No Christians at Christmas

IPSWICH Red Cross stores have been banned from displaying any overtly religious Christmas decorations this yuletide.The store in Upper Brook Street is among stores natiowide which have been prevented from displaying classic nativity scenes.

IPSWICH Red Cross stores have been banned from displaying any overtly religious Christmas decorations this yuletide.

The store in Upper Brook Street is among stores natiowide which have been prevented from displaying classic nativity scenes.

Christmas cards are currently on sale in the shop, but none of them depict Christian images – classic sketches of the birth of Christ, the Virgin Mary and the city of Bethlehem have been omitted and replaced with wintery, non-religious scenes.

And according to one volunteer in the shop, these Christian Christmas cards have been stopped by the British Red Cross because they do not want to offend anybody.

She said: "We are a non religious organisation but personally I think it has gone too far. I don't think Muslims are offended by Christmas."

But another worker in the Upper Brook Street store followed the official line of the charity – that the lack of iconic Christmas figures was because of international aid efforts.

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In leaflets made available in store, the Red Cross explain that their organisation has to appear neutral.

It reads: "Our neutrality is as important on the UK high street as it is in a conflict zone. We simply cannot put it at risk.

"This is why, during Christmas and any other religious festivals, our volunteers are welcome to display and sell seasonal decorations and goods, including Christmas trees and cards, but not anything overtly religious."

The British Red Cross, as part of the international organisation, visits areas of conflict treating those injured as a consequence of war.

And one of the Ipswich shopkeepers believes that, in this situation, impartiality is vital to prevent restricted access.

The shop, therefore, in line with the British Red Cross guidelines has a non religious window display showing snowmen and tinsel.

Although many people assume that the Red Cross is a religious organisation because of its name, the full title of the international organisation is the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

The cross symbol derives from the Swiss flag which is where the organisation was founded.

N What do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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