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Christmas trees aren’t religious symbols, judge says

A judge ruled a menorah cannot be displayed in a town’s holiday displays

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A Norwegian Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, in London.

The Norwegian Christmas tree stands with its lights turned on, alongside an illuminated menorah, after a lighting ceremony in Trafalgar Square, in London, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021.

Matt Dunham, Associated Press

A judge recently ruled that Christmas trees aren’t religious symbols and a menorah is, and thus won’t be displayed at a holiday display in California.

U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman, of San Jose, used a Supreme Court ruling to decide that Christmas trees are not religious symbols in a case centered around whether or not a school ceremony should allow a menorah, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

  • The judge ruled that the menorah is considered a religious symbol in several contexts. But a Christmas tree — based on the Supreme Court ruling — should not be considered as such.

Per the San Francisco Chronicle, the judge said officials at Carmel River Elementary School — who decided that including a menorah may be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion — were right in their decision to limit the use of the menorah for that very reason.

The mother of a student at the school, Michelle Lyons, filed a lawsuit after the school’s PTA disqualified the Lyons family from letting their child bring a menorah balloon for the holiday ceremony since it didn’t fit into a paper lunch bag, according to KTVU.

  • The Lyons family was not satisfied since it’s difficult to fit a menorah balloon inside a paper bag, according to Forward. Lyons decided to file a suit, arguing the event violated First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and the separation of church and state.
  • Lyons has decided to drop the suit and to display the menorah balloon at her home across the street from the school.