PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) — Workers on Thursday returned the word “Christmas” to a market sign three days after it was removed in response to complaints about cultural and religious insensitivity.
The “Christmas” portion of the “Christmas Village” sign outside Philadelphia City Hall was taken down on Monday by the market manager after he got complaints from some city employees and members of the public.
But the absence of “Christmas” prompted protests from others including the Archdiocese of Philadelphia which said on Wednesday it was “very disappointed” by the removal of the word.
“If we are to be a truly diverse and inclusive community, we must certainly be respectful of all the various celebrations that occur during this time of year,” the church said in a statement. “Christmas deserves its rightful place among those.”
Other calls for “Christmas” to be restored were received from around the country, said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.
Nutter said that after a period of reflection, he asked the market’s manager, Thomas Bauer, to restore “Christmas” to the sign because the market, which sells gifts for the holiday season, is a business and not a religious site.
“This isn’t a religious activity. This is a commercial market,” Nutter told Reuters.
The Democratic mayor, who said he was raised as a Christian, denied media reports his managing director, Richard Negrin, had asked Bauer to alter the sign.
“We are a city of tolerance and we learn from the many different cultures and religions,” he said.
Reporting by Jon Hurdle; Editing by Jerry Norton