Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ban political correctness, not the Christmas tree.

Toronto, Canada — A judge's order to have a Christmas tree moved from the lobby of an Ontario courthouse for fear it would offend non-Christians backfired Thursday, drawing the ire of everyone from the Muslim Canadian Congress to Premier Dalton McGuinty...

"This is stupidity and takes political correctness to new heights," said Farzana Hassan, president of the Muslim Canadian Congress.

"We should ban political correctness, not the Christmas tree."

"We're not asking any one of the wonderful communities that make up our province to somehow abandon their traditions," said Mr. McGuinty... "What we're saying is, let's share in those opportunities, let's better understand those celebrations." The Ontario legislature celebrated the Hindu holiday of Diwali a few weeks ago, the Islamic holiday Eid shortly afterward, and will mark Hannukah next week with the lighting of a menorah, Mr. McGuinty noted.

The Canadian Jewish Congress agreed it would have been a nice gesture to include decorations from other faiths, but opted not to dignify what it considered a non-issue....

"The presence of the Christmas tree is a symbol for a lot of people — believing Christians and perhaps non-believers — of a joyous holiday, and we respect that and acknowledge that."

"Our tradition in Canada has been one of including and celebrating all of these holidays and it has not been controversial and it isn't controversial in the vast majority of the 160 plus courthouse locations that we have in Ontario," (Ontario Attorney General Michael) Bryant said. "The tree, he said, is still on prominent display at the courthouse."

+ The whole article with reader comments.
+ Another article with reader comments.

Another Christmas incident in 2002 sparked backlash from the public when city hall officials put out a news release calling its giant tree at Nathan Phillips Square (City Hall) a "holiday tree."
Then-mayor Mel Lastman, who is Jewish, ordered staff to call it a Christmas tree. He then introduced a bylaw that prohibits the tree from being given any other name.


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