On Tuesday, Tarzana-based JB Partners Group Inc. sent a memo to staff at The Willows senior apartment building demanding they take down Christmas trees and menorahs in communal areas. The company has owned The Willows for four years, but this is the first time it's given such a directive to staff. On Wednesday, two dozen residents in the 75-resident complex gathered in the lobby to place a neon green sign that read: "Please Save Our Tree." "We're all angry. We want that tree," said Fern Scheel, who has lived at the complex for nearly two years. "Where's our freedom? This is ridiculous." The Willows staff and JB Property supervisor Wethanie Law declined to comment. JB Partners Group owns apartments in California, Oklahoma and Colorado. Resident Edna Johnson said Law had told her the tree had to be taken down because it's a religious symbol. "We could put out Easter baskets, have turkey for Thanksgiving but no tree for Christmas because it has Christ's name in the beginning of Christmas," Johnson said. Frances Schaeffer, who is Jewish, said she doesn't understand the property management company's stance. "This tree is a symbol of reverence that we can all enjoy regardless of our religious beliefs," she said.Yes, it's instructive that Frances Schaeffer, "who is Jewish," also thinks it's stupid to force people to take down a Christmas tree. She's got it exactly right, and it's a shame that common sense seems heroic nowadays. Since when did grown ups feel threatened by someone else's holiday traditions, whether they are religious or not? Real people don't think this is a big deal, and people who do think it's a big deal -- the anti-religion crusaders -- are fools you wouldn't want to get cornered talking to at a Christmas party anywhere. If that's your axe to grind, you need to get a life.
But the more important factoid that isn't even commented on in the story is that the entity ordering that the Christmas tree be taken down is a private company. This is how infected our culture is with the idiocy of the left... and with just plain idiocy. There is no legal basis whatsoever for a private company to take down a Christmas tree if it wants to have one, just as there is no legal basis whatsoever to require a private company to put up a Christmas tree if it doesn't want one. The First Amendment, which affords private citizens freedom of religion, only restrains government action to "establish" a religion.
But the government could not tell "Tarzana-based JB Partners" to put up a Christmas tree, or to take one down, and hasn't. This is purely a business decision -- and a strange one -- by JB Partners. Essentially they are saying that our company is anti-Christmas, for no reason other than they are, apparently, anti-Christmas.
Whether that will play in the market is another thing. If I were looking for a retirement home and I were a Christian, as most Americans still are, I'd be looking elsewhere other than to JB Partners, which appears to be anti-Christian.
Somebody's getting their ass chewed out at JB Partners right now for subjecting their company to this much bad press. What were they thinking?