I find it very displeasing that there is a crèche labeled “Keep Christ in Christmas” on Beacon city property between the Visitor’s Center and fire station.
Whatever your feelings or heritage, it should be clear as Americans that we do not permit our civil apparatus to promote a particular religious ideology. “Keep Christ in Christmas,” moreover, is a politicized rallying cry that has an unsavory track record.
The risk of costly legal action alone should spur level-headed politicians to agree that the crèche does not belong on city property.
Erik Hoover, Beacon
This display would be deeply offensive at any time, but is all the more so in the current atmosphere where a wave of white Christian nationalism is sweeping the country and violence against visible non-Christians is rising. Thank you for bringing this hateful message to our attention.
Regardless of political skew, no one needs racial stigma and propaganda tied wildly to a mainstream faith. Can we try to gently disagree without maligning millions of innocent people?
I see nothing wrong with it. I believe it’s sponsored by the Knights of Columbus from other pictures I’ve seen.
The fact that people see nothing wrong with it is exactly the problem. In December, people in the U.S. celebrate many holidays, born of many different religions. Choosing to recognize only one belief system is anti-American, and goes against the very principles this country was founded on, as much as you may want to re-write them to support your own.
Aside from the propriety or legality of the creche on public property, the Christmas message of peace on earth to all men is a much needed reminder to all.
As long as it is on a common area (town commons and not the town hall), and it is paid for by a group and not the local government, and open to other religions to also display their religious icons, then it is legal. That was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court years ago.
And as long as people accept that Satanists could set up a display, and Muslims, and Hindus, then we are fine. If you protest any other group putting up its display, then we have a problem. If you get to post yours and expect it to be respected, but you cannot respect another religion or belief system following the same rules, then you lose your right to display yours.
Anyone offended by public displays based on the Judeo-Christian beliefs our country was founded upon should take note of what the Founding Fathers had to say about the role of religion in the forming of the country. Praise of God and petition to Him were rampant. It’s hard to find an important document of the time that didn’t mention our debt to the Almighty. The men who formed out nation didn’t hide their beliefs under a bushel. No one was forced to believe; everyone was free to express their beliefs to the world.
While I agree that civil apparatus should not be used to promote a particular religious ideology, there is also a menorah on the same property. The crèche is provided by the Knights of Columbus, of which I am a member. The organization was founded as a fraternal benefit society of Catholic faith on the founding principles of charity, unity and fraternity. The charity by the Knights of Columbus is not limited to those of Catholic faith.
If you do not believe in Christ, keep in mind that the celebration of Christmas without Christ is not free of religion. Should we also not have a Christmas tree on city property because of its association with the pagan god Tammuz? Keeping Christ in Christmas to me means to respect Jesus’ lessons of love, tolerance, forgiveness and charity and so all religious expressions are to be welcomed. The message of Christmas to me is that we should love thy neighbor as thyself.
As a member of the Beacon Knights of Columbus I want to thank you for printing a photo of our crèche. Sad to say, a letter here in opposition to the crèche in Beacon’s Polhill Park went so far as to hint at litigation against the city for its removal. The letter had a few easily corrected errors. Apparently the writer was not aware of the manger scene in New York’s Central Park near the Plaza nor the one in Mesier Park in Wappinger Falls to name just two public places where Christmas Manger scenes are welcome. Both have been there for years with no problem. The U.S. Supreme Court has deemed it perfectly constitutional to allow religious displays in public places and parks so long as the spaces are available to all groups on an impartial basis under local supervision.
It should be remembered that the first freedom listed in the Bill of Rights is freedom of religion. It was that important to the Founders! So, in this sense the sign “Keep Christ in Christmas” that so offended the letter writer makes perfect sense since this is the time Christ’s birthday has been celebrated for almost two millennia. It’s a happy reminder of the roots of a holiday threatened to be overwhelmed by crass commercialism. Lastly, the author’s mis-aimed slight about such a sign being “a rallying cry” with “an unsavory track record” has been many times refuted, most recently by the acclaimed sociologist and historian Rodney Stark in his book “Bearing False Witness.” It’s well worth the read not only by the letter writer but all looking to dispel some popular anti-Christian misinformation. Keep up the good work.