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  1. #1 'Christmas Village' but without the sign 
    'Christmas Village' but without the sign

    By Marcia Gelbart and Stephen Jiwanmall

    Inquirer Staff Writers



    It began when word got to Managing Director Rich Negrin that some city workers and residents were offended by the giant "Christmas Village" sign erected on Dilworth Plaza's northwest corner.

    After all, there are a few Jewish and Muslim vendors among the nearly 50 wooden booths that make up Philadelphia's version of the traditional German Christmas village, which officially opened here Thursday.

    There was also a story that reached Negrin about a little Jewish girl walking with her father who asked, according to Negrin: "Dad, don't we get a village?"

    The upshot was the private organizer, Thomas Bauer, agreed with Negrin during the day on Tuesday to remove the word Christmas and replace it with Holiday.

    But then Tuesday night, Bauer issued a statement that said the sign would be completely removed. The event will continue to be called "Christmas Village in Philadelphia."

    "People have to go to public buildings. They shouldn't feel offended," Bauer, president of German American Marketing Inc., said in the statement Tuesday night. "We want to stress that the name was not intended to upset anyone."

    Negrin confirmed Tuesday night that he had been told the sign would be taken down rather than have the site named "Holiday Village."

    But getting rid of the word Christmas left Negrin with more holiday woes Tuesday as new complaints reached the mayor's office and stories about the Christmas Village controversy appeared on the Drudge Report, a website that aggregates news items from around the country.

    "This is not about taking Christmas out of the holiday. It's about being more inclusive," Negrin told reporters outside the mayor's office Tuesday afternoon, before the second change. "I expected some complaints. Sometimes you have to make tough choices."

    He added that the sign's first change was not a move in the name of political correctness, but rather one of "common sense."

    Some vendors were disheartened to hear about the original change to Holiday Village and argued that the name now fails to reflect the event's European origins and heritage.

    "This is a Christmas village," linens vendor Jack Boyd said as he pointed to the word Christmas on a brochure from Augsburg, Germany, that was on the counter of an adjacent candle vendor. "That's what they call it over there. Last year, nobody had a problem here."

    Other vendors and shoppers, however, argued that the first change to Holiday reflected the religious and ethnic diversity of the city. "They needed to tweak the name a little bit, something more generic and open nowadays," shopper Phyllis Grove said.

    "This is an international assembly point," said Sheikha Maryam Kabeer Faye, a Sufi Muslim vendor. "It's like a little United Nations here. Let's truly make it a city of brotherly and sisterly love that transcends religious distinctions."

    This is the third year for Christmas Village, which is presented by a company named German American Marketing. Partners include The Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com.

    Open through Dec. 24, the village is modeled on German farmers markets, which date to the 15th century and, in the days leading up to the holiday, sell Christmas-specific toys, ornaments, and foods. The most famous is the Christkindlmarket in Nuremberg.


    Read more: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/home_...#ixzz16sH0egKn
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  2. #2  
    Power CUer noonwitch's Avatar
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    It's silly to change the name of the Christmas Village. I really don't know any jewish people who find Christmas offensive, and many who enjoy the cookies and carols. There aren't too many muslims who are offended, either, since they own stores and make money this time of year, too.

    The only people offended are atheists and agnostics, and I have to wonder what they would be doing at a Christmas Village, anyway. If I had my way, I'd send them all tacky figurines of Santa bowing before the baby Jesus.
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    I propose, nay, DEMAND that Ramadan be changed to Dan!:mad:

    If they don't like it here, GTHO!:mad:
    Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.
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    Senior Member hampshirebrit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noonwitch View Post
    The only people offended are atheists and agnostics.
    I've got to tell you, as an atheist, I am not, in any way, offended at the use- or non-use of the Christmas Village name.

    It might even surprise you to know that, as a secularist/humanist, I would actually FAVOR its retention, not oppose it.

    I would really like it if CU in particular, and American Conservatism in general, would move away from this constant temptation to yield to knee-jerk bashing of us atheists in instances that are instead clearly related to, orchestrated and inspired by overzealous leftists.
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    OK Hamps, you get one free get out of jail card. We'll be watching you closely though.
    Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.
    C. S. Lewis
    Do not ever say that the desire to "do good" by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives. (Are you listening Barry)?:mad:
    Ayn Rand
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    This kind of crap is just so ridiculous.

    It's not the fact some atheist leftwing nut non-Hampslike heathern
    demands the word Christmas be removed that riles me. It the city
    officials that give in to that demand and remove it that outrage me.
    Every city official that went along with it should be tarred & feathered
    and run out of town on a rail.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmPat View Post
    I propose, nay, DEMAND that Ramadan be changed to Dan!:mad:

    If they don't like it here, GTHO!:mad:
    Can we call it Danny if we are on familiar terms with the holiday?
    Quote Originally Posted by hampshirebrit View Post
    I've got to tell you, as an atheist, I am not, in any way, offended at the use- or non-use of the Christmas Village name.

    It might even surprise you to know that, as a secularist/humanist, I would actually FAVOR its retention, not oppose it.

    I would really like it if CU in particular, and American Conservatism in general, would move away from this constant temptation to yield to knee-jerk bashing of us atheists in instances that are instead clearly related to, orchestrated and inspired by overzealous leftists.
    Unfortunately, you and I are lumped in with the likes of Wilbur, Wei and Krushchevsshoe, who give atheists a bad name. I avoid it because I don't identify with the atheists (being a wishy-washy agnostic), and I tend to side with the believers in these arguments. But, as a cultural Jew, I don't find the celebration of Christmas offensive. OTOH, anyone who demands equal time for Kwanzaa needs a serious introduction to African culture and history.
    --Odysseus
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odysseus View Post
    Can we call it Danny if we are on familiar terms with the holiday?

    Unfortunately, you and I are lumped in with the likes of Wilbur, Wei and Krushchevsshoe, who give atheists a bad name. I avoid it because I don't identify with the atheists (being a wishy-washy agnostic), and I tend to side with the believers in these arguments. But, as a cultural Jew, I don't find the celebration of Christmas offensive. OTOH, anyone who demands equal time for Kwanzaa needs a serious introduction to African culture and history.
    Meh.

    I like Christmas decorations, and don't at all mind any that say "Christmas". Most atheists I know, or have spoken too, don't care either. I am perfectly fine with religious scenes on public property as long as no group is given special privilege.

    Certain media sources love to sell the image that atheists everywhere are angry Grinches hellbent on stealing Christmas... and of course, certain people are enthusiastic to believe that image, but it just aint true.
    Last edited by wilbur; 12-02-2010 at 11:14 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hampshirebrit View Post
    I've got to tell you, as an atheist, I am not, in any way, offended at the use- or non-use of the Christmas Village name.

    It might even surprise you to know that, as a secularist/humanist, I would actually FAVOR its retention, not oppose it.

    I would really like it if CU in particular, and American Conservatism in general, would move away from this constant temptation to yield to knee-jerk bashing of us atheists in instances that are instead clearly related to, orchestrated and inspired by overzealous leftists.

    I guess I should have been more specific. I didn't mean all atheists. I just figured the only people who are offended by Christmas are atheists, that doesn't mean that all atheists are offended by Christmas.
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    Quote Originally Posted by noonwitch View Post
    I guess I should have been more specific. I didn't mean all atheists. I just figured the only people who are offended by Christmas are atheists, that doesn't mean that all atheists are offended by Christmas.
    Plenty of Muslims are offended by Christmas. It's not just a minority of atheists.

    I'd even go as far as to say, there are likely to be far more persons of religious inclination offended by Christmas than there are atheists offended by Christmas.

    Anyway, like I said, I fuckin' love Christmas. :D I've been to evensong services. I like the pageantry, I like the the place it occupies in Western culture, I like being in European and American cities during very cold December days.

    I don't actually have to believe in any of the underlying theology to enjoy it. If someone sends me a Christmas card with a picture of Jesus in a crib and some angels and whatnot, that's fine by me. What kind of idiot would I be to disrespect them for that?
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