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Follow the Law!

Can’t get through the season without saying something about the annual “War on Christmas,” that perverse ritual when Bill O’Reilly, Bill Donohue and the whole gang of U.S. cultural conservatives get themselves all riled up because the government no longer grants them the religious privilege to which they’ve become accustomed.

No Angels, No Stars

Just four days before Christmas, Sonoma County’s acting administrator has ordered that all religious symbols be removed from Christmas trees erected in county-owned buildings.

“I understand the concern about government endorsing religion or a doctrine, and I respect that is not our role,” acting county administrator Chris Thomas told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

Thomas’ order on Monday, Dec. 21, meant all stars, angels and anything else smacking of religion had to be immediately removed from the trees, the newspaper reported.

The county administrator made his decision based on a complaint filed by Irv Sutley of Santa Rosa, a disabled veteran with “a long history of protesting the use of religious symbols in government settings,” reported the Press Democrat.

Commenters were predictably worked up into a lather:

Once again, this fool has allowed evil to prevail. Who paid for the decorations? (As if that is truly the issue.) So, why is the religion of atheism is allowed to over ride the desires of everyone else? This stupidity is offensive to God!…

Atheism should certainly be declared a religion. People like Mr.Sutley have nothing better to do than feel sorry for himself as a “disabled????” veteran which was so quickly used as some kind of excuse for his bitterness?…

Angelo, these idiots are not “brothers in Christ”, but children of the devil. As for Thomas and Sutley being created by God, there is an implication here that is false. Their wrong choices are not created by God, nor does God will that they rebuke Him. The Church does not hold these two fools in “high esteem”; “God is no repector of men”. To hold an anti-Christ is high esteem does not do justice nor does it enact charity, but serves vanity and the devil….

If Chris Thomas believes that a star is a religious symbol for “some people” and should be removed, then just think of the endless possibilities. Should the red star be dropped from the California flag? How about the bear — it must be a religious symbol for somebody somewhere…

I found this all highly amusing. So I replied:

Oh, the outrage!! I’m sure it was fun while the Christians had an unquestioned majority. But now the numbers are falling and Christianity is only one religion among many, and non-believers are recognized as legitimate citizens. So the shoe is on the other foot. Religious symbols must be eliminated from the public square because it is not the role of government to appear to favor one religion over another. Either you display them all or you display none. Christians don’t seem to be happy with either. If they can’t have a monopoly on holiday displays, they start pouting.

But get real. Faith is a personal matter, and if your faith is strong you shouldn’t worry about symbols being displayed in public. Display whatever you like in your own homes and churches. Anything else is just the petulance of a waning constituency and should rightly be ignored in a pluralistic society.

UPDATE: Apparently, Sonoma county has bowed to pressure and rescinded the ban. And on it goes…

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Comments (53 comments)

Guest / December 28th, 2009, 4:09 pm / #1

As a veteran and an atheist, I've always marvelled at how the right reveres the American soldier, right up until the point where the soldier disagrees with any right wing talking point whatsoever. I was an officer, and my education included a semester of Constitutional law. The Constitution that I studied didn't establish a Christian nation, but maybe I was sick that day.

ssgchester / January 3rd, 2010, 5:46 am / #2

I am so tired of these religious clowns trying to label being an atheist or atheism as a "religion." It isn't.
If that's all they can muster up for an argument then this proves they are mentally challenged. But, having said that I
can see where they need to believe in some invisible guy in the sky who is watching their every move.
I'm also tired of having Christmas shoved down my throat by Madison Ave.
I've really had enough of expecting to be "happy" because it's December. It's the "Holidays" so you have to be HAPPY.
I'm tired of the pressure Madison Ave uses to get people to buy buy buy. And run up a nice big debt.
I've not been in the "Christmas spirit" since the early 1970's. We're talking High School here.
Anyone ever ask why we have to be "Happy" only in December? Why not the rest of the year?
Oh, and as for that Jewish kid who was or was not born about 2000 years ago. He wasn't born in December.
The Church mixed a pagan celebration with his birth.
Now imagine some poor Jewish kid having his birth day taken from him and used like that. Or any kid.
Now that's sad…

guest / January 14th, 2011, 11:53 am / #3

As an Athiest, I find publicly displayed religious symbols annoying. The 10 Commandments in front of a public building is also an annoyance. The bible being used to swear-in a witness in the courtroom is weird. Why is the "default" religion Christian?

However, some symbols are so over-used that they no longer scream CHRISTIAN to me. A generic angel, for one, is not offensive to me. A star is not annoying to me either. Maybe it's because I don't mentally connect them with religion. In grade school, when the teacher drew a star on my homework, I didn't see it as anything other than a pretty design that meant "good job"!

I celebrate Christmas. It isn't a religious holiday to me. I would love to see the Jesus-factor taken out of Christmas. For me, it is about spending time with family. It is fun to give gifts to loved ones. I don't see that as hypocritical, although I am sure some would see it that way.

AmenASHandF / January 30th, 2011, 6:35 am / #4

i was thinking the exact same thing……he he he (0= ….it's pagan to dress up a tree right? or is it just human to show love for Nature prettying up a tree? i like prettying up trees, fake ones so i don't have to deal with all the needles. ha actually i still have it up. i hate having to put it away till winters gone….

AmenASHandF / January 30th, 2011, 7:04 am / #5

thumbs up ! me too….u know though it's been annoying me several yrs now people pledging allegiance to a piece of fabric called a flag?! i don't pledge anymore after hearing someone many yrs ago point out that since the word God is in the Pledge of Allegiance their children shouldn't be made to in school. i stopped doing it since then waking up to what it's all about (sometimes unconscious i start then immediately stop when i realize). Remember the word Christ is in Christmas. it's short for Christ mass, so taking out the Jesus is not possible unless we correct it's phonetics and it's corrected to Esu or Yeshua . & giving gifts is an ancient tradition nothing to do with a Christ mass, which should actually be when one thinks about it a Messiah mass. So Christians should be called Messiahans. i'm realizing so much is enjoyed because it's enjoyable & at the end it's not about all the meaning just the part of it we connect to. & angels can be looked at as bird people….(0=

AmenASHandF / January 30th, 2011, 7:17 am / #6

(0= …thumbs up ! …i think it's the sparkly snow that makes everyone get sparkly, then of coarse the $ makers want to take advantage of that sparklyness….the kids really show the happiness when that snow comes down u know….snow people (snowman), snowballs, snow angels (or snow bird people), all that good stuff

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