I have lived in a suburban co-op apartment for three years, and have noticed with increasing frequency that the Christmas tree that’s been there for the past two years has been accompanied by a manger scene, an angel, a cow and cattle, a sign or other indication that this is a “holiday” season. This trend of Christians presenting themselves as the only religious group besides Jews to be appreciated on public holidays is both uncomfortable and unhelpful.
This time of year, my concerns are about two things: First, how is the holiday-themed decoration in the winter holiday house perceived by non-Christians, and second, does it move the Jewish co-op from nondenominationalism to narrow-mindedness?
Even if we claim that we are a nondenominational co-op, the manger scene could clearly be construed as a farce, with modern Manichaean and realistic Jews superimposed on illustrations of Jesus and Mary. And yes, this means I am likely to drive up the price of Christmas trees and tree stands even more. I’m sure that the buyers feel I do, too.
My question is: is the knee-jerk attempt to mollify the non-religious a sign of either religious intolerance or narrow-mindedness? And by the way, one wonders what the difference is between the various religions of the World?