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sunshine

Only in Florida. X'mas tree banned.

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Two news thougt I would share with you guys

Fla. County Bans Christmas Trees From Public Buildings

POSTED: 1:32 am EST December 17, 2004

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. -- Pasco County officials have banned Christmas trees from public buildings in a move that one constitutional law group said Thursday was "the most extreme example of censorship imaginable."

The last of the Christmas trees were removed Wednesday after the county attorney said they were religious symbols, said Dan Johnson, assistant county administrator for Public Services.

The county either had to allow all religious symbols or none, he said.

"What you allow for one you must provide for all," Johnson said.

Pasco County, with nearly 400,000 residents, is a fast-growing area that has a mix of rural and urban areas and whose population has grown due to the urban sprawl that has crawled north from Tampa.

The American Center for Law & Justice said the decision was based on a flawed understanding of the law. Senior counsel Francis Manion said Christmas trees are legally considered a secular symbol for the observance of a national holiday: Christmas.

"They don't seem to understand the law, quite frankly, especially in concern with Christmas trees," Manion said.

The center's chief counsel, Jay Sekulow, said in a press release that "this is the most extreme example of censorship imaginable."

The center asked the county Tuesday to reverse the decision.

Johnson said the decision would stand through the holidays, but it would be reviewed next year and he welcomed advice.

"If they have something, I wouldn't mind getting it," Johnson said, explaining that he would pass any information along to the county attorney.

Johnson said he heard from dozens of people who were unhappy with the decision.

"Christmas is a federal holiday, Christmas is a widespread tradition and I think the attempt to remove any decorations that refer to Christmas or the nativity are simply ridiculous," said Gary Hatrick, 47, associate editor at the Zephyrhills News in Pasco County.

Previously, the county allowed the display of Christmas trees, but not religious symbols, Johnson said. Recently, a man wanted to display a menorah at a public building. He said that when the county attorney investigated whether the menorah could be displayed, the attorney decided that Christmas trees were also religious symbols.

Pasco County is just north of the Tampa area on Florida's gulf coast.

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Judge: Town Must Allow Woman To Display Christmas Decorations

POSTED: 1:23 am EST December 17, 2004

UPDATED: 1:26 am EST December 17, 2004

BAY HARBOR ISLANDS, Fla. ( -- A federal judge has ruled that a resident must be allowed to display Christian decorations alongside a public Jewish holiday display.

Resident Sondra Snowdon had sued the town of Bay Harbor Islands after it rejected her requests for the decorations.

Town leaders put up six Stars of David and a giant menorah in 2001 after some Jewish residents requested them. Two years later, Snowdon requested Christian decorations, but was turned down.

She made the same request this year and sued on December Second after the city denied her request to include four nativity scene banners.

In the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Miami, Snowdon claimed that the town had violated her civil rights. The suit named the town, City Manager Greg Tindle and Mayor Isaac Salver as defendants.

U.S. District Court Judge Cecilia Altonaga ruled yesterday that the town favored Judaism by having a menorah in its display next to the toll bridge over the Broad Causeway.

The town is required to tell the court in writing how they will include Christian symbols in the causeway display.

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This is getting ridiculous. It's bad enough that most places ban nativities on a holiday with the word "Christ" in it. Now the secular holiday aspect is getting banned?

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This is very extreme. I understand to a point the banning of nativity scenes, and crosses, because they are religous, but that goes for Jewish, Muslim symbols too. But IMO a Christmas Tree is seculiar and has little to do with religion. You can seperate church and state, but standard non-religous holiday symbols should remain.

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They repealed the restriction on Christmas trees. Guess they figured out it wasn't a religious symbol after all. :lol:

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The month of December isn't a competition. I think all holidays and decorations should be displayed, with pride in the diversity of our country. I don't get offended by seeing the Jewish and African holiday traditions, even though I celebrate Christmas. If anything, I'd be annoyed by seeing an overly-secular Christmas, as it tends to leave out the real reason for Christmas. (see my sig, lol)

I'm just afraid that political correctness will hinder all of the spirit, joy, and decoration of all of our holidays. In order to avoid offending someone, we could eventually resort to removing ALL of the decorations.

"Oh my, those lights are a religious symbol, they must be removed!"

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Granted it got repealed, but this upsets me. Whatever happened to religious freedom and religious tolerance? Weren't those once pillars of a fledgling United States?

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The separation of church and state only meant that the government couldn't set up and run a church. The King/Queen of England is the head honcho of the Church of England, and this lead to some tyrannical stuff back in the day, which is one of the reasons people wanted to leave England for America, hence the need for a church independant of government. It does not mean that people shall be free from seeing religion things as they go about thier lives. I think that tolerence of all things is necessary, and Christianity is one of them.

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But IMO a Christmas Tree is seculiar and has little to do with religion.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree. Gosh, probably almost half of my friends who are reformed Jewish celebrate a token Christmas anyway, just because it tends to be more convenient.

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^lol, my Jewish friends celebrate Hanukah as well as a secular Christmas. They call their tree a "Hanukah Bush".

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Actually the choosing of the date, Dec 25th for Christmas by the Anglcans, was in deference to the Pagan celebration that had taken place on that date for centuries.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

What was so special about December 25th?

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It's close to the winter solstice. Many pagan holidays were based on the changing of the seasons. See Easter as well.

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Actually the choosing of the date, Dec 25th for Christmas by the Anglcans, was in deference to the Pagan celebration that had taken place on that date for centuries.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

What does that have to do with a Christmas tree being a religious symbol or not?

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