NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - An annual "Merry Christmas" sign on a North Andover fire station has been ordered removed.

Town officials told firefighters last week to take down the homemade sign after they said people complained.

Fire Chief William Martineau said Monday that the sign was made by firefighters about 50 years ago and never had been an issue before.

The order comes a week after selectmen voted to allow a menorah display on the town common for only one day instead of all eight days of Hanukkah. They said a new town common policy only allows displays to stay up for one day, no matter what they are.

Town Manager Mark Rees said the town's public buildings should not be displaying things specific to a particular religion.


Information from: Eagle Tribune,

Bah! Humbug!: Town outlaws Merry Christmas sign

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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You're kidding, right? Another example of political correctness gone way too far in this country.
Really? I mean really? "Selectmen" need to get a grip and so does everyone elso who stoops to the happy holidays stuff. The majority of Americans are Christians and folding to accomodate the desires of a few pain in the a** people who happen to celebrate differently.I have my freedom of religion and my freedom to say

that is bullshit
file this in the "you've gotta be kidding" section.
Hell, why not just ban the use of all religious events in public. Or go even further and ban all religious holidays, Or better yet, ban religion all together. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but doesn't a multicultural population consist of different religions as well? Would it be that bad to have the menorah display and the manger scene or merry christmas signs, or what have you, to be displayed together? I have,and always had,trouble understanding this whole argument. Our population does not consist of one person who is cloned a billion times, it consists of many different values,religions and beliefs. I don't get how people feel they have the right to say that someone else is wrong.
Keep the signs up and face the penalties. Make a stand against stupid rules like this.
Happy religious season to you all.
THis is the Christmas Season, it has always been about Christmas and then it was expanded to include other holidays. I don't complain when people celebrate other holidays so why don't they leave Christmas alone?
Isn't this the country "Formed under God" Doesn't our currency have "In God we trust" on it..."One Nation under God"...where will the BS end....if you are offended by these simple phrases then I have an idea for you.....get the hell out...!!! Contact me I might even kick in and help buy you a ticket.........Paul PS....Merry Christmas...God save us all....
they were coming down on hanukkah too. It's not about Christmas, it's about not being able to express your religious beliefs during holidays.
It always amazes me how damn dogmatic people get over something as silly as whether or not you can put up a sign that says merry christmas. A firehouse is municipal property, if the local government says no, then no it is. Why do people have to be such whiners about this stuff.

Secondly, what about the non-christians firefighters who have to see that sign everyday? Tough shit on them because they're not christians? Let's not forget about the separation of church and state. By allowing a specific religious sign or display, on municipal property the local government is in effect promoting a specific religion. Now, had the firefighters put up a happy hanuka sign as well, and maybe a happy divali sign in november and one for ramadan then I wouldn't see any issue with a christmas one.

If you are moved to wish people a merry christmas then do so. If you prefer happy holidays then there ya go. But to act as those the world is coming to an end simply because your religion is being marginalized is too bad. And no, we are NOT a christian nation. We may be a nation of predominately christian people but for many of them, it's simply a religion of convenience. Besides which, the founding fathers, despite or in spite of whatever their beliefs were, were well aware of what happens when a government is run by a religion (henry the 8th, church of england, pilgrims/colonial amercia, iraq, iran, afghanistan).

Finally, it is hard for me (at least) to see this season as anything more than the crass commercialization it is. When people are so anxious to begin their shopping the day after thanksgiving it says nothing about the origin of the holiday and much about the reality of it. It is about materialism, greed and me me me.

And if you want to argue the point let me remind you of the tragic death of Jdimytai Damour, a temporary security guard at walmart that was trampled to death by a herd of animals mob of shoppers on black friday last year in long island. I'm guessing merry christmas is the last thing his family wants to hear this year, or any other year. But hey, I'm sure it was all done in a good non-denominational manner.

If the holiday means that much to you then celebrate in the manner in which it should be and not give a damn what a sign can or can not say. I could be wrong here, but isn't it what's supposed to be in your heart that counts? As opposed to a window?

Happy Holidays
Oh yeah, I almost forgot that christmas has religious significance. Christmas has become so distant from its religious origins that it surprises me that it can be seen to be inappropriate or offensive to anyone. Today it's 90% about family and friends, spending time with loved ones, buying chinese made toys for the kids, buying power tools for the hubby and expensive cars with big red bows on the roof for the missus, eating huge quantities of food and having time off work. Go for a drive around the neighborhood and check out the decorations that people put up. Its all about candy-canes, reindeer and sleighs, santa clause, christmas trees covered in shiny stuff, frosty the snowman, presents, the grinch, flashing colored lights etc etc... oh, and the occasional nativity scene showing the amazing 'virgin birth' (yeah right).

The sooner christmas can completely disassociate itself from religion, the better. Then there wont be any of these petty spats over a harmless sign.
If history has proven anything, a religiously governed nation has the strongest iron fist of them all.
In your heart of hearts, do you truly believe that a group of firefighters hanging a Merry Christmas sign on their station constitutes a governmental promotion of religion?
WP, No, not at all. But what about happy easter? Or the feast of the assumption? Or any number of other religious holidays? And since it's a municipal building, if you allow it once, then you're probably going to have to allow others to put up their signs, regardless of whether or not their firefighters.'s a public building. Not sure about where you are but I'd bet there are a few f.d. that wouldn't be crazy about putting up a happy ramadan sign (muslims = terrorists in a lot of small minds).

Freedom of expression is fine, so long as it doesn't include areas or properties that belong to the public and are supported by public funds. Let's be honest, most people assume there is no harm in putting up a merry christmas sign on a f.d. but if you were jewish, hindu, muslim, wiccan et. al. you would have grounds to complain about your taxes paying to celebrate someone else's religion. That's why when it's allowed, it's all or none. Everyone gets to put something up or no one does. I think that is fair.

Really, how different is this than a department telling you what you can put on your helmet or on your locker? It's about doing something to property that doesn't belong to you and so you have to abide by the rules of the owners. In the case of helmets and lockers, they belong to your department. In the case of religious or political signs on public buildings, the local government says no then the answer is no. They manage the public buildings for the public in the public's best interest. I think being 'fair' is in the public's best interest, even if they don't think so.

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