No decorating a Christmas tree or placing a Chanukah menorah on public land.
But a “winter carnival,” and changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day are no problem?
Ok, got it.
The Durham, New Hampshire, Human Rights Commission has recommended that the town cease its annual Christmas tree lighting tradition on public land out of concern it promotes the Christian faith at the exclusion of others.
The commission was established by the town council for the purpose of eliminating “prejudice and discrimination because of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, place of birth, age, sex, sexual orientation, (and) gender identity,” among a multitude of other categories of people.
The issue of the Christmas tree being a focal point of discrimination came up after the Seacoast Chabad Jewish Center in Durham asked for the menorah to be placed next to the tree, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.
Town Administrator Todd Selig told the paper Durham officials were not comfortable leaving a menorah up during the eight nights of Hanukkah over fear the religious symbol would be vandalized….
The Durham council authorized a one-night event marking the beginning of Hanukkah instead of leaving the menorah on public land.
Selig noted, “The menorah raised a broader concern for me. I have a concern about the display of religious symbols on public property. We should have it for all, or none at all.”….
The Human Rights Commission discussed the matter on Nov. 26, which led to the panel’s recommendation to end its Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
A possible alternative being considered is holding a “winter carnival.”….
Rabbi Berel Slavaticki with Seacoast Chabad Jewish Center told WTBS he is not trying to interfere with the annual Christmas tree lighting tradition.
“The fact that the city allows for some to publicly express their culture is a good thing, and we hope that continues,” Slavaticki said in a statement. “To stop people from openly expressing their particular faith seems un-American and would be a terrible loss for our town and our country.”….
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the right of towns to have Christmas displays, including nativity scenes, as long as they are inclusive of other holiday traditions.