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Is It OK? Signs Encourage Redmond Residents to Say 'Merry Christmas'

An anonymous person or group has posted signs around town saying "It's OK to Say Merry Christmas." What do you think?

If you've driven on Education Hill recently, you might have noticed a scattering of green signs proclaiming "It's OK to Say Merry Christmas."

The signs, which include the slogan and a lengthy Bible passage, appear near the roadway at churches, including First Baptist and Faith Lutheran, and schools, including Redmond High School and Horace Mann Elementary. One is also posted along the entryway to Redmond City Hall.

No one—Mayor John Marchione included—seems to know where they came from. But Marchione said the city intends to leave the signs up because they qualify as political speech.

"It's public speech. It's like a campaign sign," he said.

If the signs become a source of clutter or are not taken down within a few days after Christmas, the city might remove them, Marchione added.

Lake Washington School District spokeswoman Kathryn Reith said the district has a policy that prohibits "outside signs" from being posted on school property. But it's possible the Christmas signs are close enough to the sidewalk that they are actually posted on the city's easement, she said.

Have you noticed the signs? Do you agree with their message? Tell us in the comments section.

Patrick Scriven December 21, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Sure, it's okay but the signs are unnecessary and a byproduct of the imaginary 'war on Christmas' spun by Fox News. As a Christian, and a clergy spouse, I think Christians need to recover the Biblical concept of radical hospitality. It isn't all about us. Our neighbors are Jewish, Muslim, Sihk, Hindu, Buddhist, atheist, agnostic and a variety of other things. Respecting others, and their traditions is what Jesus would do.
Louise Marley December 21, 2012 at 11:27 PM
I think someone should mind his or her own business. I'll greet people as I see fit.
Cheryl Strong Magnuson December 22, 2012 at 12:09 AM
I saw one of these signs outside the Redmond Old Schoolhouse Community Center, and my thought was that it would be more appropriate at that location to say "Happy Holidays" because there are so many people of different faiths that come to this center. I celebrate Christmas, but I feel like these signs are some kind of political statement. If I was writing a sign, I would say, "Peace on earth, goodwill to people."
Caitlin Moran December 22, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Interesting—the signs seem to be getting a much better reception on our Facebook page. "Love this!" says one person, and "Yes, yes, yes!!!!" from another.
Patrick Scriven December 22, 2012 at 12:15 AM
No accounting for taste on Facebook. :)
Patrick Scriven December 22, 2012 at 12:16 AM
I think a lot of people could appreciate the need for a little "peace on earth" and goodwill right now.
Louise Marley December 22, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Cheryl and Patrick, both your responses are so thoughtful! I absolutely agree. Peace to everyone, and let's all enjoy the holiday in our own way--with respect for all the other ways there are!
Todd Myers December 22, 2012 at 05:56 PM
I'm not sure I understand why Christians would think wishing someone a "Merry Christmas" isn't hospitable. Isn't Christmas about joy and love? A Jewish friend wished me a happy Passover. I didn't get offended but was pleased that they felt close enough to me feel that I could be part of something important to them. Sharing who we are with others in a spirit of love is the essence of hospitality. Silence is indicative of separation and distance.
Joe December 22, 2012 at 06:25 PM
I enjoy learning about what people cherish and how they celebrate. It's even better if I get to help them celebrate. :) So, I am happy to wish people Happy Diwali, Happy Solstice, or whatever. The less poltical and less consumer-based that a holiday can be, the better. Instead, may all our holidays remind us what matters most to us: life, friends, family, love, nature, health, truth, beauty, goodness, etc. [add yours here]
Patrick Scriven December 22, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Todd, I agree in part. I wouldn't get offended if a Jewish 'friend' wished me a happy passover or hanukkah either. I also wouldn't be upset if a random person did it either since I'm relatively easy going but I may find it odd. I think the 'friend' element is an important one not to gloss over. If someone came up to you every day and said Happy Birthday, with no regard as to whether it was indeed your birthday, I suspect most people would find that annoying after a while. They may find it even more annoying to discover that they need to celebrate their birthday on a specific day even if they don't want to. It certainly isn't the biggest problem in the world but when we do what we want to do, without regard for how others might feel, it is inhospitable and a part of this narrative that non-Christians are 'guests' in a "Christian" nation. Maybe inhospitable isn't the right word, maybe it's common decency and kindness.
Patrick Scriven December 22, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Thanks Louise, have a safe and wonderful holiday!
Patrick Scriven December 22, 2012 at 06:35 PM
I wish there was a 'Like' button. Thanks Joe.
Todd Myers December 22, 2012 at 06:46 PM
What Muslim holiday is in December? Would wishing them "happy holidays" when there are no nearby holidays also be offensive? How about a Buddhist? A standard that obliges silence is one that treats different people as "other" and different. Rather than respecting and diversity in the open, it seeks to maintain separateness. Homogenization is the opposite of respecting diversity. Your birthday analogy is inapt. In the same way you wouldn't say "happy birthday" on a random day, one would not say "Happy Friday" on a Monday. Such behavior wouldn't be offensive...it would just be weird. Wishing someone Merry Christmas around Christmas is an expression of joy and sharing just as telling someone that "today is my birthday" is an expression of joy, not a jab at those whose birthday is on another day.
Patrick Scriven December 22, 2012 at 06:57 PM
"Merry Christmas" is an expression of Christian Joy, not universal joy. While a birthday is factual, whether there is anything to celebrate on and about Christmas is a matter of belief; unless of course you want to take Christ out of Christmas and make it a universal holiday? Happy holidays is generic but sure, it may not cover everyone. You have a point there. But it does point to a cultural phenomenon of extravagant, unfunded shopping at least. :) Sorry we can't seem to agree on this but I do appreciate you offering your point of view and expressing it without hostility.
Brian Spear December 22, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Is this the first year people felt afraid to say merry christmas?
Cheryl Strong Magnuson December 23, 2012 at 04:56 AM
I don't feel afraid to say Merry Christmas, I just choose the appropriate audience. I played 5 musical holiday programs for seniors this month and they included popular holiday music, religious Christmas music and I always throw in a few songs for those that celebrate Chanukah. Something for everyone!
HeadSpinner Photography December 23, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Tolerance? Be nice and respect other's and their belief? Yes! Yes! Yes! We must be nice and respect others. God is Love. Feuding will get you no where. But wish them Happy Holiday's? My question is this. What would Jesus say if He were here today? Would He wish other people belief's a happy Budda day for example? or would He tell them the Truth? ... and that truth is in John 14:6 "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" Guess that excludes everyone else.
HeadSpinner Photography December 24, 2012 at 05:44 AM
A song to describe what to say. Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAckfn8yiAQ
Michael C December 24, 2012 at 07:30 PM
I went up and read everything that was on the sign. After reading the sign, I think it was meant for Christians. It had the verse Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. Followed by the Christmas story. I think the message is actually for those who say they are Christian yet are afraid to say Merry Christmas. Those Christians who say happy holidays, do you say happy holidays because you are ashamed of celebrating the birth of Christ? Or is it Happy Holidays because you really don’t believe in the birth of Christ or his gospel, which then begs the question why do you even call yourself a Christian or celebrate Christmas? Or is it happy holidays because you feel that the person you are talking to doesn’t deserve the chance to hear about the birth and gospel of Christ? When I stood by the sign and read it this song came to mind http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jddK0JlhLjg I think this sign was meant to wake Christians up. I want to give a big thank you for the person or group who placed these signs, you made a lot of people think. I personally am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ so, Merry Christmas

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