Schakowsky: Expressing Sense of the House That Symbols and Traditions of Christmas Should be Protected

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EXPRESSING SENSE OF THE HOUSE THAT SYMBOLS AND TRADITIONS OF CHRISTMAS SHOULD BE PROTECTED
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SPEECH OF
HON. JANICE D. SCHAKOWSKY
OF ILLINOIS
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Madam Speaker, forgive me if I haven't noticed that Christmas is under attack. Being Jewish, maybe I am simply incapable of judging. Silly me, I thought there were about the same number of Christmas trees, both in private homes and public places--that is, everywhere. Seems like Christmas music is still ubiquitous in elevators, grocery stores, the mall and while on hold on the telephone. No? Having just returned from Eastern Market, I still have the sounds of real live carolers in my ears, and, as a former community choir member, I knew all the words and sang along. (Is it anti-Christmas for a Jew to do that? I should check with Bill O'Reilly.)

Santa was there as usual at Congressmen Barton's and Dingell's reception for the Energy and Commerce Committee, and adorable little children of Christian conservatives as well as moderates, and yes, even Democrats, were sitting on his lap. I thought I observed the same mix of awe, fear and delight as in years past, but Jewish eyes can deceive, I guess.

I could be wrong, but I think it would be pretty hard not to guess that it is the "Christmas season" or that "Christmas" is coming if you turned on just about any channel, cable or broadcast, at just about any time of the day or night. Sometimes those reminders also include a request for you to call in and give your credit card number, and do it now, because there are only a few more days until "Christmas."

I'm pretty cheerful about responding to "Merry Christmas" with a "Same to you." I can't recall ever scolding anyone in public or in private for missing the fact that I don't celebrate Christmas. I do try not to say it myself at my synagogue, unless I know for sure the person is Christian, and then I try especially hard to say it.

I'm fond of candy canes. They seem to be available for free in many places at this time of year--"Christmas" time. I try never to pass one up. I even try to like fruit cake, understanding it is one of the typical "Christmas" treats, but I think it may be like gefilte fish-- an acquired taste.

If there are some Christians who think that Christmas has become too commercial--the symbol of Christmas being more the Visa or Mastercard than the nativity scene--then I think they deserve to have a serious discussion about that. That discussion, in my Jewish view, would be best held in church, or at home, or just about any place other than the floor of the United States House of Representatives.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).