The continuing struggle between the Downey crusaders for a creche and the ACLU reminds me of a time in my life when Christianity was the only known religion and English the only viable language.
I grew up with negative feelings about my French-speaking heritage partly due to my father's laughter when my mother and grandfather spoke French. I accepted the annual creche in the town of my childhood because everyone there seemed to be Christian. Until I reached high school, I was unaware that Jews in our community did not celebrate Christmas. But one has to grow up some day. Sooner or later we find out there is no Santa Claus, sandman, bogyman, good fairy, Frosty the Snowman, the Easter bunny and other childhood characters. We also learn that not everyone in America is Christian.
The ACLU is fighting a losing battle because too many Americans are still holding onto childhood memories. Worse yet, these "pious" individuals will ignore the religions of others to have their own way. If one does not speak English or believe in a Christian God, then that person has to be "educated into the correct path."
It is indeed a sad commentary that as we welcome 1987, the City of Downey has a sign that reads, "Happy Birthday, Jesus" when in all likelihood if such a person existed at all he was born in late summer or fall.
My wish for 1987 is that the ACLU wins its case to dismantle the Downey Nativity scene once and for all. And Happy New Year, Carol Sobel, wherever you are.
--GERALD P. LUNDERVILLE