18 Dec 2003 A Scrooge for Our Time
From our executive director, David Almasi:
I am one of the biggest supporters of private property rights out there, but let’s call a Scrooge a Scrooge.
The Hall family owns a piece of property on Main Street in Edgartown, Massachusetts. The plot boasted a theater that burned in 1961, and the Hall family has yet to make good on plans to rebuild it. In the passing decades, people cleaned it up and turned it into park. The city leased the land from the Halls a number of years ago to make the park official. Now, the Halls are stipulating that the prominent 20-foot spruce that’s decorated at Christmas must be removed because family patriarch Benjamin Hall, Jr. considers it a “religious icon.” (See an article about it here.) If the city doesn’t comply, the Halls may not renew the lease. And Hall implies he’ll take a saw or an axe to it himself if he must.
As the property’s owner, Hall does have the right to do anything he wants with the land. But to demand the removal of the tree — not just a prohibition on decorating it — shows the extent that anti-religious zealots will go these days.
First the Pledge of Allegiance. Now the Edgartown spruce. What’s next?