt wrote:
The issue isn't that the Rabbi wanted the Christmas ornaments removed,
but he wanted representation of his religion a this public facility.

That request was denied, even though the last Supreme Court case on the
subject agreed with the Rabbi.

The fact that the airport management took down the Christmas ornaments
leads me to believe that they knew they were in violation of that ruling
. Why didn't they simply allow the Menorah to be displayed? Could it be
they are anti-semitic


The Christmas tree is a pagan symbol anyway. It is not Christian.


Which, while true, doesn't change anything.

Susan
  #10  
Old December 12th, 2006, 05:56 PM posted to alt.abortion,alt.anarchism,alt.atheism,rec.travel.air,soc.culture.jewish
[email protected]
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Posts: 248
Default Jews Strive To Restore Christmas Trees At Seattle Airport


On 12-Dec-2006, Dan Clore wrote:

The Christmas tree is a pagan symbol anyway. It is not Christian.


That's just one of the ironies of the "war on Christmas"
idiots -- they focus on stuff borrowed from pagan religions.


Yes, it *is* hysterical that the ones who insist they
are upholding Xmas the most are actually using
pagan derived symbols to do it.

Susan
 




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