Well, conservatives are beating the drums of war, and this time it’s about that old conservative saw: the alleged liberal/ACLU “War on Christmas”. Of course, we all know it’s not a war on Christmas, but actually a war on unconstitutional government endorsement of religion, but conservatives don’t like to let facts get in the way of a good rant.
Here’s one fact, however, that’s hard to ignore: the ACLU threatened to sue a county government in Hawaii last year if they didn’t put a Christmas tree up.
County workers raised a festive tree at the Kalana O Maui Building Wednesday with just five days to go before Christmas, after receiving a letter from the American Civil Liberties Union warning that the existing holiday display of a Hanukkah menorah was unconstitutional. The letter threatened a federal lawsuit if the display was not corrected.
?That?s fine, to have the menorah up, but it needed to be part of a holiday display that was secular in nature,? said Deputy Corporation Counsel Traci Fujita-Villarosa. ?We?re just adding to the holiday decorations.?
In its letter to the county sent Tuesday, the ACLU cited case law that found government displays of religious symbols on their own could be perceived as an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. But government displays that included secular holiday symbols, like Christmas trees, alongside religious symbols, did not endorse religion.
?The goal of the ACLU is not to ruin the celebration of Hanukkah or any other religious holiday, but rather to ensure that the government does not endorse the views of one religion to the exclusion of others,? wrote ACLU Legal Director Lois Perrin.
And the rabbi who originally asked for the menorah to go up? Well, unlike right-wingers who hyperventilate about the mythical “War on Christmas” every year, he wasn’t a pansy. In fact, he supported the ACLU.
Rabbi Sholom Schusterman, who runs the Maui Mitzvah Center, wasn?t fazed by the last-minute addition of the Christmas tree to the display, and supported the action ?100 percent.?
?I think it?s wonderful,? he said.
How refreshing. A man of faith who isn’t so insecure that he must have the government validate his faith at the expense of all others.