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Redmond mayor, residents speak out about Christmas signs
City of Redmond Mayor John Marchione said someone started posting the green signs with white lettering around the city late Saturday.
The signs — which stand near City Hall, the downtown library and several churches and schools — are emblazoned with: "It's OK to say, Merry CHRISTMAS" in large letters at the top.
Underneath, in smaller letters, there's a quotation from Romans 1:16 of the Bible: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes; first to the Jew, then to the Gentile."
A lengthy verse from the Gospel of Luke follows in tiny lettering.
One Reporter reader notified the paper and asked who posted the signs and if they were going to be removed. Marchione said the city hasn't received any complaints.
"This is the second year I've seen the signs. They're in a public right-of-way and we are treating them like a freedom-of-speech issue," said Marchione, adding that the poster removed the signs after Christmas last year.
Marchione said the city will leave the signs in public places; as for the signs on church property, it's their choice to have them there, he said.
"Redmond's been very good in celebrating all kinds of religious and cultural traditions (an example is Ananda Mela: Joyful Festival of India)," said Marchione, who's seen seven or eight signs. "I don't see it as inflammatory. I see it as an expression of a few major traditions that are celebrated this time of year."
The Reporter spoke with two people at the downtown library on Monday evening about their views on the signs.
"As long as it meets Redmond city code, I think people should be allowed to put up whatever they want," said Erin Zipfel, an eight-year Redmond resident.
Added Valerie Byram, a 40-year Redmond resident: "I have friends who are very religious and they would want it to be remembered as Christ's birthday. Personally, we're both musicians (Byram and her companion) and we love Christmas carols, so I'm just fine if people sing Christmas carols a whole lot."