INDIANA LAW PROFESSOR CENSORS CHRISTMAS TREE
Catalyst January/February Issue 2004
Indiana University Law Professor Florence Roisman complained about a Christmas tree on campus and succeeded in getting it removed. She said the 12-foot tree celebrated Christmas. Roisman, who is Jewish, opined, “To honor one religion and not honor others is exclusionary.” The tree had no religious ornaments on it.
The Dean of Students, Tony Tarr, acceded to her demands and had the tree replaced by two smaller trees, along with a sleigh stuffed with red and green poinsettia plants. He declared the first tree to be a “denominational” tree and the new ones to be “a normal Indiana scene.” Roisman objected to the new display as well.
Here is what we told the media:
“The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Christmas tree is a secular symbol. Indeed, it has said that religious displays like the nativity scene can be placed on public property by government agencies just so long as they are surrounded by secular items like a Christmas tree. But none of this is good enough to satisfy law professor Florence Roisman. She’s offended by Christmas. Ergo, anything that reminds her of Christmas must be censored.
“Professor Roisman has a reputation for protesting discrimination against public housing tenants. She now has a reputation for promoting discrimination against Christians. The fact that she did not seek to have a menorah displayed on the campus is telling: for if she had, she might have been able to conceal her animus against Christianity. Now we all know she’s a bigot.
“As for cowardly dean, Tony Tarr, he belongs in Ripley’s Believe It or Notfor his discovery of a denominational tree.”
Tarr contacted us saying, “Thank you for the kind description of ‘cowardly dean.’” But this was totally unnecessary—we were just trying to be accurate.