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President Considered Banning White House Christmas Crèche

BY Tim Drake

| Posted 12/8/09 at 7:05 PM

 

The rumor is that the White House didn’t put up a crèche this year. That’s not true.

What is true is the fact that the president and first lady considered not putting one up. That appears in a New York Times profile of Desirée Rogers, the White House social secretary.

According to the story:

“When former social secretaries gave a luncheon to welcome Ms. Rogers earlier this year, one participant said, she surprised them by suggesting the Obamas were planning a ‘non-religious Christmas’ — hardly a surprising idea for an administration making a special effort to reach out to other faiths.

“The lunch conversation inevitably turned to whether the White House would display its crèche, customarily placed in a prominent spot in the East Room. Ms. Rogers, this participant said, replied that the Obamas did not intend to put the manger scene on display — a remark that drew an audible gasp from the tight-knit social secretary sisterhood. (A White House official confirmed that there had been internal discussions about making Christmas more inclusive and whether to display the crèche.)”

In the end, tradition won out. A crèche is in its usual spot in the East Room.

The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue didn’t miss the opportunity to comment.

“It should come as no big surprise that [President Obama] and his wife would like to neuter Christmas in the White House,” said Donohue. “That’s their natural step — to ban the public display of Christian symbols. Have any doubts? Last April, Georgetown University was ordered to put a drape over the name of Jesus as a condition of the president speaking there.

“If the Obamas want to deprive their children of celebrating Christmas, that is their business. It is the business of the public to hold them accountable for the way they celebrate Christmas in the White House. We know one thing for sure: No other administration ever entertained internal discussions on whether to display a Nativity scene in the White House.”