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article imageSaskatoon man sends complaint over 'Merry Christmas' bus message

By Andrew Moran     Dec 17, 2012 in Lifestyle
Saskatoon - Ashu M.G. Solo, a Saskatoon atheist, has issued a complaint to the city after he was apparently offended by a "Merry Christmas" message that appeared on electronic displays on Saskatoon Transit buses.
Solo explained in his letter that Christmas wishes are offensive and discriminatory because it not only gives preferential treatment of one group over another, but it also violates the separation of state and religion. He argued in the same letter that it imposes one religious belief onto other groups of people who don’t celebrate the season.
The vocal Saskatoon resident wrote a complaint to two Saskatoon Transit managers and the city manager last week. Solo later wrote a follow-up note to several city councillors and Mayor Don Atchison, who was reelected in late October.
“I don't want my taxpayer money funding city buses that promote a religion I don't believe in,” wrote Solo, reports QMI Agency.
MetroNews reports that Saskatoon’s executive committee down at city hall will review the messages and then proceed to give their recommendation to city council. Not everyone finds the message insulting, though.
“I think the messages are good and I think they need to stay there They convey the feelings that the citizens are trying to convey to other citizens,” said Ward 8 City Councillor Eric Olauson. “Merry Christmas is how I wish people around me in Saskatoon—regardless of faith or religion—a happy season. Likewise, if I run into somebody from another religion or faith, if they say happy Hanukkah, happy Kwanzaa or happy Eid, that’s how I take it as well.”
Meanwhile, Ward 10 Councillor Zach Jeffries noted that Christmas is more than just a religious holiday, but rather it has become part of the cultural norm and celebrations.
“The message should be taken in the spirit in which it was intended and it was definitely intended in one of peace and good will,” said Councillor Jeffries.
In the end, Ward 1 Councillor Darren Hill thinks the executive committee will vote to keep the message and believes city council will not change the positive messages for its transit riders because “Christmas means different things to different people.”
Atheists have started to revolt against Christmas in recent years. Digital Journal reported last month that the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers, an atheist organization, was upset after a school gave its students and their parents the option of attending a play-version of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” that was performed inside of a church.
More about Saskatoon, Ashu MG Solo, Merry christmas, City council, bus message
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