It’s not often that a rabbi defends the Easter Bunny. In a piece on Newsweek.com, New York Rabbi Marc Gellman takes on “spiritual correctness” gone awry in Florida shopping malls, where the traditional egg-toting figure has been renamed “Baxter the Bunny” and “Garden Bunny.” A third mall, meanwhile, has Peter Rabbit handing out Easter treats.
“The noble cause of the separation of church and state is trivialized,” by such an overzealous pursuit of “neutrality,” writes Gellman. He encourages people to celebrate – not secularize – what he calls “benign religious symbols.” And if someone is offended, they need to “get a life … Then send money for tsunami relief, then try to end the slaughter in Darfur, then go out and buy an energy-efficient car, and then try real hard to understand that bumping into your neighbor’s customs and faith ought to bring you a sense of warmth, curiosity, and compassion—not fear, not revenge and not, God help us, Baxter the Bunny.”
What’s next, the rabbi wondered – “The Ten Suggestions”?
Do you agree with Rabbi Gellman that in trying to be secularly responsible, some malls may have gone too far? Or are the malls simply being business-minded, seeking the biggest bang for their bunny?