December 2nd, 2010
12:09 PM ET

"Christmas" returns to Philly's Christmas village

Editor's Note: CNN Affiliate WPVI's Sarah Bloomquist brings us this story from Philadelphia.

The word in a sign that sparked so much controversy will return to a holiday display, or more specifically, a Christmas display outside Philadelphia City Hall.

Mayor Michael Nutter is promising that at some point today, the word "Christmas" will go back up on the two signs outside of City Hall on Dilworth Plaza, welcoming visitors to the merchant village.

The signs currently read simply "Village". The operator of the merchant village was going to add the word "Holiday" but even that got scrapped. Now "Christmas" will return after two days of controversy.

The mayor told reporters Tuesday, "I am pleased to let you know that Christmas Village is back. The sign will be back."

Christmas Village is Christmas Village again. On Tuesday, after hearing of complaints from citizens and city workers about religious diversity and inclusiveness, organizers of the German-inspired merchant fair decided to take down the word Christmas on the large signs outside City Hall – only to have the mayor reverse that decision yesterday.

The mayor called for Christmas to come back by Thursday morning. Holiday is out – Christmas back in.

Read the full story from CNN Affiliate WPVI.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Christmas • Holidays • Politics

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soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Dan

    THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM MYSTERY... Messiah – His Spaceships... Secrets of the Vatican – UFOs in the Ancient Art... VIDEO: Rabbi Reveals Name of the Messiah:

    December 3, 2010 at 5:51 am |
  2. aUtheistIC

    Everytime religious people post something about God or something out of their belief, there comes the Atheists storming it with their typical (hateful,profane,disrespectful but in-fairness articulate, itellect, scientific and logical) replies and name callings such as; "2000 years religious numbnuts", "oxymorons who keep asking of sky daddy's help", "idiots who was fooled by a magical being in the sky" and so on and so forth.

    They also keep on saying that Religious people are shoving belief down to their throat.

    But the trut is...Atheists were the one shoving their belief down to religious people's throat they intentionally turning things upside down by passing to the latter the blame to hide their true intents and motives and soon they'll do it by force. They are discrediting bible through their wit, intellectual, articulate, scientific and logical but sly arguments to convince every people here on earth that it's a 2000 year old hoax and everything written in it which includes the prophecies in Revelations and the book of Apocalypses that had prophecized their comming.


    December 2, 2010 at 10:08 pm |
    • Zstone

      "The end is nigh"

      December 4, 2010 at 11:56 pm |
  3. GSA

    @EastSide_Thomas – "Al Gore for his make believe crisis", you got to be kidding me or you have to be a bit slow or maybe blind to what's going on around the World.
    @Bob – ""How's your mother and father." They end up balling and I feel renewed and have a spring in my step." – best quote on CNN ever!!!!

    December 2, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
    • Let Us Prey

      @ GSA


      December 2, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
  4. Reality

    X-mas Village? Hmmm? The reality- this and similar villages are and always will be based on the embellished and "myticized" birth of a simple, preacher man named Jesus.

    What many contemporary religion historians have concluded about said birth:

    Professor Crossan with great tho-ro-ughness examined all the existing scr-iptural writings from the first and second ce-nturies AD/CE. If you do not have his 505 page book, The Historical Jesus, see -.faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan1.rtf.

    Using these doc-uments plus the co-nclusions of the major NT exegetes in the past two hundred years, he compared Jesus' reported acts and sayings to when they were reported and how many reports were made. Those acts and sayings with single or later att-estations along with the current biblical scholarship negativity, were judged not to be done or said by the historical Jesus. Approximately 67% of the NT was judged to be in that category, i.e. embellishments of the facts typically made to compete with the "Caesar", "Al-exander" and Egyptian gods. See faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan2.rtf

    Use this latter site to analyze your NT references for "Crossan" acceptance, e.g. Matt 1:23
    26±. Jesus Vi-r-g-inally Conceived: (1) Gos. Heb. 1; (2) Matt 1:18-25; (3) Luke 1:26-38; (4a) Ign. Eph. 7:2; (4b) Ign. Eph. 18:2a; (4c) Ign. Eph. 19:1; (4d) Ign. Smyrn. 1:1b., was judged to be not from the historical Jesus but of th-eolo-gical importance.

    These same passages also are in direct conflict with
    (!5a) John 6:42
    (!5b) John 7:40-44
    (!5c) John 8:39-41

    (!6) Luke 2:27,33,41,48

    where Joseph is reported to be the father of Jesus.

    "In Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography (2000), Bruce Chilton develops the idea of Jesus as a ma-mzer; someone whose irre-gular birth circu-mstances result in their exclusion from full participation in the life of the co-mm-unity. He argues for the natural pat-er-nity of Joseph and finds no need for a miraculous co-nception. In his subsequent reco-nstruction of Jesus' life, Chilton suggests that this sustained personal experience of exclusion played a major role in Jesus' self-identi-ty, his concept of God and his spiritual quest."

    "John P,Meier [Marginal Jew I,220-22] discusses the vi-rginal conception as part of his larger chapter on Jesus' origins. He earlier notes that both infancy narratives "seem to be largely the product of Christian reflection on the salvific meaning of Jesus Christ in the light of OT prophecies (p. 213). At the end of his examination, Meier concludes:

    "The ends result of this survey must remain meager and disappointing to both defenders and opponents of the doctrine of the vir-ginal conception. Taken by itself, historical-critical research simply does not have the sources and tools available to reach a final decision on the historicity of the vi-rginal conception as narrated by Matthew and Luke. One's acceptance or rejection of the doctrine will be largely influenced by one's own philosophical and theological presu-ppositions, as well as the weight one gives to Church teaching."

    You might also say that here was a man whose simple teachings were embellished to compete with the gods of Rome, Greece, Ba-bylon, Pe-rsia and Eg-ypt to the point that only about 30% of the NT is historical.

    With respect to the Three Kings and other legends:

    The Three Kings/Wise Men myth was developed from all types of analogous legends and OT passages pre-Jesus. See faithfutures.org/index.php?t-itle=369_Star_of_Revelation for a lenthly review.

    An excerpt:

    Gerd Luedemann

    "Commenting on the infancy narratives overall, Luedemann [Jesus, 124-29] concludes that Luke and Matthew represent "two equally unhistorical narratives." He cites the occurrence of a miraculous heavenly sign at key points in the life of Mithridates VI in a history written by Justinus (active in the reign of Augustus, 2 BCE to 14 CE). "

    John P. Meier (Notre Dame professor)

    "Meier [Marginal Jew I,211ff and 376] considers these traditions to be "largely products of early Christian reflection on the salvific meaning of Jesus in the light of OT prophecies" and concludes that their historicity is "highly questionable."

    December 2, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
  5. Ray

    All I can say is Merry Chrismahounakuansaka.

    Geeze is't there someting out there more important to complain about

    December 2, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
  6. EastSide_Thomas

    Bob, you are most certainly a candidate for the Noble Peace prize providing that it isn't given to the likes of Al Gore for his make believe crisis or President Obama for work he hadn't yet done (still hasn’t either).

    December 2, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
    • Bob

      Is this your attempt to be clever and/or witty? Topical humor from 6 months ago doesn't qualify for either. Sorry.

      You need to work on your internet posts d00d.

      December 2, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Gee EastSide, Republican much?

      Global warming may well be true. We need further study. Not dismissal of the possibility.

      Obama is a good president. Would you rather have McCain or god forbid Palin answer the White House phone at 3:00 AM?


      December 5, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
  7. Doc Vestibule

    Popular christmas traditions in north america are so far removed from christianity, I don't see how folk can cite religion as grounds for offense.

    December 2, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
    • Bob

      That is a fair assessment. It's totally not about Christ. But because it's so popular, the church hasn't stopped using it as a bait for drawing people in.

      December 2, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
  8. EastSide_Thomas

    Boob. I didn't misspell that did I?

    I feel sorry for people like you; so at odds with the world, not fitting in anywhere but with the misfits. Nothing to celebrate but the sourness you spread over a joyous time.

    I bet you had few friends growing up.

    December 2, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
    • Bob

      @Eastside_Thomas Wow, you must have gone to one of the best psychological schools in the country to be able to figure out my personal deficiencies from all of 5 interent forum texts. You are correct, I am in fact lonely and have been for most of my life.

      Often when I was younger I would dream of writing a sitcom called "High Monkey Five", where a detective would be paired with a monkey to solve crimes. At the end of each episode we'd have a very cleverly written message that teaches a profound message like "Drugs take the life you want away" or "That factor is dullness only suitable to those who are dullards."

      You are also correct that I spread sourness across the world and revel in the practice. Often times when I'm having fun with the orphans I voluenteer for, I ask them "How's your mother and father." They end up balling and I feel renewed and have a spring in my step.

      So, you have a right to feel sorry for me, because honestly, after my hard day slaving in front of a computer where I create databases to help cure cancer, I end up going home and planning the community trips I take with 30 of my closest friends. I am a total social pariah.

      Thanks for writing.
      Love, Bob.

      December 2, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
    • Let Us Prey

      @ Bob

      Maybe it's that 'transparency' thing you've been wrestling with? Just a thought...

      December 2, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
    • Bob

      I have no clue what you're trying to say. Maybe articulating your ideas will assist matters.

      December 2, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
    • David Johnson


      Dude! That was a really funny reply. Cheers to you!

      December 5, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
  9. Bob

    OUTSIDE Philidelphia City Hall. Is this privately owned land? If so, they can blare Christmas all they want.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
    • EastSide_Thomas

      Bob, by the way, you left out the other O in your name.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
    • Bob

      Look, I didn't make fun of your poor spelling and grammar in your previous posts that indicated you had an IQ of 90, and I'm clearly not calling you out on your childish pettyness after someone realizes they made a mistake.

      How about accepting that the article is misleading and I didn't appreciate what it was saying.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  10. pet sterling

    Light Arches at Christmas Village


    The light arches of Christmas Village became of major interest today due a partial removal of signage. This is a statement to clarify the position of the event organizer.

    The event name continues to be "Christmas Village in Philadelphia"!

    The change of its light arch was not initiated by the event organizer, but was a response to what the Office of the Managing Director at the City of Philadelphia asked for. The event is hosted on Public Property.

    Christmas Village in Philadelphia is an outdoor Holiday market in downtown Philadelphia, located at Dilworth Plaza on the west side of City Hall. For the third year in a row the German American Marketing Inc. is organizing the "Christmas Village". Yesterday the word "Christmas" was removed from the archways, but not from any other event communication material (including its website http://www.philachristmas.com).

    "As a city of great diversity, one shouldn't be surprised that there's a difference of views when it comes to symbols and words," said City spokesman Mark McDonald.

    We at German American Marketing, Inc. never intended to exclude anyone. The whole concept of Christmas markets in Germany is about joy, fun and entertainment and not a place for religious conflicts. We want to invite everybody no matter what their culture believes to join our Winter Wonderland. We are proud to be a multicultural team with employees from all different cultural backgrounds as well as vendors from all over the world, and we are sure that our market benefits from this. Christmas Village in Philadelphia hosts Muslim, Jewish and Christian vendors. The purpose of Christmas markets in Germany is for everyone to come together and have a good time and not to feel excluded or insulted in any way.

    German American Marketing, Inc. will now remove the sign completely as it wants to avoid any kind of misunderstanding. "People have to go to public buildings. They shouldn't feel offended," Bauer said, "we want to stress that the name was not intended to upset anyone".

    Along with our most important partner – the City of Philadelphia – we fulfill the request of Managing Director Richard Negrin.

    We are still following the tradition of German Christmas markets. That's why the event will keep the name "Christmas Village in Philadelphia".

    Dr. Thomas Bauer
    President German American Marketing, Inc.
    Organizer Christmas Village in Philadelphia

    December 2, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
    • EastSide_Thomas

      Dr. Bauer, thank you for your efforts on behalf of every child or adult with an inner child still remaing. The critics of this naming of a wonderful tradion have no problem with the use of the word Christmas attached to every sales item advertised everywhere yet are so offended when it comes to the something that they deem as religion use.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
    • Bob

      I have no problem with people using Christmas, having nativity scenes, slide shows, even acting events. I do have a problem if they're in any way endorsed by the govern-ment, which would vio-late the cons-t-itut-ion of the United States.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
  11. pet sterling

    The organizers did not take the word CHRISTMAS off of the sign, they were pressured by Nutter and Negrin.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  12. jasinacus

    Why is this even an issue, Christmas is Christmas, it is not "holiday". This is what people hate about liberal/leftist goobs who try to ram this politically correct crap down our throats.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
    • Bob

      It's contrary to the founding concepts of this nation. Not because it's PC.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
    • Bob

      It's private land from what I can gather. They can call it whatever they want.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
    • Zstone

      It is public ground Bob. Its the plaza in front of City Hall. I walk by it every day.

      December 4, 2010 at 11:52 pm |
  13. Bob

    To hell with your concpets of the const-itution. We're doing what we want.

    Remember, Christians own the winter solstice. No one could possibly claim this date. Except the hebrews who had something before. And all the other pagan religions. Oh yeah, can't forget about Druids.... Hrm.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
    • EastSide_Thomas

      Bob – It's a Christmas villiage. get over it and get over yourself. Quite trying to achieve the lowest common denominator. That factor is dullness only suitable to those who are dullards.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
    • Bob

      @Eastside_Thomas Fantasitc. Then I can conclude you have no problem with an Islamic Ramadan display when that comes up on public grouds either then.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
    • Bob

      My bad, article implied it was on public property. It's clearly not. I could care less what they call it in that case.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.