A Norwegian mayor has called on a church to take down its traditional Star of David Christmas decoration in light of complaints that it is too closely associated with Israel and the Jews.
Strand mayor Irene Heng Lauvsnes urged the Klippen Pentecostal church, who lights up a large Star of David neon decoration in a municipal park where they hold their Christmas celebration, to redesign the decoration into a “traditional Christmas star,” the Stavanger Aftenblad newspaper reported Thursday.
“The park in southern Norway must remain neutral, especially in light of “the controversy”, Mayor Lauvsnes said in a statement to the Aftenbladet news publication. She also explained that the reason she opposed the Jewish star was due to “contradictions and different opinions.”
Not everyone agreed with the mayor’s vision. Editor of the Dagen news outlet, Vebjørn Selbekk, blasted Lauvsnes’ decision saying: “Has the Strand municipality lost al perspective? Now, they are asking a local church to change their shining decorations to give it a less Jewish and Israeli feel. Have they forgotten that we are celebrating Christmas because a Jewish boy was born to a Jewish mother in a Jewish stable in a Jewish city in a Jewish country?”
Citing government interference in a private church-related matter, Selbekk added: “The most incredible thing about this case is that the Strand Municipality itself approached a private entity, ie the congregation, to ask them to give the star a less Jewish and Israeli look”.
Meanwhile, people backing the star-of-David have encouraged like-minded individuals to contact the city’s mayor directly to express their opposition to her decision on her supporter’s Facebook page.
Appearing to be surprised by the backlash, Lauvsnes said that she “I had never thought it would be such a big issue, or that it should be linked to freedom of speech”.