Town Of Bethlehem Bans ‘Merry Christmas’ Signs
Officials from Bethlehem, New York had a “Happy Hanukkah” sign and a “Merry Christmas” sign removed from a busy intersection and have refused to put up any new holiday signs out of fear the signs would be breaking the law, The Albany-Times Union reports. The town’s lawyer reportedly said Christmas trees and other symbols were acceptable, but written signs would not be allowed, a decision that has caused an uproar in the local community.
The town’s decision has drawn criticism from residents and outsiders. A small group of protesters met Wednesday night at the location where the signs were. One resident, Elena Marcelle, bought two Christmas signs for the area but was told they would not be allowed. She corresponded with the town’s lawyer via email.
“Moreover, there is limited space at the Four Corners, and adding signage could potentially be visually distracting to motorists,” the town’s attorney James Potter said in a Dec. 14 email to Marcelle, the woman who offered to buy the sign. “The town cannot endorse one religion over another, so the town must either allow signs for all groups participating in the holiday display, or prohibit signs altogether.”