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Anti-Christmas Message in Washington State Capitol Holiday Display

 
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 533984
United States
12/03/2008 01:17 PM
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Anti-Christmas Message in Washington State Capitol Holiday Display
[link to news.aol.com]

The State of Washington accepted an application from an atheist group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, to place an anti-religion message as part of the state's official holiday display in the state capitol rotunda steps from a traditional nativity scene. The decision is the culmination of a three-year long battle in Washington over inclusiveness in holiday displays. In 2006, the Port of Seattle removed a Christmas tree from the Seattle-Tacoma airport after a local rabbi requested to add a menorah to honor Hanukkah. That same year, an Olympia real estate agent, Ron Wesselius, requested to place a nativity scene inside the capitol building after observing a menorah displayed there. He was denied and filed suit. The state settled, allowing the manger to be displayed in 2007.

The atheist group's sign reads:

"At this season of the winter solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

The Freedom From Religion Foundation's co-president, Dan Barker, defended the display's provocative message, calling it, "free speech." "Non-believers are a part of the fabric of America and we claim our place at the table to exercise free speech and freedom of religion, which includes freedom from religion," he said.

Washington state officials accepted the group's application to place the sign in an apparent overreaction to the controversy from 2006. The state says that it will honor almost any request from groups to place religious or political displays as long as they are not disruptive, don't cost the taxpayers money, and are not viewed as an endorsement by the state.

But atheist groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation view any decoration or display with even a hint of religious significance as a violation of the First Amendment's prohibition against establishment of a state religion. What they conveniently overlook is that the same Establishment Clause which prevents a state sanctioned church also prevents the government from limiting the "free exercise" of religion.

Decisions like Washington State's to allow virtually any political or religious display on state ground will not satisfy critics on either side. Religious groups will seek more and bigger displays in future years, and atheist groups will follow suit. A simpler solution would have been to allow the Christmas display unfettered with an official statement declaring it to be placed by a private citizen rather than the state government. Instead, state officials will now include an offensive message of intolerance as part of their official holiday celebration.
GraftedPromise U$ofA
User ID: 565110
United States
12/03/2008 05:06 PM
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Re: Anti-Christmas Message in Washington State Capitol Holiday Display
... laugh ... riiiigth ... and the NON-religious are any better to deal with?
Dr. House
User ID: 564332
United States
12/03/2008 05:08 PM
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Re: Anti-Christmas Message in Washington State Capitol Holiday Display
Show me where in the Bible it mentions Santa Claus, and when you do I'll stop believing in him. That's right. I'm an atheist and I celebrate Christmas and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.
rachel
User ID: 529732
United States
12/03/2008 05:17 PM
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Re: Anti-Christmas Message in Washington State Capitol Holiday Display
u mean pagan





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