Photo: wolfsavard via flickr
A Texas town is in an uproar over a Christmas tree that was removed from a branch of Chase bank because it was considered offensive.A business man who says he’s “known for his Christmas trees,” (seriously – he said that and he also said he “enjoys the Christmas season so much that he decorated 35 trees at his home”) donated the tree to his bank, the Southlake, Texas branch of Chase, so that it could display it in the lobby.
A day later, JPMorgan told the bank’s branch managers to remove the tree.
Here’s the explanation a spokesman for JPMorgan gave to the Star-Telegram:
Greg Hassell, a JPMorgan Chase spokesman, said that the company’s policy isn’t anti-Christmas. “People wish their customers merry Christmas when it’s appropriate,” he said.
However, to ensure that everyone who visits Chase branches feels welcome and comfortable, the bank’s policy is to use only decorations supplied by the company.
“We appreciate the thoughtful gesture from Mr. Morales,” Hassell said. “Unfortunately, we’re unable to keep it [the tree] on display for the remainder of the holiday season.” JPMorgan Chase ensures that decorations are “something everyone is comfortable with, regardless of how they celebrate the season,” Hassell said.
So the bank doesn’t want to alienate anyone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas by putting up only a tree, and in order to insure it doesn’t, it’s a company policy to only display company decorations.
So we understand where JPMorgan is coming from. It might have been a little more spirited to tell the bank to put the other decorations up early, but whatever, we get it. Boy, are we in the minority.
Bryan Fischer, the director of issue analysis for the American Family Association, told the Star-Telegram that Chase’s decision is “absurd.”
“According to Advertising Age, 91 per cent of American people celebrate Christmas,” he said. “That means that the single most inoffensive thing you can do at this time of year is wish someone a merry Christmas.”
And Antonio Morales, the man donated the tree, defended himself by saying, “I put a tree up in [my landlord’s] office,” he said. “It doesn’t offend him, and he’s Jewish.”
The issue here that the town doesn’t seem to get is that JPMorgan is not against Christmas trees.
Here’s proof. The bank’s New York headquarters decorated for Christmas last year with a Menorah, 2 or 3 Christmas trees (if I remember correctly), and non-denominational decorations like mistletoe and strings of lights.
But that’s not good enough for Fischer, who thinks that JPMorgan is involved in some sort of a mass scheme to belittle Christmas.
He told the Star-Telegram:
that companies that have gotten away from acknowledging Christmas claim that they do it because they want to be inclusive (the bolding is ours).
… But what? They do it because they hate Christmas?
That’s silly. Only a Scrooge hates Christmas.
But anyway, the debate here has oddly become, did JPMorgan really remove the tree because it’s company policy? Or because they didn’t want to offend people, and thus the bank misunderstands Americans and has no Christmas spirit?
We’re going with company policy. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.
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