Christmas Display Removed At South Hills Rail Center

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) — A week ago, Tim Bell, a Port Authority worker and representative for the Amalgamated Transit Union, local 85, put up a small Christmas display in the South Hills Rail Center. On Friday, he found out that the display was being removed.

Bell says that an unnamed coworker filed a complaint, claiming that the decorations were offensive. That single complaint was all it took for officials to pull the decorations.

Bell says the display, which has been set up around the holidays at the South Hills Rail Center for at least ten years, consisted of a “Merry Christmas” banner, a small fiber optic tree, several plastic figures of Santa Claus, and several snowmen.

Regarding the banner, Bell said, “This person should have came to me and said, ‘I’m offended by that,’ and I would have took that down.”

Bell said that the display wasn’t meant to be discriminatory towards any particular faith.

“If someone’s Jewish and they want to put a menorah up, go buy it and put it up. If you want to celebrate Kwanzaa, go buy your own stuff and put it up,” he said.

The decorations were boxed up by a Port Authority human resources employee. There was no indication that there were plans to reinstall the display.

Union officials said that because of the single complaint, they were forced to take down the display. Bell said he plans to get thousands of signatures on a petition to overturn that one complaint.

KDKA’s Marty Griffin talked with Bell, asking why he thinks the display was removed and why he believes that the person who complained is hurting others who would have enjoyed the decorations.

Listen to the full interview:

Listen to the Inside Story with Marty Griffin every weekday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA!

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One Comment

  1. Kathy Elias says:

    There are too many thin-skinned people in this world who are just looking for something to be offended about. I say put the display back up and stop over-doing the politically correct act.

    1. VirgoVince says:

      Tell the grinches, GFY, you don’t like it, don’t look at it!!

  2. Paul says:

    Not all religions want to shove their religions in everyone else’s face like Christians. We’re obnoxious you should be that way too!

    1. North Star says:

      People who find religion every December think they have a Right to things they do not. Believe it when I say we Christians are tolerated to extents we will probably never comprehend. Jesus said the meek will inherit the Earth. Meekness differs from humbleness in that meek people give up something, perhaps a right or an argument to appear humble to others, & to prevent sometimes petty differences escalating into a greater problem disproportionate to the original issue. True meekness comes from a position of being ‘absolutely correct whilst being aware’ whereas humbleness implies a potential lack of knowledge or grasp of a complicated situation, but genuinely not wanting to offend anybody, for any reason at any time, in any way.

      the point is if you can’t keep your celebration to yourself and be happy about it then you are just contributing to the problems of the world.

      1. Chelsie says:

        Seriously? Santa Claus and snowmen? Obviously the staple icon of the Christian version of Christmas…….. Actually not you moron. The so called “offensive” symbols they removed were nothing more childhood icons… A jolly old man. The snowman you make with your family. They symbolize happiness. They symbolize love and Joy and magic. To whom those are offensive is beyond me.

    2. Jeepn2k7 says:

      Since when is Santa Claus and fiber-optic trees religious?

  3. Amie says:

    Probably some *”christian” who was offended it wasn’t “jesus-y” enough….good gravy people let each other celebrate in their own way dammit

  4. Justice For All! says:

    To all you people who are offended please leave this country NOW!
    Get out of here.
    Go somewhere else.
    By now you must know there is no god anyway.
    It’s all made up!

  5. CLW says:

    This situation and ones like it simply blow my mind. Where is our freedom? Anyone who thinks a Christmas display was put up to offend them must not be a very bright person. It was put there for celebration reasons. If you don’t believe in it, fine, but don’t ruin it for the ones who do. People need to wake up and realize that this is a free country. These stupid acts like reporting a Christmas display for being offensive are not only wasting time from someone who should be doing a job and not tearing down decorations, but just another way of taking away another freedom we have. It really blows my mind how petty people can be.

    1. jennifer says:


    2. Jesus says:

      The Station is a public facility paid for by tax dollars. The employee should be doing his job not decorating for jesus. He never had that freedom. It blows my mind how dumb people can be.

      1. Chelsie Nicole says:

        Santa Claus & snow men actually NOT Jesus. Whose offended by the jolly old man & frosty… You people are ridiculous.

      2. Weak argument says:

        Christ-mas is not about Jesus Christ? I can understand how the other symbols can be interpreted in different ways but “Christmas” was spelled out in plain American-English. Why did you overlook that? I suppose Merry Xmas would have been more appropriate. Xmas is just another four-letter word.

      3. Chelsie Nicole says:

        Not a weak argument…. Christmas has been commercialized I know people of all different faiths and even no faith who celebrate “Christmas” the practice of exchanging gifts or watching movies about Santa Claus and reindeer and frosty the freaking snowman…. And that’s all this display showed… There were no mangers, no mother & child, no North stars or wise men or anything that represented a Christian holiday. The display was typical Commercial Christmas.

      4. Nick says:

        True, but if you want to address the tax dollars, some of those tax dollars come from people who celebrate Christmas. Shouldn’t it matter when if get offended when Christmas decoration is taken down in public places that are funded by tax dollars coming from both those who celebrate and those who don’t celebrate Christmas? So let’s look at it from a different perspective, I’m offended that my neighbor does not celebrate Christmas and does not have any Christmas decoration, I think he should put some up so that he does not offend me, I am also offended when I see a borough that I pay taxes to, takes down a Nativity scene. We live in a free country and we all have rights, right? So what about my rights when it comes to celebrating what I believe in on a property that my money along helps maintain? Come on people, where does it all end? Just lock our doors and celebrate whatever we believe in, behind closed doors quietly and as discrete as possible so that no one gets offended? Grow up!!!

    3. Jesus says:

      Look at how mad you christians get.. even at christmas time, You completely hijacked november and december and you are still unhappy. I thought you were supposed to be peaceful and forgiving and understanding?

      1. bruceUSA says:

        You’ll “get it” someday. In the mean time ——- Merry Christmas. Peace and good will especially to you and all men everywhere.

      2. Seasons Greetings says:

        Why feel the need to hang a “merry christmas” banner at the port authority? It’s well known that if you work at the Port Authority it’s Christmas every day.

        “What did you get for Christmas this year, Steve?”
        “oh, just another year closer to a $100,000/yr pension, Pat”
        “Then why so glum, Steve?”
        “It’s still 10 more years till I turn 45 and can retire, Pat”
        “Well, at least you’ll be well rested by then”

    4. Patty says:

      one (1) person complained. Is that all it takes to destroy holiday that isn’t just religious? What about the thousands who like it?? Christmas is also for the children. Toys under the tree, visiting Santa, family decorating a tree together, Rudolph, Frosty.Every Mall and store in America has decorated trees at this time of year. Are we going to ban the malls too? Come on! Get a LIFE! Christmas is a holiday for every one to share. bah humbug to those who protest it. grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  6. Joe says:

    Somewhere we’ve moved away from the concept of majority rule. Now one little disgruntled person can ruin things for everyone. Taka a vote on the display and if the majority want it, then it goes back.

    1. mac says:

      i vote no… it looked tacky.

    2. Charlie Brown says:

      Why does everyone call me and Marty Griffin blockheads?

      1. Jughead says:

        because you both are idiots

  7. Mr. Christmas says:

    Ya know……the King of England didn’t like what the colonist’s were doing either, but they didn’t back down. We need to put these people in their place.
    Put the decorations back up !!!

    1. Paul says:

      Who is the King of England in that analogy?

  8. Juli Tripp says:

    Paul, you state that only Christians want to shove their religion in other’s faces? Where does this article state that a creche/nativity was on display? A sign saying ‘Merry Christmas’ does NOT reflect christianity. There were other holiday items on display as well. Also, so it is okay for all the other religions to shove THEIR beliefs in MY face? Are you stating that YOUR religion is allowed to do that?

  9. Dale Kasick says:

    I’m offended by a lot of things / people and the like. I don’t whine about it. I agree with Joe. Grow a pair and get over it!

  10. Bankrupt says:

    Port Authority workers are very, very special. They dont have to make concessions. They dont have to compromise. Tis the season of giving for everyone else though.

    1. pat worker says:

      youre a jealous loser

  11. Holiday says:

    Honestly offened!!! Really!!! I suppose it that indiviudal put up their holiday decorations and we were offened do you honestly think that “their” decorations would be removed. Hmmm I am guessing NOT!!!! People need to grow up.

  12. My 2 cents.... says:

    I think this is ridiculous. We celebrate Christmas at our house the way it’s suppose to be…the birth of Jesus. We exchange gifts but nothing too expensive. Our bigger celebration is in going to church and spending time together. The advertisers and retailers are who have exploited the holiday. If this person wanted to put up a display, I think it should be fine. On that note, if I walked by a jewish display or any other religion, I would stop and admire it. We are all different and should be enjoying the differences, not punishing each other. I’m sure there will be some nasty comments, that’s fine. I forgive you 🙂

  13. Cecil B. Demille says:

    Why are you sad that someone complained about an artificial tree and silly plastic figurines of imaginary beings? The bloke that put it up is basically admitting his observance is artificial, tacky, obnoxious, and obese.

  14. bob says:

    Happy NO SEASON EVERYONE, I dont want to offend anyone.

  15. A concerned Christian says:

    We were about to build a Mosque at the site of Ground Zero in NY and yet we actually have a someone offended by Santa and a Christmas Banner??? If you don’t celebrate Christmas that is your choice, DON’T IMPED ON MY HOLIDAY!

    1. Ignorance loves company says:

      that mosque plan was 1 or 2 blocks away from ground zero which in Manhattan you might as well say it is in Canada.

      you say if you dont celebrate Christmas that is your choice. That’s fine, but I must admit it makes it kind of hard when people hang banners, lights, garland, all that tacky junk all over town for six weeks. Do you think that it is just possible that YOUR HOLIDAY has imped on their Right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Read the comment from North Star. That should explain it.

  16. jim says:

    MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone

  17. Heather says:

    People are rediculous anymore. If you dont like it, then dont look at it. But i bet the same person who is offended by the Christmas tree, will really enjoying taking those days off work paid! I hate people and this society anymore. This country was found on the freedom of speech and religion. If you dont like it…go somewhere else!

    1. bernie says:

      I agree with you Heather….Get out of the country and go raise your children who are bound to be morons anyway, someplace else…idiots!!!!!

    2. jacie says:

      YOU GO HEATHER YEAH YEAH YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Wayner says:

    I would like to know the name of this athiest UNNAMED idiot! Wayner sez to put up all Holiday greetin’s in all belief’s, and if this unnamed idiot has any objections, Then I’ll loudly proclaim. JESUS is Z REAl REASON for Z SEASON!!
    Happy NON-Holiday to ya Athiest, & I’ll bet you’ll be off the 25TH of this here month !#!#!#!

  19. Merry Christmas! says:

    Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don’t like this statement? Didn’t make ya read it, you chose to 🙂

  20. Chelsie says:

    How do I file a complaint? I am offended that they took it down. Will that make them put it back up? How can you determine whose offense is greater?

    1. Carlos says:

      The tree was stolen by a crazed motorcycle gang of atheists on the way to Ellwood City by the bus load

      1. tonya says:

        why it gotta be a motorcycle gang now??

      2. Chelsie Nicole says:

        Carlos you better watch out… Someone will probably be offended that you associated a motorcycle gang with atheists and your comment will be removed when they complain.

  21. TiredofDrama says:

    I cannot understand how this man’s decorations could have been removed due to a comment of someone being offended. According to the description, there were no religious decorations. There were only secular ones for the celebration of a legitimate federal holiday – one which the Port Authority celebrates. How in the world is this offensive to anyone?
    What’s next – being sued by your neighbor for putting Christmas lights in your own yard? What is wrong with people?
    America is and has always been a “melting pot”. You come with your customs and respect those of others. If you are not a decorator or don’t believe in it, fine. Just stop trying to spoil it for everyone else. Face it – there are millions of evils in the world – a tree with some tinsel and a “Merry Christmas” banner never hurt anyone. And for the last time – NO ONE IS TRYING TO EXCLUDE YOU!!! You have a different path, faith, etc. – WE RESPECT THAT. How about doing the same?

  22. Let Us Pray says:

    Why doesn’t everyone bow their head, and let’s pray for a peaceful solution. Keep ChRIST in Christmas! And Jolly ‘Ol St. Nick on the Chimney, and Frosty in the front yard. Bunch of losers — those of you complaining — just SHUT UP and move on. Protest something more meaningful, like THE WAR. LEAVE FROSTY ALONE!

    1. let us protest says:

      How many wars were fought over christian beliefs? I protest them both!

  23. Go Elsewhere says:

    All you nay-sayers — maybe we’ll deport you. Take your complaining elsewhere — your tongue will be ripped from your head.

  24. HO HO HO! says:

    Better not pout, better not cry, take down those decorations im telling you why. Because its a public place and people shouldn’t be forced to stare at christian shenanigans.

  25. Jack Shea says:

    Yinz guys got to take dahn da Christmas tree but union rules says yinz can keep d pinups of Kardashians

  26. Dave says:

    Frankly the only people offended by someone saying Merry Christmas are people looking to get into the news. People like to file lawsuits for no reason and these quack jobs are a prime example of that.

    I use to work in retail and many Jews and Muslims would always say Merry Christmas to me. Many people from other religions celebrate Christmas. It doesn’t offend them in any way so why should these morons be offended?

  27. Holly says:

    Wow, for all of you that are siding with the one person that complained about the decorations! If you don’t like Christmas, I expect you to be at work all day on Christmas and get paid straight time, while the rest of us enjoy the day off celebrating Christmas with family & friends

    1. Jesus says:

      its on a weekend.

      1. JP Gibb says:

        But 12/26 is a Federal holiday for the observation of Christmas.

        I better see all you Government employees going to work that day; wouldn’t want the State favoring one particular religion now.

      2. christmas man says:

        hey dude youre a punk and probably are a little sissy lmao

  28. Don says:

    Instead of complaining about people finding joy in something and celebrating, why not join them. The poor person who complained is obviously miserable and lonely. In these times, it is refreshing to see joyful celebrations. I live in a Jewish community and I love to see the cars driving around with candles on their roofs and the people running to temple. If muslims wanted to come out and celebrate in a joyous manner, I would welcome that. This country is built on freedom of speech, and freedom to practice whatever religion we wish. Offensiveness is not determined by an individual, but by the mainstream majority. Christmas is not offensive because the mainstream accepts it. People do not really understand the rights they have under the constitution. You as an individual do not have the right to deem something offensive and restrict the right of another to practice a religion or express themselves.

    1. Christian says:

      Don you are a voice of reason. My your holiday celebration be joyful this year and may you have a blessed, healthy and happy new year!

    2. Bert says:

      Don, because some religions actually have respect for their God and choose not to make a spectacle out of their Holy days.

    3. Bert says:

      Don, because some religions actually have respect for their God and choose not to make a spectacle out of their Holy days…

  29. Linda says:

    This stupidity is getting totally out of hand, since when has the minority ruled and why ? I certainly wouldn’t want to work with this useless person, what a hater, must make everyone around them miserable.

  30. Linda says:

    So one person complained and it was taken down, what if everyone else complained because it wasn’t up, would it be put back up ??????????????

    1. Paul says:

      NO! When something is paid for by tax dollars it is everyones! It certainly should not be endorsed by ANY religion.

  31. Your mom says:

    Figures it was an HR guy that took it down. You know what they say, If you can’t do, then HR! He was probably getting paid more than a >$30/hr bus driver to do that too. Welcome to the USSA. As for acceptance of other religions, I’ll take hypocritical Christians over Muslims who behead their own defiant children and beat their multiple wives any day.



  33. Merry Christmas says:

    This reminds me of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas…

    To those who say “we’ve hijacked the month” that we shove our religion down your throat….we as Christians celebrate the Lord every day in our lives. We come together on Sunday’s every week and sing his praise. We have other religious days throughout the year beyond Christmas and Easter, ones that you don’t even know about why…because we aren’t shoving them down your throat as you claim. If you have an issue with a snowman and some tinsel than I feel sorry for you. However, just know that no matter how long or hard you protest, Christmas will come. The Grinch tried and what he learned is all in the children’s book…it will come without boxes or bows but it will come.

    1. and an Xmas to you! says:

      It will never come without boxes or bows…

      Way to compare your religion to a kids cartoon. Do you think Jesus watches the Grinch?

      You did Hijack the month…

      You do shove it down the throats…

      What other holidays? Ash Wednesday? Palm Sunday? … Thats still Easter

      Did you even get Jesus something for his fake birthday? When was he really born? Do you even care? DOnt forget to go shopping and support our consumer based economy in the name of Jesus!

  34. Merry Christmas says:

    Corpus Christi, the Assumption, the Immaculate Conception, All Saints Day

    You sir have missed the point, The Grinch is a cool story to make this point…the Grinch believed that if he stole the tree, presents, tinsel, toys and food that Christmas would go away. Guess what it didn’t, come Christmas morning the Who’s got up and sang joyously. Yes joyously!! The Grinch watched and thought….”perhaps Christmas means something more after all.” So the point of my post was that, you can have someone take down a snowman (nothing to do with Christmas) a Christmas tree (taken from a German tradition, phallic symbol) and tinsel but it will not stop Christmas from coming. (Wreaths, holy, mistletoe winter berries likewise have roots in non-Christian celebrations so removing them does nothing to harm Christmas.)

    To your comment about Jesus birthday…to the best guess by theologists Jesus was born in September. Do I care when he was born, absolutely! Originally his birth was celebrated in the Spring. Later, the celebration of his birth was moved to coincide with the pagan winter solstice celebration.

    To the comment about shopping and supporting our consumer based economy, I have educated myself, have a good job and make good money. My bills are paid on time I pay cash no credit. How and when I spend it is my business.

    I find it sad that people confuse the commercialized secular Santa Claus celebrations with the Christian belief of Christmas and take it out on others. I find it sad that someone looks at a snowman, tinsel or a decorated evergreen tree think that that’s what the Christian celebration is all about. I find it sad that someone can’t look at the season and the parties, the family togetherness the feelings of good cheer find some good in that. I find it sad that their are people that are angered by others happiness. Heck, I know atheist that celebrate the commercial Christmas. I am not shoving my Christian beliefs down your throat because they have nothing to do with shopping, trees, tinsel or snowmen. If I wanted to shove my beliefs down your throat I would be banging on your door shouting about the Glory of the Lord.

    You sound like such a sad angry person.

    (Oh and by the way, do I think Jesus watches the Grinch? Yep I do, I think he watches it every year!! The Jesus I love is one cool dude!)

    1. Paul says:

      Corpus Christi, the Assumption, the Immaculate Conception, All Saints Day??? Are these Catholic Holidays?… The innaculate Conception is celebrated? what is Corpus Christi? We are talking about Christians right? Just because someone doesnt share your veiws that makes them an angry person? By the way are you judging me? I didnt realize Christians were so judgemental… Thanks for explaining your Grinch medifor. The point of the article is that these CHRISTmas decorations are being displayed on PUBLIC (TAX Paid for) Property. This property should not be endorced by religion of anykind. Not “we do it, you should do it too”. There is no place for it on public property.

      1. Merry Christmas says:


        The question was asked what other holidays, they are days of celebration in the church. lesser than Easter and Christmas but still days we have celebration. Corpus Christi is a feast that celebrates the Holy Eucharist. The Immaculate Conception is celebrated with a mass. There are many days that Jewish people celebrate and recognize beyond those the mainstream recognize as well. I’m not judging anyone, making an observation that a poster sounds angry because that’s how the post reads. I sincerely doubt that any religion, ethnicity or culture holds rights to being judgmental, you’ll find that anywhere.
        We don’t have to agree, if people would step away from anger for one moment they would understand. I don’t care if you take down every commercial decoration there is. I never said they should or should not be allowed on public property. Reread the post, it says Christmas is not about boxes and presents, tinsel and trees. Christmas will come. It comes in the heart of those that believe.

      2. Paul says:

        I enjoy your logic and wish others were as genuine to their faith as you are.

        This is not necessarily my religion, but i think it applies:

        “It is impossible to achieve satisfaction, and ultimately happiness, in a materialistic society because material things create a constant desire for more, distract us from reality, and in no way contribute to the relationships between people.”


  35. gman says:

    As Ghandi once said. “I love your Christ…your Christians not so much. Your Christians are so unlike Christ.”

    1. Paul says:

      Great quote gman! The word “Christian” means “Christ-like.” The true meaning of being “Christian” is learning to live and act like Christ. If you cannot see Christ in a Christian’s life, that Christian is a spiritual failure. Paul expressed deep sorrow and great pain for some Christians in Galatia because Christ was not yet formed in them (Galatians 4:19).

      1. Merry Christmas says:


        I wanted to respond to your post above from Buddha, well said. Funny if people open their eyes with little searching they can find many things on which they agree.

        Not my religion either but I believe Buddha nailed it!

  36. Valhala says:

    Nobody finds stupid news stories like Marty Griffin,

  37. MustafaJohnson says:

    When will people ever give up on this already. Every year it’s tried and they have to take it down after the courts get involved. Give up already. Put it in your yard if you want, put it on your roof too but give up on trying to make these public statements already.

    1. yo momma says:

      hare krishna

  38. deborah cintron says:

    i am really sick and tired of sensitive trouble-making people causing trouble b/c they can!!!! if this display offends u THEN DON’T LOOK AT IT and go on ur merry way!!!!! if i see another religious symbol it does not offend me i look at it and go about my business, u idiots need to do the same, quit trying to destroy my beliefs and traditions and practice yours and mind ur business


    Why doesnt the one person who had a problem with this display let his or her name be know. You are just some idiot who has nothing better to do. I guess you are teaching your kids this so called lesson. Those poor kids. I feel sorry for them. PUT THE DECORATIONS BACK UP the hell with that one person.


    1. Dan says:

      Because that one person was a passive aggressive @sh0le. The only thing worse is the whooses who catered to him/her.

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