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First, some background: a few weeks ago the Torrington, CT Parks and Recreation Department discovered that the baby Jesus figurine had been stolen from where they had the town’s nativity scene stored. The story went on for a bit, and a replacement figurine was donated.

In response to this incident, I wrote the following letter to the editor of the Hartford Courant:

If I understand the articles correctly, the Torrington Parks and Recreation Department owns a nativity scene [Nov. 29, news, “Donation Returns Jesus To Nativity”].

The theft of the baby Jesus figurine was reprehensible, as is any other theft, but why does a town government own and operate a nativity scene at all?

Does it also have displays for other religions? Does the town display lights during Diwali for the Hindus? Does the town own a menorah? Does it sponsor readings from the Quran (if that’s appropriate, I don’t know)? Why is a civil government in the United States celebrating any religious holiday at all?

I’ve been told by people I trust that my tone was excessively acerbic. I apologize. I let myself get carried away, I guess. Be that as it may, I was rather astonished to receive the following letter (yes, letter on stationery in an envelope with a stamp):

12/December/2012

Sir:

It’s obvious from your rant in the Sunday Hartford Courant that you did not attend my lecture on American Government 101. This country was founded by Christians and the overwhelming majority of the 310 Million citizens are Christians. In short, this is a Christian nation and we expect the citizens of this great country to reflect the will of the majority. All non-Christians are guests here.

My duty as I saw it.

Merry Christmas,

X

PS: For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

I didn’t include the signature, but the writer is a real person with a listed address and a listed phone number.

I knew that there were people who had that view, but quite honestly I wasn’t prepared to be confronted by one. I have no intention of responding directly to this letter.

I do wonder whom else this gentleman considers guests. Obviously he classifies non-Christians as guests; but I wonder how he feels about people of other races? Does it matter if they came here willingly, or unwillingly? Does it matter if they came here legally, or illegally? Since his opinions are so vastly different from mine, I really can’t begin to guess.