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Chase, Wachovia ax Christmas trees in banks to be PC
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'Tis the season for absurd politically correct pronouncements.

Chase Bank has issued a directive that only corporate approved holiday decorations may appear in public areas of its bank branches. The memo they sent to branches reads in part, "We don't want to lose some business because of seasonal decorations," and to "ensure everyone who visits our branches is made to feel completely welcome and comfortable."

The policy led to the forced removal of a Christmas tree at a Chase branch in Southlake, Texas. The tree had been given to the bank branch at no cost.

Wachovia Bank has issued the same corporate edict about Christmas trees. Wachovia's policy - as described in a corporate release - states "at Wachovia we respect the diversity of our customers and team members therefore we are decorating our stores with poinsettia plants so that everyone can be included."

Let's hope that some seeing eye dog or child doesn't nibble on a poinsettia. We wouldn't want Wachovia to dip into taxpayer financed bail-out funds to settle a lawsuit.

Wachovia apparently is insensitive to its clients who aren't Catholic that don't hail from Mexico. Wachovia has managed to replace a secular Christmas symbol - the evergreen tree - with another secular Christmas symbol - the poinsettia that has actual religious overtones.

Catholics in Mexico embrace the poinsettia as representative of the deep love for Christ and great devotion of a pure innocent human being to baby Jesus. If Wachovia's lawyers and executive vice president in charge of political correctness want to research the significance of the poinsettia, they can start with the tale of Maria and Pablo who were too poor to bring traditional gifts to the manger scene for their town's annual Christmas celebration.

Political correctness that is so severe that they take a European-based secular Christmas symbol that has no pure religious significance whatsoever and brandish it from their banks hasn't tainted independent local banks such as Bank of Stockton. It's little wonder that Bank of Stockton - with its feet planted firmly on the ground with a history of making prudent loans - is also the biggest holder of deposits of all banks in San Joaquin County. They spend their time doing right by their customers and not fretting about carrying political correctives to the extremes.

Perhaps Wachovia and Chase will atone for their past sins of offering Christmas club accounts and not savings accounts designed to help people celebrating other religious holidays go on spending sprees for gifts. Come to think of it, the Christmas tree is so commercialized that it represents indulging in gifts.

Perhaps that is why the high courts have no problem with Christmas trees per se being placed on public land. One that comes to mind is the national Christmas tree that's just a skip and a holler from the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Supreme Court. There is a huge difference between a Christmas tree in a bank lobby and putting in place a nativity scene.

And if offending people with religion is an issue, perhaps Chase and Wachovia might want to drop dealings with the Federal Reserve and switch to a country to bail them out when needed that doesn't have politically incorrect words such as "In God We Trust" on their national currency. They should also refuse to deal with customers who bring in such politically insensitive money and also conduct bank business in a non-offensive currency. Perhaps the official currency of Afghanistan that is known as the Afghani will pass the PC test at Chase and Wachovia.

One also hopes that the Chase and Wachovia top brass in future years will work on Christmas when it falls on a week day. One, after all, wouldn't want to offend any customers by taking advantage of a religious holiday to get some time off from work.