Tags: Christmas: | The | Forbidden | Word

Christmas: The Forbidden Word

Friday, 09 December 2005 12:00 AM

We have now approached the season in which Christmas is a forbidden word, although thanks to our cultural elites the most vile expressions are perfectly acceptable. Christmas is a word that should be avoided; this is not Christmastime, it is the "holiday season." All sorts of holiday trees are lighted; the name of the holiday that the tree celebrates remains a mystery.

To show how far this has gone, we need only look to the Long Island community of Manhasset on the north shore. There, according to local tradition, a Christmas tree was lighted, with a local priest offering his blessing. Horrors! This was a Christmas tree with a priest offering prayers to God on high.

Naturally, such an occurrence could not be allowed to pass in peace. The supervisor of the town of North Hempstead, who is Jewish, was outraged. Supervisor John Kaiman took to the microphone immediately after the priest, Father Nick Zientarski, had offered his prayer. Said supervisor Kaiman: "I just want to make it clear that this is in no way a religious ceremony ... we're here to celebrate the holiday tree lighting. This is not the place for a religious ceremony."

Now, this is a remarkable thought: The occasion of the lighting of a Christmas tree is not a fit time for religious observance. One wonders what would be a fit time. But then I must apologize for being in error; it was, after all, not a Christmas tree, but a "holiday tree," whatever such a tree is.

When one lights trees at this time of year, one is celebrating Christmas. Hanukah is not celebrated by the lighting of trees. Come to think of it, the Fourth of July is not celebrated by the lighting of trees. The decoration and lighting of a tree means Christmas and only Christmas.

If Christian people, in a country which is almost 90 percent Christian, must hesitate to celebrate in public one of their major religious holidays, it bodes ill for the republic. After all, what security in religious observance would Jews have, for they are only less than 3 percent of the population? Even more basically, when someone comes in peace to express his religious convictions, it bodes ill for the republic if he is forbidden to so act.

This story has a happy Christmas ending. After a flood of telephone calls and e-mails, supervisor Kaiman repented. "In retrospect, after conversations with a number of people including Father Nick Zientarski, there's nothing wrong with calling a Christmas tree a Christmas tree. It was what people expected and what they got and there's nothing wrong with that. I even appreciate that it's OK to have it on public property."

Hallelujah! We progress.

Unfortunately, not all Christmas stories of this type have happy Christmas endings. Too many bigots insert their noses into peaceful celebrations of religious faith. As long as these types keep pointing to the First Amendment, allow me to refresh their memories. About religion, the amendment says "nor interfere with the free exercise thereof." It is time that the elites and the bigots gave due attention to these constitutional rights which all of us have.

In closing, allow this rabbi to offer to the Christian community my sincere wishes for a very merry Christmas filled with all of God's blessings.

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We have now approached the season in which Christmas is a forbidden word, although thanks to our cultural elites the most vile expressions are perfectly acceptable.Christmas is a word that should be avoided; this is not Christmastime, it is the "holiday season."All sorts of...
Christmas:,The,Forbidden,Word
553
2005-00-09
Friday, 09 December 2005 12:00 AM
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