Yesterday, I got an interesting email from a producer of a radio show asking if I could come on to talk about Nativity scenes on government property.
Which radio show?
The one hosted by former congressman Mark Foley… The guy who sexted with underage pages. He has a radio show now.
It was strangely uneventful. I was on air for all of 30 seconds, I think. I said that religious or non-religious displays had no business being on government property, but if one was allowed, they all had to be allowed.
At no point could I work in the word “page.” Which means I failed at helping my friends take part in a drinking contest.
As far as I know, there’s no recording or transcript, but I’ll provide it if it becomes available.
Anyway, stories about Christian displays on public property are all over the place, with a variety of “solutions” dealing with them:
Secular students near Montville, New Jersey are requesting that a display featuring a Menorah, a Nativity scene, and reindeer either be taken down or made to include a display of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Township administrator Frank Bastone and his committee are not budging, even after consulting with legal counsel. (What lawyers are encouraging them to keep these displays up?!)
David Iacoviello, president of the Society of American Youth Secularists, or S.A.Y.S. at William Paterson University, requested the religious icons be removed at a township committee meeting last week.
The township’s display was brought to the attention of the student secular groups after an anonymous Montville resident reached out to Rutgers’ Pastafarian group for support, said Jeffrey Cupo, Pastafarian founder at Rutgers New Brunswick. The resident said the township failed to respond to his requests to remove the religious icons from the display, said Cupo.
In response, Cupo alerted both S.A.Y.S. and the Secular Student Alliance at The College of New Jersey, and urged the other groups to ask township officials to take down the display.
In Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, local officials allowed a Nativity scene to be placed near a local public fountain. After local atheists demanded that a sign be placed near the Nativity reading, “Celebrating Solstice — Honoring Atheist War Veterans,” the Borough Council decided to take down all religious/non-religious displays.
Now, local Christians are pissed off because they realized they’re not special:
“Borough didn’t even give us a chance. They decided on their own without even asking the borough residents what they wanted,” resident Robert Wall said.
“When National Atheist Day happens, or National Atheist Veterans Day happens, I think he should be able to put his sign up,” said petition organizer Lisa Blackstock.
The Borough actually made the legally correct decision and it’s not up for popular vote.
Also, does anyone else think Blackstock would lead the charge to take down an atheist sign on public property regardless of the holiday?
The Arkansas Society of Freethinkers recently sued Secretary of State Charlie Daniels “after he refused to grant permission for the group to put up its display, dubbed the Box of Knowledge.” A judge ruled in their favor and a display from the atheists will be put up alongside the Nativity scene.
This is the Box of Knowledge:
If you’re curious, that entire siding can be seen here (PDF).
[ASF President Tod] Billings said that in filing the controversial lawsuit, the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers was not trying to exclude Christian displays or silence religious followers. Instead, the society was pushing for inclusion, he said. One face of the four-sided display honors the winter solstice.
“As the old year passes and a new year is born, we reflect on that which has passed and hope for a better tomorrow,” the proposed display reads, as reported by the AP. “May the light of reason be a beacon to a brighter future for us all.”
Those nasty heathens…
In Kokomo, Indiana, they’ve done away with all Christian/atheist displays altogether.
They have chosen to display a fisherman, the Loch Ness Monster, and a smiling whale… really the best parts of the Bible.
This video gives you a grand tour of the awesomeness:
I love this line from an article about the display:
Some people say that keeps the “Christ” out of “Christmas.”
It also keeps the county out of court.
This is all very easy to understand: No religious or non-religious system gets any special privilege from the government. It’s an all-or-nothing deal when it comes to holiday displays. Why is that so hard for some Christians to comprehend?