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Editorial: Reaction ruins holiday spirit

A few employees at the Bay Pines VA Medical Center filed complaints about a caucasian Christmas tree angel Monday that ended in its removal, leaving questions concerning the religious tolerance of the hospital’s management. While the angel was certainly religious, the complaint stemmed from its ethnicity, and complaints were filed by Christians.

Instead of causing problems, these naysayers could have discretely mentioned their offense and maturely addressed the problem in a way that brought out the holiday spirit. With Ramadan underway, Hanukkah beginning and Christmas on its way, there are plenty of ways to celebrate without resorting to overreaction.

A tradition at the hospital has been the setting-up of a Christmas tree with a white angel topping it. However, several black employees questioned its appropriateness because there were other non-ethnic ways of topping the tree. But instead of suggesting something more neutral, such as a star, the employees sparked a building-wide decree telling all 2,100 employees to delay setting up decorations.

Christmas, Hanukkah and Ramadan are about re-enacting religious rituals of peace, tolerance and remembrance, not ethnicity or superficial decorations. In light of the recent months’ problems and tribulations, the ethnicity of a tree-topper is minute and immature. Instead, people should come together to celebrate and hope for peace and prosperity in the coming year as most religions advocate.

Unity is something prevalent in these religions, and a few scrooges shouldn’t ruin the spirit for others. If people have problems with how the workplace is decorated, management should address the situations by asking employees to display non-denominational items. Things such as string lights are ways to decorate while allowing all religions to participate without any one tradition dominating.