Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tempest in a Sea-Tac

Unwelcome as the annual office party, prickly as a clove-studded orange, as mildly nauseating as a little too much eggnog, the annual tempest in a teapot has erupted somewhere over the "war on Christmas". This time a Rabbi threatened to sue Seattle-Tacoma International Airport unless a menorah display was erected next to the airport's largest Christmas tree. Faced with the terrifying spectre of benign expression of multiple faiths , the airport authorities jerked their knees in the direction of the graveyard-shift maintenance crews, who were ordered to take down all eight of the airport's Christmas trees overnight. (The Port Authority's belated rationale: if they put up a menorah they might have to put up displays from other religions as well, something the staff didn't have time for during the busy holiday season. Damn those pushy Hindus and their multi-armed holiday statue displays, those Buddhists with their chubby December decorations and the Muslims, with their ban on iconograpy, the worst of all!)

So everyone was unhappy, and with good cause, as I can think of current wars in the Middle East which have been handled with more forethought and tact.

Rabbi Mark Gellman gets the tone just about right in his column on the holiday fiasco. How much fuss we could save ourselves if we stopped trivializing important issues!

The good news? Sanity prevails, long after the Rabbi and the Port Authority managed to get everybody mad at them in particular, and Jews and pig-headed beaurocrats in general. The airport will put its trees back, the Rabbi won't sue, and next year the Jewish community will be consulted on the holiday display. Which suggests that a menorah may in fact go up. Expect a staff-drowning avalanche of other religous imagery and display to follow. Or not.




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