Last year, there were nine holiday displays in front of the Loudoun County, Virginia courthouse. They were a mixture of Christian and non-Christian displays — mostly non-Christians ones, surprisingly. Some of the controversy stemmed from the fact that the first nine applicants were all approved, and that included six atheist displays… and a Christian one featuring a crucified Santa Claus. Good times.
Anyway, this year, local officials voted on a new regulation (presumably to dissuade groups from applying to put up displays): If you applied for a spot on the courthouse lawn, you couldn’t leave your display unattended.
That’s a big problem if you’re a Christian group wanting to put up a big Nativity Scene. Either you have to build it up and take it down every single day… or you have to find someone willing to sleep next to the Baby Jesus every night for the next month.
The plan seems to have worked since there has only been one application for a holiday display so far this year…
So far, according to Loudoun County officials, there is just one application for a December display — an information booth run by the American Atheists.
Rick Wingrove, the Virginia director for American Atheists, will have a booth featuring banners with quotations from historical atheists Albert Einstein and John Adams. It will also feature public readings of books such as Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species.” Mr. Wingrove also received a permit for his display in November, and has spent weekends this month minding the booth. He does not anticipate that someone will be on the lawn every day in December and, so far, the display has been taken down each evening.
Local officials like Ken Reid, one of the members of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, are not taking this news very well:
“None of the religious organizations in the county have had any problem with what we’re doing,” he said. “It’s strictly this group of terrorists. They’re fanatics who basically want to stamp out religion in all public life and property.”
That’s just beautiful #ChristianLogic right there. How *dare* you atheists try to prevent the government from establishing a religion? That’s so pro-Constitution, it’s anti-American!
Rick Wingrove, the atheist manning the booth, responded to that comment at The Washington Times:
… this “terrorist” is a veteran, a homeowner, a parent, a taxpayer, a small business owner, and a patriot who is engaged in his community, who thinks that the Constitution is the most important document ever penned by Man, and who opposes the use of government power, money, and facilities to perpetrate religion upon the unwilling and the unconvinced.
So, Mr. Reid, no terrorists here. Just Americans trying to protect the Constitution from religious deconstruction. Leave the name calling to children.
This whole problem could be solved if Reid and his colleagues just voted to eliminate all religious displays on the courthouse lawn for good. Until then, atheists will keep working around any regulations put in their way.