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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  • Kathy Elias

    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.

    • VirgoVince

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

  • Paul

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

    • North Star

      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.

      • Chelsie

        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.

    • Jeepn2k7

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

  • Amie

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

  • Justice For All!

    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!

  • CLW

    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.

    • Patty

      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

    • jennifer


    • Jesus

      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.

      • Chelsie Nicole

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

      • Chelsie Nicole

        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.

      • Weak argument

        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.

      • Nick

        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!!!

    • Jesus

      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?

      • Seasons Greetings

        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”

      • bruceUSA

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

  • Joe

    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.

    • Charlie Brown

      Why does everyone call me and Marty Griffin blockheads?

      • Jughead

        because you both are idiots

    • mac

      i vote no… it looked tacky.

  • Mr. Christmas

    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 !!!

    • Paul

      Who is the King of England in that analogy?

  • Juli Tripp

    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?

  • Dale Kasick

    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!

  • Bankrupt

    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.

    • pat worker

      youre a jealous loser

  • Holiday

    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.

  • My 2 cents....

    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 :)

  • Cecil B. Demille

    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.

  • bob

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

  • A concerned Christian

    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!

    • Ignorance loves company

      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.

  • jim

    MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone

  • Heather

    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!

    • jacie

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

    • bernie

      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!!!!!

  • Wayner

    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 !#!#!#!

  • Merry Christmas!

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

  • Chelsie

    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?

    • Carlos

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

      • tonya

        why it gotta be a motorcycle gang now??

      • Chelsie Nicole

        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.

  • TiredofDrama

    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?

  • Let Us Pray

    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!

    • let us protest

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

  • Go Elsewhere

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

  • HO HO HO!

    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.

  • Jack Shea

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

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