Friday, November 27, 2009

Keep Your Nativity Scenes On Church Property: How Difficult Is That?

The same scenario apparently needs to play out over and over again before people get the message.

The latest battle in the "war on Christmas" has come home to Franklin County's seat, and it comes down to the baby in the manger.

The borough has a decades-long tradition of allowing the local garden club to place a Nativity scene, depicting nearly lifesize statues of a kneeling Mary, Joseph and a swaddled Jesus, shepherds and kings, on the ground surrounding the Memorial Fountain. . . . Earlier this month, PA Nonbelievers Capital Area director Carl Silverman wrote the borough a letter stating its intention to erect [a sign reading "Celebrating Solstice -- Honoring Atheist War Veterans."]

While the group believed it did not need the borough's permission because the creche required none, it was submitting a proposed design in "the spirit of cooperation," the letter said. . . . "We didn't want to take Jesus out of the public square," Silverman, of Camp Hill, said. "We want to put atheism in the public square."

Bill McLaughlin, president of the Chambersburg Borough Council, said that after discussion with the borough solicitor, two practical options emerged -- officials could allow everything or allow nothing to be displayed at the fountain.

The council chose to allow nothing, he said.

McLaughlin said he took PA Nonbelievers' letter as "a demand, with an implied threat of legal action."

The council came to the rather unstartling, but apparently difficult-for-xianists-to-comprehend conclusion that: "The downside of 'everything' is it means everything," McLaughlin said. And, [t]hat was something council could not live with, he said.

I've recounted before the story about a xian group that sued the local public school system and won the right to force the local public schools to send home announcements about church activities in kids' bookbags. Yet, when a group of local Pagans took advantage of the same ruling to send home notices about a Yule celebration at the local UU church, the xians went ballistic. Eventually, the school system decided, reasonably, to just not send home any kind of non-school notices.

In Chambersburg, as everywhere, there's a simple solution to the xians wanting to put up nativity scenes: Central Presbyterian Church, located on the square directly across from the fountain, is considering construction of a perch on its property where the creche could be displayed. That won't satisfy the xianists, though, because what they really want is to impose their religion, and only their religion, on everyone else via government property and action.

Xians upset over increasingly vocal atheist organizations might do well to consider that their own attempts to force their religion on everyone else is likely the cause for what is starting to look like an increasingly organized and vocal atheist movement.


Teacats said...

Exactly. Keep the religious scenes on church property. Or in their own store windows. For all faiths. Simple. There are many "winter" icons that can be displayed on public venues: snowmen (and women and children); snowflakes; mittens and hats, skis, skates, snowshoes; sleds, holly (yep -- it works! LOL!) I still like to see lighted trees of all sizes. Are there any others?

BTW -- for the money spend on some of the displays -- could be better served in these tough times for those in need. There are many services that benefit many people!

Jan at Rosemary Cottage

ntodd said...

Wait, you're saying there are already places where religious stuff can be displayed? Next you'll tell me there are places where people can worship freely in any manner they choose!

Makarios said...

Must dig out my Festivus pole. . . .

Gary said...

I live in Chambersburg. Comments in the local paper run probably 10-1 in favor of the creche remaining in place. One of the recurring themes is that it's SO UNFAIR that the minority (atheists) can dictate to the majority (Christians). The just don't see that the majority is often in the wrong. To wit, this was the day in 1955 when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery AL bus to a white man. The majority would have said she was wrong.