Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Philly's War on German Christmas

I think I know what the letters to the editor are going to be about for the next few days...:
"It's that season again, which means that for the third year in a row, the German Christmas Village has set up a cozy collection of wooden booths and tree vendors in Dilworth Plaza on the west side of City Hall.

But a few shoppers noticed something amiss yesterday on the tall metal archways signaling the entrances to the shops. The archways had just one word on top - 'Village.'

Sounds festive, eh?

It turns out that the letters spelling 'Christmas' were removed yesterday afternoon from the archways on the north and west sides of the plaza, at the request of Managing Director Richard Negrin. They will be replaced with the word 'Holiday.'

City spokesman Mark McDonald said Negrin asked for the change after the city received complaints from workers and residents."

Meh. I can't bring myself to get as worked up as the talk radio hosts are surely going to get today, but then again I think it's important for city government not to favor one religion over another -- and I'd rather it tred carefully, even a bit stupidly, in being faithful to that precept. Rather than make them change the name, though, the city could've done two things: make the German Christmas villagers go elsewhere next year, or make sure that every religious group gets a chance to publicly celebrate its major holidays at Dilworth Plaza. The city's action -- after hosting the village for two years already -- seems designed to elicit the maximum anger possible.

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