A tree with lights on it and presents underneath is a symbol of Christmas. There is just no getting around this fact. There’s nothing wrong with that, if you ask me – I love Christmas trees. I love Christmas lights more than just about anything. Walking downtown in any city in December and seeing lights on the trees and garlands hung on lampposts cheers me up, no matter how many gifts I still have to purchase with my empty checking account. However, I will never understand why other winter holiday symbols cause problems. See this post in the Portland Mercury Blog.
I wish I were more eloquent and quick-witted, so I could have posted a better comment, but I was too frustrated to see straight, let alone put my thoughts into complete, coherent sentences. Does that man really believe that the tree he put up in Jamison Square is inclusive of all faiths and beliefs? I mean, be honest here, buddy. And what sort of group-think has to be happening for a community association’s board of directors to take down a menorah because a few crazies called in with “negative feedback”? I wonder how much negative feedback Christmas decorations get from non-Christians every year that falls on deaf ears.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the tree should stay. I think anyone who wants to put a tree up in a public place should be able to do so. I just find it ludicrous that this man defends himself by calling it a holiday tree and doesn’t seem to understand why that’s strange. What I’m really worried about is that someone from the board is going to throw a pouting fit and say that from now on, they just won’t put ANY holiday decorations up in the square. How’s THAT for respectful? Are you happy now?!?
My favorite line?
“I told James I guess you could call the Menorah a candle holder if you want, but it’s still a Menorah,” and a Christmas Tree is still a Christmas Tree.”
I also like how the author posted his cell number on the internet for all to see and abuse, just to get the parks liaison to call him back.
Here’s the comment I posted:
I’m really hoping there’s something more to this story that explains why that menorah isn’t there anymore, because otherwise it’s pretty pathetic.
A holiday tree? What holiday can you think of that involves a tree besides Christmas? I suppose there’s Tu B’Shevat, but that’s not for another 6 weeks. And I’m pretty sure there are plans to take that tree down before then.
And I’d be interested to hear what the “negative criticisms or comments” were that Hanberick received regarding the menorah. Because I’m pretty sure any Jewish members of the community could say the same things about the “Holiday Tree.”
What’s wrong with having all of the symbols there? Nobody’s saying you need to take the tree down – it’s great! Keep it there! But how is adding another “candle holder” causing any problems?
Thanks for covering this story. I hope he calls your cell.