When the Courthouse Ground and Facilities Committee voted last November to prohibit all displays on the lawn of the courts complex in Leesburg it sparked an outrage from a number of residents and community groups, spurring the Board of Supervisors to quickly reverse that action during a special meeting only weeks before the December holidays.
As a result, several traditional Christmas displays, along with a couple aimed at testing the boundaries of free speech demonstrations, were erected in Courthouse Square.
While dormant, the controversy has not been settled.
This week, the courthouse committee urged supervisors to reinstate its prohibition on displays so that government leaders won't be in the position of determining which requests are for "appropriate" use of the grounds and which are not.
. . .
The board's compromise policy that has been in place since December allows 10 display areas on the courthouse grounds, with one display per area, and applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
By changing the committee's policy, supervisors allowed the annual placement of a Christmas tree and creche in the square, as well as a display by Loudoun Interfaith Bridges that included a Menorah, crescent, and Sikh display, a banner from the Freedom From Religion Foundation and [a] mocking of the "12 Days of Christmas" from Sugarland Run resident Edward R. Myers.
. . .
[Some] supervisors were not happy that the committee was pushing for the same policy that had caused residents to get upset in the first place. Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) said a lot of work already had gone into examining the role of citizen advisory committees by an ad hoc board committee in the board's first year in office.
"I am not against discussing the policy change, but frankly we've already done a lot of work," Delgaudio said. "These citizens are really truly devoted to something that we are truly devoted to in an opposite direction. They are acting in a way that I think is contrary to our position."
By consensus, a majority of the board agreed to take up the recommended policy changes at its next business meeting.
Honest to Goddess. With all the budget shortfalls and other problems we've got here in the Old Dominion, I wish our government officials would quit wasting time and just announce that government facilities are not an appropriate place for religious displays. People who want to erect religious displays in their yards, on their church grounds, on their privately-owned shopping malls, etc., knock your socks off. The more the merrier. Let a million flowers bloom. Government property has a different purpose.
However, as long as this nonsense goes on, I hope the Leesburg Pagans get in an early application for a Yule display