Be sure to stay tuned T
Be sure to stay tuned
The South Brunswick Township Council has spoken. There will be no religious holiday displays on township property. Not surprisingly, it was not a unanimous decision. In fact, two of the three council members who voted not to change the present township policy prohibiting them originally seemed to favor the displays.
Councilwoman Carol Barrett, one of the two, found the issue to be too divisive.
"If I find an issue is divisive, especially on an issue that is supposed to bring happiness, then I must vote against holiday displays," she said Tuesday, explaining her vote.
Deputy Mayor Frank Gambatese was also torn, but went along with Barrett to "avoid a Pandora’s box of legal entanglements."
He also used the opportunity to take an unnecessary potshot at local clergy, accusing "most" of them of being more concerned about divisiveness than about teaching respect and tolerance."
It seems as if we heard that recently on the presidential primary trail.
The majority of the speakers at Tuesday’s meeting seemed to agree with the majority vote, indicating the township followed the dictates of the community.
Surprisingly, however, as you will read in another story in this week’s Sentinel, other towns in Middlesex County have not had to wrestle with the issue.
The only other county town that even has a policy is North Brunswick, and township officials there took an entirely different approach, establishing a resolution creating a Diversity Display Committee composed of clergy and interested community residents. The committee is now included in the North Brunswick Human Relations Council and approves displays for a piece of land near the municipal building that is dedicated for displays, according to a survey of towns by the Middlesex County Human Relations Council.
South Brunswick’s original decision to ban holiday displays came after a complaint about one at a township park.
While efforts to reverse that ban have failed, the issue is likely to continue to fester.
Mayor Debra Johnson, who opposes the ban, is already questioning whether the ban will affect such township events as the Haunted Halloween trail and the annual Kwanzaa celebration .
So, by all means, stay tuned.