Menorahs in Basalt doesn’t belong on public land | AspenTimes.com

Menorahs in Basalt doesn’t belong on public land

We should all be very grateful to live in this great land that wisely drew a distinction between church and state when the Constitution was framed way back in 1787.

That separation is respected unless you live in Basalt. In Basalt, on publicly funded taxpayer land, a menorah has been erected in Lions Park. When you drive to Willits, there is another menorah erected in the most prominent location of Triangle Park.

Taken in isolation, in proper context, not on public land, it is a symbol of love and hope. I contend the placement on public property is probably very counterproductive if peace is the goal. Others not of the faith may view the placement on public property as aggression and disrespect for the rest and our Constitution. The lights on the trees in Basalt have been renamed "holiday lights." If they were still called Christmas lights, the placement of the menorah would still be wrong as it is a distinct visual symbol.

No holiday-specific religious symbols should be added to public land. Is this the way for the religious leaders of the faith to create peace? If someone were to remove or deface the symbol simply because it is on public property, it would be branded as being anti-Semitic and publicized widely.

There must be a better way to proceed if love and peace is what this is all about.

Mark Kwiecienski

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