By Editor-in-chief
updated 12/14/2006 7:55:59 AM ET 2006-12-14T12:55:59

When Christmas gets political, things get messy.

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That’s the lesson learned by officials who oversee the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where a threatened lawsuit by a local rabbi led to the brief removal of 14 plastic holiday trees from the facility. The trees were restored after Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky, who had sought the addition of an 8 foot-tall menorah to the display, dropped plans for a lawsuit.

“I am Christian, and don’t see anything controversial about displaying a menorah along with the Christmas trees,” wrote “middleagemom” as she instigated an online discussion about the controversy at, an issues-based community.

“I see no harm with both being on display, but can everybody have their own religion represented, really?” said “averagejoeusa” in reply. “That would be fine with me but you would have mystics and all sorts of fruit cakes wanting to display their stuff …. Think about it, devil worship could go on display?”

A contributor named Lyndoleth said threatening a lawsuit amounted to “grinching Christmas …. If you can’t win, why bother? Put out the crèches, angels, carols and midnight services and let the chips fall where they may.”

Others wondered whether airport officials should have more pressing concerns. “Instead of putting up trees and menorahs, maybe they should get my bags off the plane so I don’t have to stand in the baggage claim area for half an hour,” wrote “Mikekeyy.”

He’s not the only one who thinks there are more important topics for local leaders and the media to tackle. “I just wish everyone wasn’t so sensitive about this non-issue,” said robotics engineer Ian Broverman of Maryland. The next day, he broke the news to the HOTSOUP community that the rabbi had stopped threatening legal action.

“The trees are back,” he said. Join this conversation about the politics of Christmas at

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