It’s time for a Rant

I think it’s time we stop children, what’s that sound, everybody look what’s going down

In life you are faced, oftentimes with two choices. You can do what’s easy, what’s popular, what’s cool and will give you the largest amount of social nods…or you can do what’s right, what’s moral, what’s ethical and what’s just.

There’s a lot of noise being made by those who don’t fully understand all the issues at play with the airport removing their christmas trees.

Christmas Trees (while actually coming from the Pagan Traditions) are just that in modern days, Christmas Trees. If your Christian, the odds are you will see them as representing the holiday’s as a whole (because for you, they do). If you’re not Christian, the odds are that you won’t. Personally, I think they’re pretty and I enjoy seeing the Christmas Tree in the UB Student Union all lit up and covered in our school colors and I make an attempt to see the tree in NYC every season as well (it’s Gorgeous this year, by the way).

However, the Rabbi wasn’t and isn’t a fanatic. He was actually appalled that they took down the trees (which isn’t what he was asking for). He also wasn’t asking to have a giant, monolithic menorah that conquers all setup so he can get into a “‘mine is bigger than yours’ squabble.” All he was asking for, was the exact same thing we have in our Student Union: a Christmas Tree, right next to a large Menorah (large so it is visible) so everyone can be included in the festivities. The more the merrier. It wasn’t an unreasonable request. He wasn’t requesting thirty of them to also line the driveway alongside the Christmas Trees that do…just one. Considering that Jesus, himself, was Jewish (he was born a Jew and he died a Jew, I know…sometimes people forget that)…not an unreasonable or a fanatic thing to ask for. In all reality, it probably cost them more money and time to take those trees down than to put up one Menorah.

Sadly, no one who’s raising the shield in defense of Christmas is stopping to ask what the real motives were for taking down the trees instead of making a culturally sensitive decision that would have been more financially sound and easier to implement. The fact that they didn’t want to play ‘cultural anthropologist’ is a pathetic excuse. There are a select few holidays that go around this time of the year (Yule, Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, New Years and I believe I may be forgetting one) and it doesn’t take a lot to recognize all of them. All it takes is being considerate. And if they did their best, and forgot one, and someone brought it to their attention…it doesn’t take a whole lot to recognize that one either.

Christmas trees are not the universal symbol of the holiday season and they never will be. A hard pill to swallow for some, the fact that they will continually have to recognize that they’re not the only one’s on the planet. Christmas Trees are one symbol representing (as far as I am aware) two faiths (Pagan & Christian). They do not, however, represent others who have a holiday around this time of the year.

To ask for people to be unified and act together as one at the holiday time while at the same time demanding that they bow down and recognize one groups symbol and have their holiday ignored and are portrayed as scheisters if they speak out against an injustice, is a disgrace; even more so given how easy it really is to accommodate everyone (and from a business sense, the more people you accommodate, the more return and future customers you have which means more profits for your company which in turn means more and better reputation, promotions, and marketing and the cycle goes on).

As for those making reference to Starbucks bowing to the ‘P.C. Gods’ by offering a holiday blend as well as a Christmas blend; guess what I have a shocker for you: everyone isn’t Christian, so this way, people who are Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, Shinto, Jewish or otherwise who may or may not celebrate a holiday (other than New Years…if that…because also shocking, this isn’t everyone’s New Year) this time of the year can be included as well. Being accepting of other people, and trying to make everyone feel at home and welcome isn’t an attack on Christmas…it’s following the teachings of Jesus and living in Christ’s spirit.

As far as a congressman wishing to take his oath of office on the Koran instead of on the Bible; good for him. Muslim’s are not our enemy. No he isn’t doing it “to be different.” Nor is he doing it to give Radical Muslims the ability to rally for who knows what (and the fact that a few people even suggested that as a reason for his actions, points to the deepest levels of bigotry that are currently at levels of epidemic proportions within our country). He’s doing it because he wants to use the book of his faith. Good for him. As a matter of fact, if he wanted to use the Little Engine That Could because the contents are what he finds represents his qualities (never giving up, working with others, trying to be positive in all aspects of his life and perseverance) I’d support him in his decision.

Personally, I won’t take an oath on the Torah, on the Bible or on any other Holy Book. While as a man of faith, I take the teachings of the Torah to heart, as a man of science I cannot prove them to be true; which is why I swear on the OED…while there may be a lie of omission, the words within are veracious and accurate.

Too many people forget that this country was founded on the genocide of the Native Americans, on the Blood of the African American’s and the sweat of immigrants. They forget that this country was not actually discovered by Christopher Columbus and that the eventual founding of a new government was done so by a bunch of radicals…and perhaps most importantly, the reason the Puritans came here in the first place was, among others, to escape religious persecution.

The world has hundreds of religions (the Pagan faiths contain over over 98 branches); the Jewish faith has numerous branches too (all of which argue with themselves and with each other…a long tradition that we’re proud to uphold from generation to generation) and there’s enough room for everyone on this planet “if everyone will just get up and make some room”1

Now, play nice in the sandbox and have a Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Wonderful Kwanzaa, Happy (Somber?) Post Ramadan, Merry Yule, Wonderful Chanukah (with every version of transliterated spellings you wish to find, we’re being diverse, remember?) and of course, a Merry Festivus.

1 – The quote is from Pete’s Dragon. It’s a fantastic movie. Everyone should watch it.