This is part of Fort Collins’ art in public places program, and is called ‘Source of life.’ But the city’s new rules call for a ban on red and green lights at Christmas as being too religious
A special task force in a Colorado city has recommended banning red and green lights at the Christmas holiday because they fall among the items that are too religious for the city to sponsor.
“Some symbols, even though the Supreme Court has declared that in many contexts they are secular symbols, often still send a message to some members of the community that they and their traditions are not valued and not wanted. We don’t want to send that message,” Seth Anthony, a spokesman for the committee, told the Fort Collins, Colo., Coloradoan.
He said the recommended language does not specifically address Christmas trees by name, but the consensus was that they would not fall within acceptable decorations.
What will be allowed are white lights and “secular” symbols not associated “with any particular holiday” such as icicles, unadorned greenery and snowflakes, the task force said.
The group was made up of members of the city’s business and religious communities as well as representatives from some community groups. Members met for months to review the existing holiday display policy, which allowed white as well as multi-colored lights and wreaths and garlands.
In previous years, there also was a Christmas tree at the city’s Oak Street Plaza.
A vote on the proposal will be coming up before the city council on Nov. 20, officials said.
“As far as I’m concerned, the group ended up in a very fair place in which primarily secular symbols will be used on city property,” task force member Saul Hopper told the newspaper.
Anthony told WND that there actually would be colored lights allowed.
“Colored lights would be allowed as part of holiday display inside city buildings, and as part of the multicultural display at the museum. Our recommendations allow wide latitude as far as what can be included in those displays, which are the displays the public sees and interacts with the most,” he said.
However, a copy of the actual proposal said for city building exteriors, “white lights” are allowed, and for city building interior common areas, such as lobbies, hallways and conference rooms, administrators should follow the guidelines that include allowances for “snowflakes, snowmen, snow balls, ice skates, skies, penguins, polar bears, white lights, etc.”
The new guidelines include no provision for colored lights.
The existing holiday display rules were adopted in 2006 after a rabbi requested that the city display a menorah.
The only apparent exception to the completely secular rule would be at the Fort Collins Museum, where a “multicultural display” of symbols and objects would be collected to represent Diwali, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Christmas among others.
“I expect criticism from people who feel like we are taking Christmas away. And I expect we will get criticism from people who think educational display endorses religions,” Anthony said. “(But) to the extent we can, recognizing that offending no one will be impossible, we want to be inclusive.”
City officials touted their own efforts.
“I am really delighted to see us taking this step,” Mayor Doug Hutchinson said when the task force was being assembled. “I think Fort Collins is a great city, and I think great cities are inclusionary.”
“Let’s spend our CHRISTMAS money somewhere that believes in CHRISTMAS!” wrote barbie333. “Where does the ‘PC-ization’ stop? Maybe if the town leaders realize that we do not live in Boulder (or California)!?”
Added “Stick,” “No Virginia, there is no Santa Claus, he is dead from lack of political correctness and the elves have all been sent to China to make toys.”
“Seth Anthony says, ‘Some symbols, even though the Supreme Court has declared that in many contexts they are secular symbols, often still send a message to some members of the community that they and their traditions are not valued and not wanted. We don’t want to send that message.’ Guess what, Seth? That’s EXACTLY the message you sent me!” added “notpc.”
“If the city council decided to not acknowledge Christmas on public grounds this year then all city offices should be open for business on Dec. 25th, white lights shining! Don’t want to offend anyone by stopping city business for a day to celebrate a holiday not everyone believes in,” added Amidon.
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