Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

It’s that time of year again

Chicago encourages organizers to drop New Line Cinema’s The Nativity Story as a sponsor of the city’s Christkindlmarket

Consider this:

"Our guidance was that this very prominently placed advertisement would not only be insensitive to the many people of different faiths who come to enjoy the market for its food and unique gifts, but also it would be contrary to acceptable advertising standards suggested to the many festivals holding events on Daley Plaza," Jim Law, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Special Events, said in a statement.


Cindy Gatziolis, a spokeswoman for the office, said the city does not want to appear to endorse one religion over another. While acknowledging that there is a nativity scene on the plaza, Gatziolis said there also will be representations of other faiths, including a Jewish menorah, all put up by private groups.


"We’ve worked hard to make sure there is a fair representation of all those faiths celebrating something special," said Gatziolis, who stressed the city did not order organizers not to allow the studio to be a sponsor. "If you add more for one faith over the others, it does tip the scale to that faith."

I would love to say that the ridiculous sensitivity extends only to Chicago city officials, but, unfortunately the event’s organizers have gotten into the act. Here’s their explanation of the "Christkindlsmarket":

Since 1999 Christkindlmarket’s Grand Opening is a special highlight during the celebration of the City of Chicago Annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony which always takes place on the First Friday after Thanksgiving Day. The Christkindl, the Christmas Fairy, is a cherished highlight during the Holiday Tree Lighting. The Christmas Fairy proclaims the opening of Christkindlmarket Chicago. The Christkindl is a holiday icon of the Christkindlesmarkt Nuremberg, Germany, Chicago’s sister market.

The Christmas Fairy???? Das Christkindl, as any German speaker knows, is the Christchild. Unfortunately, even the folks in Nurnberg have succumbed to a kind of political correctness.
Here’s the English version of their description of the "Christmas Angel," which is at least an improvement over the "Fairy." By contrast, the folks in Kitchener, Ontario get it right. Here, for those who are still reading, is the Wikipedia entry.

In any event, to discourage any mention of the Nativity in a festival that commemorates that very event (as anyone in attendance, at least those who don’t get all their information from marketers, would know) is the height of ridiculousness.

My apologies for this rant, since this hits close to my old Austrian home. (My father still has the incriminating tapes of me, at age two, speaking in German about what "das Christkind" brought me.)

Update: Here’s the latest Chicago Tribune article, which reflects a change in the city’s story regarding its objection:

Stung by criticism that the film’s maker was dropped as a sponsor to ensure the event appealed to all faiths, city officials said Tuesday they objected to "The Nativity Story" because it was too commercial.


"This particular incident is about a movie studio aggressively marketing a movie and trying to sell tickets to that movie," said Veronica Resa, spokeswoman for the Mayor’s Office of Special Events.

They’ve backtracked into aesthetics, in other words, regarding something about which I doubt there was a constitutional or church/state issue to begin with. Consider, in this connection, this fact: the Christkindlmarket is put on by a private organization. Consider another fact: I’d bet that Daley Plaza would be considered a "public forum." Consider yet another fact: the market already offers a mix of secular and (other) religious symbols (Jewish and Muslim).

The Corner’s Kathryn Jean Lopez
is right: this is an opportunity for a politician closely associated with Chicago to step up to the plate about the city’s ridiculousness. If it isn’t Obama, then perhaps HRC ought to beat him to the punch, since she grew up in the suburbs.

Discussions - 16 Comments

It’s beyond strange that a country founded upon Judeo-Christian values, and founded by Christian countries, {such as France, Spain, Holland and England} has now concluded that Christian culture is a pronounced danger to the continuance of that culture, society, community and nation.

Yes, nothing speaks of the true meaning of Christmas better than a kid announcing that baby Jesus has brought them a toy truck or whatever.

This is just another attempt to further the homosexual agenda by associating fairies with Christmas. It’s a violation of nature and nature’s God, and I think Abe Lincoln is to blame. This wouldn’t have happened if the Southerners were allowed to leave in peace and practice their God-given rights to own slaves.

I repudiate my crass toddler past.

Hal, why did you have to go and be that way? Sarcasm does not an argument make.


You see less of this silliness in the South because the South has remained more orthodox. Among traditional Southerners even nonbelievers and skeptics accept orthodoxy as the standard and what you are "supposed" to believe. When these problems come up it is usually because of Yankee transplants, or (how do I put this delicately?) those from a different faith tradition with a chip on their shoulder.

That’s right, Mr. Phillips. You understand the problem with having too many pushy Jews around.

Here’s an interesting twist on the brouhaha ... On O’Reilly last night, it was brought up that the festival was going to put up large screens with loud audio about the plaza, projecting scenes from the movie.

No one else has brought this out, and even O’Reilly acknowledged that if the festival did this for the movie, it would be over the top.

I agree, then. If the city is allowing a nativity scene, then you know some of the details are not being published and there’s more to this than our knees know, in jerking, so to speak.

Oh Hal. Such a kidder you are. The minority in any country/situation, (Jewish, atheist, whatever, but if you want to be that way I can’t stop you.) has historically gotten along by recognizing their minority status and the "favored" status of the majority. This usually breeds reciprocal good will. The minority goes about its business in peace, and the majority enjoys the "public forum" without lording it over the minority. A sort of mild form of liberal toleration while recognizing a majority faith as opposed to burning them at the stake. (Many of us would argue that this is the type of "liberalism" that the Founder’s intended and is the historic gift of Christianity and the West [with some obvious aberrations, of course].) It is the utter intolerance of the tolerance and diversity crowd (radical egalitarian liberalism) that has upset the balance. It should not be offensive for someone of a different faith or no faith to recognize that America is a Christian Country (at least nominally) and see public displays of Christian things at Christmas time which is a holiday that celebrates the birth of Christ. Who would be offended if they saw symbols of Buddhism in China? Only an idiot or the overly thin skinned. It is actually the unreasonable demand for a false absolute neutrality that ends up breading exaggerated reactions against the minority.

Merry . . .

Happy . . .

Have a good . . .

I wish you a . . .

Ah, screw it. I will offend some group no matter what I say. Have a day.

Even I think this controversy is going too far. Unless the Christkindlmarket takes up the entire city, why not have an all Christian Event?

A couple of years ago I went to Boston and arrived just as the city was holding a Greek Pride parade. For that afternoon the town was Greek. No one insisted on inserting Irish floats. The weather was miserable and the parade a bit depressing, but it did no harm to diversity to hold it that way.

If we must make everything inoffensive to everyone, there is no diversity because nothing will have any character anymore. A person who is easily offended by benign expressions of others’ religion undermines both human relations and freedom itself.

I’m suing my atheist neighbor because he did not decorate at all and his lack of religious views really offends me and damages my rights.

Actually, several of my neighbors’ Griswold displays are really offensive.

Maybe all these people who are offended by Christmas displays can learn a lesson from Josh Groban who freely sings, "Christ is the Lord," on my radio.

Yeah, how dare we insist on Christian hegemony! Who are they to deny gay marriage, or female clitorectomy, or infanticide, or human sacrifice...

Well, we may as well end the argument right here! I just learned on Fox News that the city of Vienna, Austria a judeo-christian country 98% catholic, has banned Saint Nicholas from all city schools.This, as a result of protests by the local muslim population. I realize this has nothing to do with the "Christkindl",for Saint Nicholas visits the children on December 6, but very much with ingrained social values which have have been associated with many European countries through the ages.

This Reuters report either represents back-tracking on the part of Viennese authorities or a different kind of nanny-state concern. Surely St. Nicholas won’t be accompanied by any of his rather scary assistants.

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