It’s that time of year when we hear scattered reports on the news about someone who has objected to a Christmas tree being displayed on public property either on grounds that it equates to government endorsement of a particular religion or because they find it “offensive.”
A similar situation played out earlier this month in Massachusetts, where Dedham Public Library branch supervisor Lisa Desmond posted a message on her Facebook page about how she had been informed that Christmas trees could not be put on display in the town’s two libraries because it was offensive to some people.
“I found out today that my beautiful library will not have [its] Christmas tree this year,” Desmond wrote. “Zero explanation. When I asked, I was told ‘people’ were made uncomfortable last year looking at it. I’m sorry WHAT? In my 28 years at the Dedham Public Library, I have never heard a negative comment.”
She went on to note that she was all about inclusivity and was disappointed that town officials apparently didn’t feel the same way.
As these things often go, the story got picked up nationally by Fox News and also received a fair amount of in-state coverage from Massachusetts-based media outlets.
Because there was so much pushback from residents and those from out of state who heard about the story, town officials in Dedham relented but insisted there was never any “ban” on Christmas tree displays at their libraries.
“At the Dedham Public Library we do our best to respect the wide variety of viewpoints and beliefs in our community, including those who choose to celebrate Christmas and other winter holidays,” a statement from the Town of Dedham read. “To be clear, there is no ban on Christmas at the Dedham library.
“Unfortunately, a recent social media post expressing disagreement with the decision to display a holiday tree at the library has quickly evolved into a polarized environment and has led to the harassment and bullying of town employees,” they wrote in another statement issued not long after Dedham’s Facebook post went viral.
“We wholeheartedly condemn this behavior as it tears at the fabric of our community and cannot be tolerated.”
One resident who was extremely upset with the debate over the issue was Dedham Human Rights Commissioner Diane Loud, who zeroed in on Desmond and those who agreed with her in an expletive-filled rant that was the very definition of the “harassment and bullying” town leaders had accused the pro-Christmas tree display side of engaging in.
“Everyone will tell me that you are a selfish f***ing b*tch who does not care about anyone but herself. For a tree? For a motherf***ing TREE? You have put people’s lives in a lot of danger. A LOT of danger. For a motherf***ing Christmas tree,” Loud wrote in a Facebook comment section in response to the uproar.
She concluded by writing this: “In closing, I would like to add a F*** YOU, YOU PIECES OF TRASH. I hate each and every one of you and I do wish great suffering on you. You are terrible, terrible people. And you did it all because you didn’t get your way. You are despicable.”
Fortunately, Loud’s unhinged rant was not tolerated. She ended up resigning from her position on the Dedham HRC not long after posting it.
All of this goes to reaffirm that sometimes the good guys do win in these things as long as they are persistent and can get the right amount of publicity and pressure directed at the people in charge of making such decisions.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
North Carolina native Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a media analyst and regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.