Letter: Rust / Holiday Decoration incident
Ryan Summerlin December 12, 2012
To the Editor:
I’m writing to describe an event that occurred while decorating for Christmas this year.
I hung an angel that lights up in our front foyer window at our apartment complex. Several days later, our property manager came and asked us to take it down because it might be offensive. Dispirited, I took down the angel and wrote a letter to the complex’s central offices. I await an answer.
First of all, to ask me to remove this because it might offend somebody has offended someone: me and my whole family. It’s offended every single person I’ve told. This incident has offended us collectively much more than a tiny glance at an unoffensive angel might offend anyone.
No one has complained. But if there is the possibility of offending someone, we can’t display something that means more to the heart of Christmas than any other display? Second of all, who is the judge of what is offensive? I can think of no way that my Christmas decoration could be considered offensive.
Asking a Christian family to decorate for Christmas without displaying anything that represents our religion is like asking a Jewish family to decorate for Hanukkah without using a menorah, dreidel, or Star of David. These are essentially the outward signs of the holiday. Christmas is a Christian holiday – I feel a Christmas display that is not mindful of this fact is devoid of all meaning. Most Americans want to follow the First Amendment and not infringe on my freedom of speech, expression or religion.
I am not putting the angel up in Town Hall – it is in my own apartment, looking out my own window. Others can see it, but it is in my own home. If a person has a problem with Christmas, they have a simple choice to make; they can simply not celebrate it at all. But I find it unfair when someone who does not believe in Christmas dictates what I can or cannot display for my own holiday.
Our society is supposed to be one that embraces diversity. Discriminating against an angel display but allowing Santa Claus, Frosty or others is discrimination against all people in the Judeo-Christian Traditions. Tolerance is a big American ideal, and one I fully agree with. All people and all backgrounds deserve tolerance and respect and should be able to decorate for holidays that they celebrate however they choose.