Rabbi Marc Gellman writes about religion for Newsday.
We work in the health services office of a large university with a very diverse student population. For fear of offending others, some administrators want to institute a policy that would forbid us from putting up Christmas decorations, including Santas, garlands, lights and Christmas trees, and in the spring they want no bunnies, chicks or eggs for Easter. We're not offended by other religious celebrations or their decorations, and feel anyone should be able to decorate and celebrate holidays as they see fit. What are your thoughts on the matter?
-- Puzzled employees
In my opinion, you're right and they're wrong. Bring on the Christmas trees and Hanukkah menorahs. I'm not offended by twinkling lights. I don't even wish people happy holidays. I say, "merry
Christmas or happy Hanukkah or happy winter solstice," whichever applies. Then, instead of just passing by, I often get into an actual conversation.
Displaying crosses at work to celebrate Easter or manger scenes during the Christmas season does cross the line, but even these things don't make my blood boil. Let's reserve our expressions of outrage for starving kids and drive-by shootings.
* * *
My recent column on funny church signs generated a flood of responses. Here are some new entries in the competition:
From L.: My church once put up a sign that said, GOD CREATED MOTHERS BECAUSE HE COULDN'T BE EVERYWHERE.
From D.: Seen outside Christ
Episcopal Church in Guilford, Conn.:
PARKING FOR CHURCH BUSINESS ONLY. ALL OTHERS WILL BE SPIRITED AWAY.
From C., somewhere in South Florida: COME AS YOU ARE. GOD WOULD HAVE YOU NO OTHER WAY.
From M.: I just wanted to share another sign I saw right after Pope John Paul II passed away: REVIVAL CANCELED DUE TO DEATH.
From J.: DIDN'T GET WHAT YOU WANTED FOR CHRISTMAS? BE GLAD YOU DIDN'T GET WHAT YOU DESERVE.
From D.: GOD WANTS FULL CUSTODY, NOT JUST WEEKEND VISITS
From S.: WHEN YOU THROW MUD, YOU LOSE GROUND.
From M: CHRIST HAS RISEN. BINGO BEGINS TODAY AT 7:30 P.M.
From L.: DON'T MAKE ME COME DOWN THERE. GOD.
Another L. wrote: FREE TRIP TO HEAVEN. INQUIRE WITHIN.
From W: Recently, I saw two different signs at different locations. One said, BLESS AND CURSE NOT and the other said, YOU BECOME WHAT YOU BEHOLD.
From B. of Commack, who sent two from vacation in Hawaii: DON'T BOTHER TO GIVE GOD INSTRUCTIONS; JUST REPORT FOR DUTY, and this one, which is deep but not funny: NO THORNS, NO THRONE. NO GALL, NO GLORY. NO CROSS, NO CROWN.
My runner-up winner is wordless. G. of West Babylon sent me a photo of a church in Bay Shore. Right next to the tall steeple on the roof was a satellite TV dish almost as tall as the steeple. G. wrote: "Talk about getting the word first hand!"
And now, my personal choice for the grand prize, from Clays Mill Road Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky.: WHOEVER STOLE OUR AC UNITS, KEEP ONE. IT IS HOT WHERE YOU'RE GOING.
You also may be interested in:
More coverageGod Squad: Evil comes from us, not God
God, we're told, is a loving God. He's not at fault for wars. Wars areGod Squad: Freedom of speech demands great responsibility
I'm not a race-baiter, an Islamophobe, or an anti-Semite. I also don't stand up inGod Squad: Free will is God's greatest gift to humanity
My recent reply to a question on free will generated lots more questions and comments