Nativity Scene Removed from Montreal-Area Town Hall

Christine Bouthillier, CNews (Montreal), December 5, 2011

A posh Montreal suburb has decided to remove a nativity scene and menorah from town hall rather than acquiesce to demands from a Muslim group to erect Islamic religious symbols.

The decision by the Town of Mount Royal upsets a Christian resident who says the town is abandoning an established tradition under pressure from a tiny religious minority.

Town councillors of several different religions unanimously decided to remove the Christian and Jewish items.

They had been displayed in front of the municipal building for the past 15 years.

“We asked ourselves if we were willing to display (symbols of) the five major religions,” said Mayor Philippe Roy.

“This is not the role of the city, which is a secular public institution.”

The decision comes amid a larger debate about the place of religion in public institutions.

Quebec’s highest court has agreed to hear an appeal of a ruling that barred councillors in Saguenay, Que., from praying before their meetings.

Saguenay Mayor Jean Tremblay has been spearheading a legal, financial and public-relations crusade to support his right to lead the short prayer.

The battle has pitted Tremblay against the province’s human rights tribunal as well as the Quebec Secular Movement.

Carla Mariano, a Christian resident of Mount Royal, tells QMI Agency that her town’s decision to remove the manger is an affront to Canada’s Judeo-Christian heritage.

“Why remove an old, established tradition?” she asked. “Does the council have the right to unilaterally remove it? Shouldn’t it be up to citizens?”

Mariano points out that Canadian freedoms and democracy flow from Christian principles, but the mayor says it’s a simple question of fairness.

About half of the town’s citizens are Catholic while 12% are Jewish, another 7% are Greek Orthodox and 6% are Muslim.

“There are many communities in (Mount Royal),” Roy said. “If we want to represent the people, the question arises–why not other religious symbols?”

As a compromise, the town will maintain Christmas lights on a tree in front of town hall.

A synagogue and a church have agreed to place the nativity objects and menorah on their respective properties. Councillors have agreed to take part in religious ceremonies at both places of worship.

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  • GM (Australia)

    If there happened to be a fully lit Christmas tree in the main square at Mecca at this time of the year we could start to take this all a bit more seriously. (You know, interfaith dialogue etc, ha ha!)

    Unfortunately the message is all to serious; We are just bowing down to Islam!

  • Anonymous

    In United States law, this would be the correct decision. The United States is unique in human history as being founded by “We the People,” not any royalty or deity.

    The Constitution of Canada, however, states “Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.” Therefore they have not a leg to stand on. Let them put up religious icons to the five major religions, every denomination thereof, and for good measure all the minority religions and all the disappeared religions of history.

    And that, my friends, is why the Founding Fathers of the USA were right in establishing a secular nation. This is not the role of a nation.

  • Spartan24

    Why not just let each religion have a display during their holiday? There isn’t even a Muslim holiday right now so I don’t see the issue other than wanting to keep others from publicly celebrating there’s.

  • angry mike

    What do there religious symbols consist of? Is it body parts from a suicide bomber? Parts of the plane that crashed in P.A.? Really what are they? Some Muslims kill women if they try to marry outside their family. What kind of symbols do the like?

  • white in philly

    Secularism stumbles on, but cannot stand before Islam. The madness and folly of turning away from the consensus of an overwhelmingly Christian America and Canada, to a distorted, historically unsupportable view of the establishment clause is the beginning of the triumph of liberalism, and the downfall of the West.

    This will never happen, but it is a deliciously amusing dream I have. Everyone who celebrates Christmas, even marginally without any great religious conviction, engages in a one year Christmas boycott protest. Until all this “Happy Holidays”, “Winter fest”, “no nativity scenes”, “all other religions must be included in the so called holiday” oppression and persecution stops, we stop buying.

    The Wall Street types would be down on one knee, like Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer. Please…. we are so sorry. Your killing our bottom line! Your killing our spendthrift economy!

    The greed bags would be beside themselves. Suddenly, common sense would return. “Oh, that’s right! Now I remember! It IS the christian holiday of Christmas that is actually the only thing driving all this economic boom that has become the economic lifeblood of the entire world every December. It is not the minor Jewish Hanukkah feast, or Eid al Islam, or Kwanzaa, or the Eskimo picnic.”

    Just a silly dream.

  • Anonymous

    The tail wagging the dog.

    The muslims won and they know it and are gloating among themselves.

  • Bob Turner

    Until countries are no longer multicultural (among legal citizens), “Happy Holidays” and no Nativity scenes are pretty obviously the fair way to go. Like it or not, good cases can, have, and will be made why all figments of religion should be removed from publicly funded institutions, facilities, and activities.

    Even in a decidedly Christian (for example) nation, devoid of literally all other religions; atheists et al. would have a case why mention of religion could not act to exclude them. People can be free to worship without getting in anyones else’s face uninvited. They might feel a mission to proselytize and evangelize but would have no license to do so.

    Those who would like to establish a theocracy can go off and find their own territory, where such would be possible and would be the covenant among all involved.

  • Anonymous

    There is one thing I do to register my own personal protest. I will not buy any Christmas card that says, “happy holidays” or that assinine “season’s greetings”. If it doesn’t say loudly and clearly, “Merry Christmas”, I will not buy it. It’s not much, but it is my own small little protest against political correctnes. If enough people did likewise, cardmakers would get the message.

  • June

    Since Muslims don’t celebrate Christmas, why would they want some sort of symbol displayed? If a Nativity scene upsets them, they can cover their eyes and run away in horror – all the way back to Mecca!

  • Zenta1697

    Wouldn’t it be a real riot if some contrarian soul who worked in Montreal City Government would get the urge to do something just a tad impish and set up a diorama with male Muslim mannequins stoning a shrieking, begging-for-her-life young female Muslim mannequin to death for the unpardonable sin of having a non-Muslim male friend? Then if he (or even, dare we say, SHE) held a press conference the next day, and with a shocked, somewhat innocent-puppy sort of look on his/her countenance, replied to the indignant gathered “journalists” and sputtering local Muslim “community leaders”: “What? I thought you wanted something that represented your religion? You’re just NEVER happy, are you?” Yeah, I know–instant fatwa calling down death on anyone exhibiting that kind of outspokenness. Imply Islam is violent, demanding, implacable, and we’ll murder you. Apparently the concept of irony isn’t a strong suit of the Mohammedans either. Actually, I’d be happy to hear ONE American or Canadian political figure say, publicly, out loud: “Muslim mores apply in Muslim lands. Your countries, your cultures, and you live with the consequences. They do not apply outside that setting. They will not be imposed in non-Muslim lands to which you emigrate of your own volition. Our countries, our cultures, our rules. Otherwise, kindly stay home. Are we clear?” Pipe dream, probably.

  • Anonymous

    This is all about ethnic and cultural conflict for power. There is a great deal of ENVY and dislike by Moslems and Jews alike about Christmas and its prominence. So, lets destroy it.

    Hanukkah was specifically developed in the 1800’s due to the inherent dislike of Christianity and to distract Jews from Christmas celebrations.

    Step back and see this in the big picture:

    A WEstern Christian culture has set up a territory where they wish to live and prosper–others groups want to come in and take that society and identity and make it for themselves. Nothing new here, it just needs to be stated plainly.

  • Anonymous

    I find that the mayor made a huge mistake by removing the nativity scene and the menorah. That is why I started a petition hoping to convince the city hall members to respect the traditions of the community that they are supposed to represent.

    Thank you for your support.

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/nativity-scene-and-menorah-in-tmr/

  • Anonymous

    #11: You are correct. Have you noticed that the Jewish Menorah gets a prominent display, but a Nativity Scene of the Holy Family is barred?

    Isn’t a Menorah a religious article and symbol? Then why is it allowed in the Public Square, where the Christian display of the Nativity, or the Cross, for that matter, is banned? Hypocrisy strikes again.

    As for Muslim religious symbols, I imagine they include a bloodied knife or sword that is used in “Honor Killings”, and camel dung. These people really know how to celebrate.

  • Bobby

    Even if they are not “true believers” when it comes to Christianity,there are so many Canadians,as well as Americans who simply will not fight for their cultural heritage. They do not realize that doing so would strengthen their rightfull place in the nations they and their ancestors created. But they truly are some of the most clueless folk in the world.