California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom received this year’s Ebenezer Award for being “the year’s biggest Scrooge” after canceling the state’s annual Christmas tree lighting festival and choosing to skip a menorah lighting ceremony.

“In canceling one of California’s most cherished holiday traditions and skipping another, Newsom can rightly be dubbed the Governor who stole Christmas and Hanukkah,” said Mark Rienzi, president and CEO of Becket, a law firm specializing in religious liberty cases involving all different faiths.

“Each year the Christmas and Hanukkah season inspires a slew of outrageous offenses against the free exercise of religion,” Becket said in a statement. This year, the 56-year-old California governor was “the most outrageous offender” against the spirit of the season, the law firm said….

This December, Newsom closed to the public the annual Christmas tree lighting at the state capitol, replacing the nearly 100-year-old tradition with a prerecorded virtual ceremony on Dec. 6 that was attended by the governor’s family and select guests.

A spokesperson for the governor’s office said that the ceremony was moved to the closed virtual format because of concerns about anti-Israel protests disrupting the event, according to the Los Angeles Times….

From Catholic News Agency