Q: Should the White House, whose residents serve all Americans, display a crèche or a menorah or any strictly religious symbols during the holidays?
The members of the Obama family ought to be able to observe their own faith traditions as they choose in their private residence. In the public areas of the White House, however, every American ought to feel at home, not a guest. The display of a creche makes a religious statement and is as out of place as…well, as a chanukkiyah (menorah) that is kindled according to Jewish ritual requirements.
I am not a person who believes that my religious freedoms are endangered by the sight of a tree or a devotional tableau. This question is not about “what harm could it do” — the answer is, “not much.” Instead, the question has to do with what is consistent with the principles of the Constitution, and a creche in the East Room of the White House isn’t.