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? ;-)

7 Responses to “St. Paul Bans the Easter Bunny”

  1. mrsfish Says:

    Plus, the Easter bunny isn’t exactly Christian. Most Christians have to reconcile their acceptance or non-acceptance of tthe cultureal figure of the easter bunny and eggs and egg hunts and all that spring celebration stuff with the real meaning of Easter. Ok, so if we are looking at just the Happy Easter thing – fully agree with what you were saying. I just find it funny that the issue isn’t over a cross, or areligious symbol but one that most Christians don’t find Christian at all.

  2. Gary Says:

    And this is the kind of mentality that’s going to create a future world where there is peace and
    prosperity? now you see one good reason why the world has to end.

  3. Dave Schuler Says:

    They could always revert back to the old name for the town: Pig’s Eye.

  4. B. Durbin Says:

    “First they came for Columbus Day, and I said nothing because he’s one of those dead white guys who oppressed the natives.

    Then they came for Christmas, and I said nothing because I only ever got socks and underwear.

    Then they came for my chocolate bunnies, and by then there was nobody left to speak up.”

    (apologies to Niemoller)

  5. Mike Rentner Says:

    Of course, the easter bunny is not christian at all. Oester is a pagan goddess of fertility. The ancients didn’t understand hibernation and thought that Oester took the form of a hare in the spring, and the egg is one of her fertility symbols.

    The irony is delicious.

  6. Different River Says:

    Mike and MrsFish: I know the Easter Bunny is not originally Christian, but at this point in history it is clearly associated with a holiday which is, if I understand correctly, undeniably Christian.

    Having said that, if there were any consistency here, a pagan religious symbol would be just as objectionable as a Christian symbol, right? The government is supposed to be neutral between religions, so if Christian symbols are not allows, pagan symbols should also not be allowed. It is yet another source of inconsistency that the left often objects to things attached to Christianity and Judaism, but rarely to things attached to pagan religions. The ACLU sued over a small cross on the seal of Los Angeles County, but registered no objection to the much larger portrayal of the goddess Pomona on the very same seal. Likewise, Christianity cannot be taught in the public schools, but I was required to learn about the ancient Greek pagan religion in my public high school. As a Jew, this was no more appropriate than being required to learn about Christianity would have been (in fact less so, since Judaism objects more to idolatrous religions than to non-Jewish monotheistic religions).

    Gary: I agree this is a counter-productive mentality, but does the world really have to end just because some dumb bureaucrat got upset over a stuffed rabbit? Let’s have some perspective here.

    B. Durbin: I like it!

  7. Different River Says:

    San Francisco Condemns the Catholic Church
    It was just a couple of weeks ago that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution officially condemning “Christian fundamentalist[s]“, in what appears to me to be a blatant violation of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Epperson v. Arkan…

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