Thursday, November 29, 2007
WTF is wrong with people?
Posted on Thu, Nov. 29, 2007 09:35 AM
Missouri State removes Christmas tree over religious complaint
The Associated Press
SPRINGFIELD | Missouri State University took down a 20-foot Christmas tree after a diversity official reported a complaint about insensitivity to other religions.
As a result, Missouri State officials will meet Friday to discuss appropriate holiday decorations at the state’s second-largest university.
The artificial tree was taken down Monday after Lorene Stone, dean of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs, was told by the co-chair of the president’s diversity commission that a Jewish faculty member said the tree showed “a lack of sensitivity” to those of other religions.
Courts have ruled that Christmas trees are secular symbols if they do not bear religious decorations, such as a cross, said Jana Estergard, head of the school’s Office of Equity and Diversity.
Estergard returned from vacation Wednesday and said she wasn’t aware of the issue, nor had anyone complained to her about the tree.
“The tree is not endorsing Christianity,” she said.
Stone, who put the tree up the day before Thanksgiving, said she didn’t use any religious symbols on it.
“I tried to make it as secular as possible. It had ribbons, bows and fake icicles on it,” she said, adding that she’s very frustrated over the issue. The tree now sits in three pieces in a box in her office.
Stone said Jewish faculty members were invited to put up a menorah display but declined, telling Stone they were worried the display would be stolen.
Diversity commission co-chair Chris Craig said he thought Stone did the right thing by taking the tree down and thinks something positive will come from the Friday meeting.
“This is not about a legal issues. It’s about being more inclusive,” Craig said.