Handcrafted Signed

The Easter Bunny was removed from city property?

do you agree with this? This happened in Minnesota.
The easter bunny is not a religious symbol. And this was on the grounds of a city hall

Here is a news article on the story. Also, the decorations were not bought with taxpayers monies.

Aside from that, I see no problem with the decorations. Little bunnies and easter eggs are not Christian in itself....

St. Paul civil rights chief says non-Christians might find the holiday decoration offensive
BY JASON HOPPIN
Pioneer Press
So long, Easter Bunny.

A toy rabbit decorating the entrance of the St. Paul City Council offices went hop-hop-hoppin' on down the bunny trail Wednesday after the city's human rights director said non-Christians might be offended by it.

The decorations — including the stuffed rabbit, Easter eggs and a handcrafted sign saying "Happy Easter," but nothing depicting the biblical account of Christ's death and resurrection — were put up this week in the office of the City Council by a council secretary.

It was not the first holiday decoration ever to go up in the building, but City Hall observers believe it is the first one to come down out of concerns for religious sensitivity.

"I sent an e-mail that Easter is viewed as a Christian holiday and advised that it be taken down," said Tyrone Terrill, the city's human rights director. "It wasn't a big deal."

But City Council Member Dave Thune thought the display was harmless.

"I absolutely wonder how colored eggs and bunnies and chickens are Christian," Thune said. "I'm a little puzzled how people can be offended."

Courts have long wrestled with the display of religious symbolism on public property, including as recently as in 2005, when the U.S. Supreme Court allowed one display of the 10 Commandments to remain outside the Texas State Capitol but barred another at a Kentucky courthouse.

But judges have largely left alone more secular aspects of religious celebration — such as displaying evergreen trees at Christmastime, something the city of St. Paul has traditionally done downtown at Ecolab and Hamm plazas.

Still, Council President Kathy Lantry said it's not the government's business to celebrate holidays.

"We're a public building. We're open to all the public," Lantry said.

Council staffers were buzzing with the news Wednesday, with most feeling the display was harmless. The secretary who put the decoration up said she did not want to get involved in the debate.

Some City Hall staff members said Terrill's action was prompted by a complaint, but the human rights director said that was not the case.

City Hall does display holiday decorations near Christmas — including "Happy Holidays" banners — but they are not specific to a particular holiday. In addition, some council members display religion-specific holiday memorabilia in their own offices.

It is not the first time secular celebrations of religious holidays have been an issue at City Hall.

Before Christmas 2001, Council Member Jim Reiter and a Ramsey County district judge sneaked a half-dozen red poinsettias into City Hall — which also serves as the Ramsey County Courthouse — leaving them near the "Vision of Peace" statue that dominates the lobby. Red poinsettias had been banned as being too connected to Christianity. Instead, the City Hall-Courthouse was displaying white poinsettias during Christmas that year.

In subsequent years, poinsettias of any color have been allowed.

As for the Easter bunny, the disputed rabbit has its origin in pre-Christian beliefs in Europe, according to theological historians. The hare was the most fertile animal known and served as the pagan symbol of new life during the spring season.

The rabbit and the related pagan symbolism of the egg later became incorporated into the widening Christian observance of the Easter holiday during springtime.

Jason Hoppin can be reached at jhoppin@pioneerpress.com or 651-292-1892

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