With the coming of the holiday season in modern America comes battles fought in the so-called “War on Christmas” involving expressions of the holiday in the public square. The latest such battle took place in the town of Knightstown, Indiana and the decoration of the town Christmas tree. The ACLU of Indiana had filed suit against the town, not against the tree itself, but against a cross that was planned to be on top. The organization had found a single person who was offended by the religious symbol and had gone to court to compel the town to take it down. A symbol that is seen as one of unity in places like Sri Lanka and Baghdad had divided the small, Indiana town.

The fights that flare up over Christmas symbols in the public square are often based on nuance. Symbols that are not overtly religious, such as Christmas trees and Santa Clauses (though he is based on a saint) are generally safe. Crosses, Angels, and depictions of the Christ-child in the manger surrounded by family, shepherds, and the three wise men will bring down the wrath of the ACLU or an atheist group or another citing separation of church and state. The idea that any depiction of religious symbols on public property is just a step away from establishing a theocracy.

Fortunately, after a huge backlash against the ACLU by local residents, an agreement has been struck. The cross can go back on the tree, but it can only be near the top and not on the very top of the tree.

A star now occupies the top of the tree. The cross can be illuminated only if other more secular decorations are also illuminated. Thus, a messy compromise has been achieved just in time for Christmas.

The story has an even happier ending. It turns out that the man who had pronounced himself offended by the cross on the tree is suffering from a chronic medical issue.

The local Methodist Church started a fund raising drive to provide money and food for the man and his family. The gesture is one that is truly appropriate for the season and is in keeping with the biblical injunction to love ones enemy.

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