Lighthouse Baptist Church Pastor Mike Butzberger has put up a different slogan on his church's front sign every week for 15 years. Most of the time, these signs are little helpful sayings or inspirational words, but this time, Pastor Butzberger decided to take on Hanukkah. And now a whole lot of people are upset.
This week, his sign reads: "Christmas easier to spell than Hanukkah." It's true. As a Jewish person, I am accustomed to seeing it spelled Chanukah, Hanukkah, Hannukah, and even other variations. It IS hard to spell. He's right. But it's also a really ignorant sign.
The question of whether or not it's offensive isn't really part of the equation. Sure, it's mildly annoying to suggest that somehow Hanukkah is getting more play than Christmas. Trust me, as the mom of two interfaith kids, Christmas is in NO way getting the shaft here.
The reality is, if you know anything about the spelling of the word Hanukkah, then you know that it's translated from Hebrew and words like this end up having multiple spellings.
It's not that big of a deal and it would be pretty funny to talk about the confusion were it not for the comparison.
To the Pastor's credit, he did take the sign down after getting complaints and he did take them seriously. His mission was likely just to make a joke, but here's my question for him:
Did he put himself in anyone else's shoes?
This season is often difficult for some non-Christians. It can feel a little lonely if you don't celebrate Christmas when you are INUNDATED all day long with Christmas music, trees, people wishing you "Merry Christmas," and on and on. Sure, some celebrate it as a secular holiday in order to join in on the fun and I say that's fine, too.
But what is so wrong with respecting those who don't? Why is it offensive to allow people of all faiths the opportunity to celebrate in their own way? Is it really somehow offensive to you? In the US, Christmas has won the culture war. You get five aisles and Target and Hanukkah gets one half of one. So why rub it in?
It's not offensive. It's ignorant and kind of insensitive. How hard is it not to be a jerk on your church sign? Honestly.
Do you think this sign is offensive?