Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

March 24, 2006

St. Paul Bans the Easter Bunny

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:51 am

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports:

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – A small Easter display was removed from the City Hall lobby on Wednesday out of concern that it would offend non-Christians.

The display – a cloth Easter bunny, pastel-colored eggs and a sign with the words “Happy Easter” – was put up by a City Council secretary. They were not purchased with city money.

The council president, Kathy Lantry, said the removal wasn’t about political correctness.

“As government, we have a different responsibility about advancing the cause of religion, which we are not going to do,” she said.

Let me get this straight: The city removes a toy rabbit and some plastic eggs and a “Happy Easter” sign because the mere existence of such objects in a government building might offend non-Christians — but the very name of that city is SAINT PAUL?

HELLO???

Don’t they know that their city was named after one of the main founders of Christianity? And that by calling that person a “Saint” one makes a specific religious claim about that individual?

They haven’t changed the name of their city, so obviously they don’t think a reference to the entire city as Saint Paul is offensive to non-Christians. But they think a little stuffed rabbit tucked away in a city office seen by no more than a few dozen, maybe a few hundred, of the city’s 275,000 residents — that is supposed to be offensive?

Regardless of what you think is the appropriate degree of church-state separation, this is simply preposterous. Hundreds of thousands of people have to acknowlege the recognition of the “sainthood” of Paul every time they write their return address or tell anyone where they live. No doubt at least tens of thousands of them are not Christians, and as such do not believe in the sainthood of Paul. Obviously, they are not too offended by all that, or they would have either moved somewhere else, or advocated for a city name change. Yet we are supposed to believe that those same people would be offended by the knowledge that some city employee who (presumably) is a Christian decided to bring a stuffed rabbit to her workplace.

This is not “being sensitive” — this is implying that non-Christians are stupid and/or inconsistent and/or outright hypocrites, who are happy to live in a city named after a Christian saint, but offended by one little stuffed rabbit.

Frankly, as a “non-Christian,” I find that implication offensive. It’s an insult to my intelligence.

UPDATE (3/27/2006 2:28pm EST):

James Taranto makes a similar point under the title “Hare Remover.” Does this mean I’ve scooped the Wall Street Journal? ;-)

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