About Face: Marquette Accepts “Christmas Tree”
Our Sunday night post on this was quickly picked up on social media, and also by Charlie Sykes, who discussed it yesterday (Monday) morning. Here is Sykes:
There was an e-mail, dated Monday at 3:17 p.m. that announced the “Annual Christmas Tree lighting ceremony.”
And sometime yesterday an announcement on “Marquette Today,” first posted on November 21, was updated to say that the ceremony is “tonight.” The other change? The inclusion of the word “Christmas.” Here is the blurb on “Marquette Today” as it appeared on Sunday afternoon, and here is the way it appeared when we saved the page as a PDF today.
Somebody forgot to sanitize the University calendar, however, since today the entry still omits “Christmas” just as it did on Sunday.
How Did it Happen?It would be nice to know who first decided that a Christmas tree could not be called a “Christmas Tree.” But Mary Janz, Executive Director of Housing and Residence Life (the office that oversees the Residence Hall Association, which sponsored the event), has not responded to a request for an explanation of the policy, who made it, and how it was made.
Likewise, University spokesman Brian Dorrington did not immediately respond to a request for a statement about the change of policy that allowed “Christmas.”
The banning of “Christmas Tree” probably did not come from top University officials. More likely, some Residence Life official decided that “Christmas Tree” was not sufficiently “inclusive.” But that is the problem. The campus bureaucracy is dominated by the kind of people who define “inclusive” as requiring the exclusion of things explicitly Christian.
And these are the people who make most of the day-to-day decisions.
UpdateA woman posting a comment on the Badger Catholic blog said the following:
I attend Marquette and this is the actual text from the E-mail we received, “Reminder: Residence Hall Association to hold annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony tonightThis, of course, is the November 21 post on “Marquette Today” that has been modified with “Christmas” added. Here, again, is the original November 21 post.
NOVEMBER 21, 2016
The Residence Hall Association will hold its annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, “Igniting Hope,” on Monday, Nov. 28, at 5 p.m. in Westowne Square. The ceremony will include speakers, performances and the tree lighting. A reception, including musical performances, crafts and snacks, will follow from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the AMU Monaghan Ballrooms.
Marquette, after our story broke, appears to have been aggressively e-mailing people with the version of the announcement that includes “Christmas.”