Saturday, December 02, 2006

This is a manger scene?

Excerpt from:
W.Va. city's Xmas scene has no Jesus
By TOM BREEN, Associated Press Writer
Fri Dec 1, 6:31 PM ET

Christ is missing from Christmas in this small town. The community's holiday display has a manger with shepherds, a guiding star, camels and a palm tree, but no baby Jesus, Mary or Joseph.
The parks superintendent said Jesus was left out because of concerns about the separation of church and state. But Mayor Dick Callaway said it was done for purely technical reasons: "It's not easy to put a light-up representation of a baby in a small manger scene, you know."
In recent years, some communities around the country have dropped nativity scenes after the displays were challenged as unconstitutional. Some communities have tried to head off legal problems by incorporating nonreligious symbols, or symbols of more than one faith, to avoid the appearance of endorsing one religion over another.
David Cunningham, parks superintendent in this town of 11,000, initially insisted St. Albans' display was not even technically a manger scene because he was concerned about possible lawsuits. But the mayor said such anxieties were unwarranted.
"We have a manger scene," the mayor said.

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Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

This isn't the whole article, but this is all the story about the St Albans display. What's funny to me about this is that you would go to the trouble to get all the other trappings of a nativity scene, and then leave out the three main characters! What are you representing in leaving them out? And it's not about competing seasonal symbols; i.e. Santa Claus, elves, Rudolph, Frosty, menorahs, et al. If you realize that you can't properly illuminate the central characters of the manger scene, you don't just leave them out and keep the rest! AND, even if it is for political correctness, as the park superintendent asserts, isn't it still problematic, since it still depicts the historical event, even without the central figures? Wise men and shepherds kneeling in worship to. . . an empty space in a stable. On second thought, maybe that is the perfect depiction of the Christmas question. What are we doing here?

I'm not a major contender in "The Christmas Wars." I don't care if you tell me Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings. With all the holidays going on this time of year, those comments at least take all of them in. If you want to be true to the historical spirit of the season, then let's wish everyone a Happy Saturnalia! It was here before we were celebrating Christ's birth on that date, after all. My brilliant sister came up with her own ingenious twist on the holiday greeting scuffle. She's going to wish people a Happy Monday/ Tuesday/ Wednesday, or whatever!
"Merry Christmas!" "And a Happy Saturday to you!"

1 comment:

sipmac said...

Shame on those guys!