Friday, December 24, 2004

More Christmas tree assaults 

Penraker has the story of tearing down Christmas trees at the University of Illinois. The assistant housing director there is quoted, student complained about one of the trees. The issue was also raised by an employee in a housing staff meeting and an employee on the housing division's multicultural committee, both of whom noted that "the trees maybe weren't quite as inclusive as we wanted them to be," she said.
"We do want create a festive atmosphere in the dining halls this time of year," she said. "Some things that one person might consider secular, another might find meaning in. I don't want to be the decorations police, but we want everyone to feel comfortable in our spaces and that's the most important thing."
The Christmas tree debate raged again this week at SCSU, where a faculty member wrote to the campus list about his attempt to get greenery back into the student union building.
Pine boughs are not religious. Fir trees preceded Christianity. The display of such greenery is a regionally appropriate response to the bleakness of winter. If we eliminate our culture�s aesthetic displays, we will be left with nothing to decorate Atwood�s walls but commercial displays, and those are, I assure you, ready and waiting to fill such a vacuum.
But to no avail, and when one faculty member posted this story from Australia there was an outpouring of frustrated Merry Christmasers and one killjoy.
Has it escaped the discussants that each of the writers have suggested including everyone, but have highlighted or concluded with "Merry Christmas?"
Has it occurred to the writer that there are no restrictions on wishing someone Happy Hannukah or Happy Kwanzaa? Do you really want me to believe that a housing director somewhere would ask a Jewish student to take down a menorah because it make some Christian student "uncomfortable"?