Spring Bunny March 2, 2007

Spring Bunny

Four years ago, the town of Walnut Creek decided to drop the word Easter from community events and the “Spring Bunny” came to life and the city held “Spring egg hunts.” They did this based on a complaint from a Jewish resident.

And no one cared. It’s all part of making holidays more accessible for everyone, not just one religion.

Michael Runzler wrote a letter to the editor to the Contra Costa Times yesterday (in a timely fashion) to argue against the change. The letter said:

The Easter Bunny isn’t welcome in Walnut Creek. Neither is the traditional Easter egg hunt.

The oh-so-politically-correct have run the Easter Bunny out of town, replacing him and all things Easter with the generic spring bunny (who probably wears the Easter Bunny’s costume) and spring egg hunt.

Those banning the Easter Bunny will claim they’re trying to be inclusive and avoiding any religious overtones. But an Easter egg hunt is about as religious as drinking beer on St. Patrick’s day or giving roses on St. Valentine’s Day. Also, if the spring bunny events have nothing to do with Easter, then why schedule them on the day before Easter? Why not move them up a couple of weeks to coincide with the first day of spring?

But that wouldn’t make sense, would it? And neither does the unholier-than-thou effort to undo a long-standing tradition for the sake of modern expediency.

Those who want to participate in a tradition should take their Easter baskets and hunt for Easter eggs in cities that know when to leave well enough alone. And on your way out of town, thank Walnut Creek for keeping the parks and children safe from the Easter Bunny.

Michael Runzler

Walnut Creek

Of course, the problem isn’t the Easter Egg Hunt. It’s that Easter itself is a religious holiday and a city government should not be promoting it. They can promote the traditions that go along with it in a way such that everyone can participate. Celebrations of Easter (the Biblical celebrations) can be had in church.

Why schedule the events on the day before Easter? Because it’s what people have come to expect. Though I wouldn’t be opposed to a celebration on the first day of spring, as Runzler suggests. That would be pretty nice, actually.

I’m not sure why Runzler is too upset. It’s not like the religious reasons for Easter have ever been a part of the holiday’s rituals in the first place. No one is replacing anything religious. They’re just updating the name.

It brings to mind the Jim Gaffigan routine:

Easter– that’s a weird tradition.

Easter, the day Jesus rose from the dead. What should we do?

How about eggs?

Well, what does that have to do with Jesus?

Alright, we’ll hide ’em.

I don’t… I don’t follow your logic.

Don’t worry. There’s a bunny.

One voice of reason is coming from Lawrence Cunningham, a professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame:

“It’s really not a big deal… I don’t see any intrinsic value to the rabbit to the resurrection of Jesus Christ… The bunny is a fertility symbol with no religious connection to Easter… The egg, which was popularized in Greece, Russia and Eastern Europe in connection with Easter, does not have a religious connection to Easter. By taking away the term ‘Easter,’ these symbols to some extent return to their pre-Christian roots as symbols of spring fertility.”

Bill O’Reilly will start complaining about this in 5… 4… 3…

[tags]Walnut Creek, Easter, atheist, atheism, Spring Bunny, Easter Bunny, Jewish, religion, Michael Runzler, Contra Costa Times, St. Patrick’s day, Valentine’s Day, Bible, Jim Gaffigan, Jesus, Lawrence Cunningham, Theology, University of Notre Dame, Bill O’Reilly, Christianity, Christian[/tags]

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  • Millie Fischer

    does it REALLY matter?

    as far as the whole “public dime” thing is concerned, you may want to re-read the first ammendment of the constitution. it does not say that government and religion cannot coexist in any way, nor does it say that religion cannot be publicly recognized. in fact, first amendment rights ensure that we HAVE the ability to dress up as bunnies or dance naked around bonfires or eat fish while remembering a dead guy or worshiping a squirrel that wears neon pink skin tight pants.

    according to the library of congress, the constitution says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

    now, notice how nowhere in there did it say that a private individual could not give money to support a religion, even if that person is a govt. official, nor does it say that governments MUST prevent people from publicly displaying religious practices or beliefs, in fact its the exact opposite. freedom of religion means freedom TO religion, that of anyone’s choice and not just the one you agree with, even if that is a religion of no religion. its still just beliefs that cannot be backed up with anything other than beliefs.

    also, if it is so illegal for government to support religion in any way, how is it that any religious organization of any kind is allowed to exist? think about it…for a building to be used for religious purposes, it must first be approved for said use by GOVERNMENT-be it local or city-and in addition the relegation of non-profit for tax purposes MUST be handed out by GOVERNMENT…not to mention the fact that the city must be willing to allow such establishments to be a part of it in the first place. if a city can ban a strip club or bar on Moral or ethical grounds and come up with the legal red tape to make it so, then the same could be done for religious establishments that do not meet with the personal or moral beliefs of the officials of the area. but that does not happen because…the first amendment ensures we have a right to celebrate our beliefs in whatever way we want, whatever that means.

    also, think about this one last point. freedom of religion is not just there to ensure you have the right to complain about the religions and beliefs you don’t agree with, or the ensure that you can believe whatever you want…it is there to protect those that no one agrees with, those without a voice of their own. laws based on morality are a mistake and can lead to a slippery slope of rationalizations for support of one morality over another. if a town makes it illegal for christians to celebrate easter or use the word easter publicly, it will not be long before people will be petitioning the same town to no longer allow gay youth groups to meet because they are an “affront to christianity” or not allowing pagans to pick flowers from the sides of roads on May day. can you see how once a moral rule is made to exclude one group the flood gates would be opened, and then all religious freedom could possibly become compromised?

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