Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Christmas Tree: R.I.P.


Another Christmas season, another Christmas tree bites the dust. This time it’s at UNC-Chapel Hill’s library, and the decision was made “after several years of complaints and queries from library employees.” The public justification involved discussion of the multiple views offered by the library and the inappropriateness of advancing one particular religious view (especially this one … since of course the Crusaders assaulted Jerusalem under the banner of the Christmas tree).    

Silliness like this shouldn’t be news to anybody, but judging from the comment board on the Charlotte Observer story, some people are shocked. As for me, this latest example of the university culture’s determination to leave no traditional expression that offends even one prickly ideologue un-censored makes me wish, just once, for some honesty.  Imagine a public statement like this:

It is with great pleasure that I announce that we will no longer post on library grounds murdered evergreen trees that honor the federal and state holiday so oppresively named “Christmas.” Despite the fact that the trees themselves have vaguely pagan origins and no specific religious meaning, I know the pain this traditional display has caused all of you. I have shared your tears.

In fact, their existence has long led students to think mostly of the gifts they will receive rather than focus their thoughts on the true purpose of this holiday season: social justice for retail workers. Toward this end, I will replace our Christmas-tree display with one of diseased Wal-Mart associates and their dependents. 

On an unrelated note, a Festivus dinner will be held on December 19 in the Fidel Castro Universal Health Care and Higher Than America Literacy Rate conference room. Because of last year’s nine-hour overrun, this year’s “airing of grievances” will be limited to the present administration’s performance over the past three weeks only. Thank you.


Subscribe to National Review