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Hostilities expand, war declared on Hannukah

Reported by Chrish - December 11, 2006 -

Or so it would seem if you watched The O'reilly Factor tonight 12/11/06. His interview with Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky indicated that because the rabbi had requested a Menorah be put up to accompany the Seattle-Tacoma Airport's Christmas trees (nine or fourteen, depending whose reporting you trust - the Seattle newspaper or O'Reilly, respectively). Rather than accomodate the rabbi and then be forced to accomodate other religions, the airport management opted to remove the trees.

The rabbi is appalled and doesn't want people to think that was his intention; he only wanted to add light to the display and would have supplied the Menorah at no cost to the airport.

A few pertinent facts were missing from the Factor report. Presumably this type of oversight will cease when they finally hire a "fact writer."

Bogomilsky had hired an attorney and threatened to sue over the decorations. The Menorah he offered to the airport was eight feet tall. The airport has decorated with trees for over twenty-five years and took them down with regret but intent to be fair to all their customers:

"We decided to take the trees down because we didn't want to be exclusive," said airport spokeswoman Terri-Ann Betancourt. "We're trying to be thoughtful and respectful, and will review policies after the first of the year."

After consulting with lawyers, port staff believed that adding the menorah would have required adding symbols for other religions and cultures in the Northwest. The holidays are the busiest season at the airport, Betancourt said, and staff didn't have time to play cultural anthropologists.

Bogomilsky has assured Sea-Tac authorities that he will not sue, and the trees are being put back up tonight. Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported tonight that public outcry and round-the-clock media attention showed support for the trees and they are pleased to be putting them back up.

O'Reilly repeatedly said "it's so stupid" and called the authoritities "pinheads," and said a six-year-old would have said "fine, put the Menorah up!" but not these stupid folks at Sea-Tac! O'Reilly's annoyed tone and insults appeared to make the rabbi uncomfortable, and when Bogomilsky suggested that the decorations needed to be put back up because there are a lot of angry people out there, O'Reilly interrupted (again) with "and that's not the spirit of the season." He doesn't care, put the Menorah next to the tree, and if anyone else wants a little display, put it up - as long as it's in keeping with the season.

Now wait a minute - is it the Holiday Season or is it the Christmas Season? O'Reilly takes whatever tack is convenient to the brouhaha du jour. Should the airline staff say "Merry Christmas" to their clients, or Happy Holidays? O'Reilly ordinarily scorns the practice of inclusiveness yet today wants to appear to be respectful (except for the name-calling, of course.)

I hope the pagan community in the Seattle-Tacoma area has a voice on the decorating committee for next year. 'Tis the season...