Just past the Homeland Insecurity Checkpoint there used to be a Christmas tree in Sea-Tac airport. Indeed there used to be several, fourteen to be exact. And since we have a rather conservative government at this juncture you might not expect the Grinch to be allowed on Federal Property. After all, they just put up the White House Christmas Tree. But nonetheless its all over the news today that Sea-Tac airport has taken down all its Christmas trees and decorations for fear of offending one Grinch or another. When the trees came down this past week it gave new meaning to the word over the door of the building--- Terminal! Seems Christmas in the public sphere has a terminal illness. Whereever it's displayed in a public space it leads to that virulent disease-- offendisimus grinchitis.
Now you might have expected in the Pacific-Northwest that trees would not be found offensive! After all, logging and Christmas trees are a major industry up there. And even if you take into account the pagan atmosphere of a good deal of that region, tree rituals have been a part of pagan religion forever. And what was that about Seattle being the most TOLERANT city in the U.S.? I guess they won't be listing that in the chamber of commerce's next brochure for that beautiful city.
Did it occur to anyone that Christmas trees are not a Biblical tradition but in fact a much later Christmas tradition? Did it occur to anyone that a vital part of our American tradition is the Judeo-Christian religious traditions which the vast majority of Americans subscribe to? What happened to democracy when it comes to holiday expressions in the public sphere? We could continue to enumerate questions like Christmas gifts one on top of another, but they all amount to asking --What's Wrong with This Picture? In fact you will find far more tolerance of the celebration of Christmas in some Moslem countries I frequent than in some places in America.
G.K. Chesterton once said that America was a nation with the soul of a church. Today it might be better to say that, in view of actions like the ones taken at Sea-Tac, we are acting more like an intolerant church with the soul of a pagan nation. And there is a world of difference. May the Christ child have mercy on us all, intolerant sinners.