Out of deep respect and love for all winter holidays and faiths, including Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa – and out of painful grief and mourning for Jersey City’s recent murders of two innocent Jewish people, (female and male), a Latino man and a male detective, I decided to wait after all the respected holidays and memorials to write this letter. I’m writing this letter as myself and not on behalf of any organization I belong to. In addition, I’m writing this as a recently legally ordained minister.
Until recently I used to think the so-called ‘War on Christmas” was some sort of ultra-right-wing, wacky conspiracy. However, over the last few years it appears to be not only that, but also an orchestrated campaign against Christianity itself and therefore, Jesus Christ.
This past holiday season started with almost every official city-flyer announcement regarding any Christmas event completely censored the word “Christmas” out. Why remove any and all references to a “Christmas” tree or celebration when the majority of the religious people in Jersey City are Christian, unless there was some disrespect intended?
Ironically, there was another official taxpayer-funded, event-flyer created for Hanukkah by the city, which mentions “Hanukkah Celebration”, “Menorah Lighting” and even has a huge Star of David at the center. Religious symbols included! I celebrate this and I respect and honor the Jewish religion. But what is done for one religion must also be done for all others. Jersey City was once the center of a famous lawsuit about religious displays on City Hall’s lawn and by law, they must display everyone’s religious representation.
I want an explanation why one religion is censored and degraded to non-religious images on flyers, and another beautiful religion has its proper respect with religious symbols included, and for this to be immediately rectified in the future. I would not want any other religion to be slighted in this way at all – ever – especially with public tax-payer funding.
The Jersey City, City Hall Nativity was displayed in such a disrespectful way on the front lawn on Grove Street that it bordered on mockery. Yet, directly on the front lawn of City Hall on Grove, was a beautiful menorah and a nice size sign celebrating Kwanzaa. I am happy to support these other respectful displays, but why was the majority-religion’s representation slighted in this way by being hidden and cheapened?
The aged and worn Nativity was removed by Jan.3, while the other religious displays remained. Jersey City has a huge population of religious Latino people, and most Christian Latinos continue to celebrate Christmas on the Epiphany, or as it is also called, Three Kings Day, which was Monday, Jan. 5. Why not let this display remain with all the others and take it down after Three Kings Day in the future?
Through all the mockery I and many others see in the media, including films and television shows depicting religions, we’ve noticed that Christianity seems to get the brunt of the bashing, with almost no outcry due to people fearing further ridicule. The reason for the Christmas season is Jesus Christ and to remove him and his name from this holiday is totally rude, intentionally discourteous and unfair to one of your largest citizenry groups and voting populations.
Lennart Erik-Anders Nilsson