Imagine if your cherished holy day was outlawed and the practice its customs were banned. As Bud Morgan wrote in his column in the Highlands News-Sun last week, "...authoritarian regimes have cast themselves as ultimately superior — often showing utter disdain for those people and groups different from them." In the days of the Greek leader, Antiochus, the Sabbath, along with other traditions, was denied to the Jewish people.

During this season of Channukah, the menorah candelabra is lit to commemorate the miracle of a small vial of oil, which burned longer than expected after a small group of Jewish fighters prevailed over the Greeks and took back their place of worship.

Like the Maccabees, as they were called, it is not hard to find hateful acts against members of many religions. The perpetrators feared "the other," be they Catholic against Protestant and vice versa, Muslim, Sikh, those for slavery or against slavery, or those for childhood baptism or against it.

The First Amendment to our U.S. Constitution forbids Congress from making laws that curtail the free exercise of religion. Channukah, as a celebration of that expression of religious freedom, should resonate in the hearts of all Americans as a perfect example of what the founders of our country intended.

On Sunday, Dec. 29 at 5 p.m. Rabbi Lazarus of Chabad will light the holiday menorah in Sadie Kahn Memorial Park on North Ridgewood Drive. To uphold our American values, everyone from our community should come watch these "freedom lights" glow brightly.

Donna Wasson

Sebring