Berkley, Michigan, that is, the city trying to decide what to do with its nativity scene that I mentioned the other day. Jay at STACLU quotes the TMLC's press release, which offers to defend the city for free in case the ACLU files suit. Hey, that sounds kind of familiar. They did the same thing in Dover over the ID policy. They ended up getting their butts kicked from one side of the courtroom to the other. If Berkley is interested in taking the case to court, I would strongly suggest finding more competent representation than the TMLC can offer.
But of course, the city is considering several possibilities, any one of which is quite reasonable. They may turn the scene over to a clergy association so it can rotate among the churches in the city. Or they may have it moved to a single permanent location on private property. Or they may open up the grounds of city hall so that all religious groups can put up displays of their own. Any one of those is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Why is STACLU opposed to those things? Because of the mythical "war on Christmas":
Americans see the attacks on Christmas every year from the secular lefts leading light, the ACLU. Last year the ACLU layed low and tried to play the "what war on Christmas?" Looks like they are getting started early this year to make up for lost time last year.
Isn't it funny how objecting to using our tax dollars for a display of one religion (technically two, the display does apparently include a star of David), while denying access to other religions, suddenly transforms into a "war on Christmas"? This kind of simplistic thinking is patently absurd. Guess what, Jay? I would bet that most people involved with the ACLU actually celebrate Christmas every year. I do (though not as a religious holiday, of course, but as a cultural one).
There are thousands and thousands of Christians who work with or are members of the ACLU. What distinguishes them from you is that they don't expect the government to support and endorse their beliefs, they think their beliefs can survive just fine on their own without government help. And not wanting the government involved is not a "war on Christmas", it's a perfectly reasonable position. Tell me Jay, if the display is moved to private property, or if the city hall grounds are declared an open forum where many religious displays can go up, what is to object to?
The only thing that changes is that the government is no longer giving an implicit endorsement to your religious beliefs. Will that make your beliefs wither and die? If that's the case, you should probably rethink them because they're not very strong in the first place. Every single person who wants to celebrate Christmas is still absolutely free to do so, of course. No one's religious freedom is put at risk. Indeed, if an open forum is declared, there will be more public expression of religious belief, not less.
Ah, but that will be the wrong kind of religious expression, won't it? It'll be those evil, non-Christian religions having an equal opportunity for such public expressions...and that just won't do, will it? I think we've found the crux of the matter. The reason the STACLU crowd objects to such reasonable policies is because their beliefs will no longer be privileged over other religious beliefs, will no longer have exclusivity in public expression. And therein lies the real reason for the silly "war on Christmas" rhetoric.
I have to wonder what sorts of limits they can impose on religious displays. For instance, can one put up a sign saying, "Jesus is dead. Deal with it." ?
I'm not so sure the Dover trial showed the incompetence of the TMLC as much as it showed vacuousness of ID and the dishonesty of the school board.
So, in the minds of the TMLC and STACLU, "persecution" is when you don't get to shove your religious beliefs down others' throats on government coin.
I wonder if the TMLC would be so quick to jump into the breech if the city were planning on a Muslim, Buddhist, or Wiccan holiday display?
In the State Capitol in Madison there is an open forum for displays during the holiday season. Among all the religious paraphenelia, the Freedom From Religion Foundation puts up a small standing sign which says:
"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."
I think most of the quote is by Robert Ingersoll. I personally would have left off the last bit, but otherwise I think it's nice. I once saw it in person, and it was good to see my own views on religion represented along with everyone else's.
My recollection, however, is that it's been stolen several times (and replaced), and someone once threw acid or something on it. There are also (of course) regular complaints.
I don't understand why all of a sudden it's an attack on Christians and Christmas to be considerate of people who may not be Christian and may not celebrate Christmas during that season. I, for one, will continue to use "Happy Holidays" to hedge my bets. Political correctness isn't ALWAYS a bad thing!
BTW, you don't see Wiccans, Druids and other pagans crying because the Christians co-opted all of their Yule symbology (X-mas tree, yule log, holly, star etc.)
I think the right is jumping directly to 'leftist' "war on Christmas" to avoid talking about the "war on Halloween" that is fought by the righties. I mean, our school in a nice traditinal old-values community is having a Fall celebration this October.