Denigrating the Tree of Knowledge

Brian Sapient of the Rational Response Squad has made this video about Philadelphia’s 2009 Tree of Knowledge:

Jane, the Bible thumping blogger, is not a big fan of the tree. She calls it: The Tree of Denigration. Here’s some excerpts:

If you’ve been to downtown West Chester recently and have driven past the old courthouse building you probably noticed several festive displays on the courthouse lawn.  There’s the traditional Christmas tree provided by the Chester County Chamber of Commerce, there’s the Menorah display representing the Jewish faith’s tradition of Hanukkah, and there is the crèche representing one of the most celebrated Christian holidays of the year—Christmas.  Both Christmas and Hanukkah are religious traditions celebrated in the month of December; Hanukkah, also known as The Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday observing the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem while Christmas is the day that Christians celebrate the birth of Christ and rejoice in the coming of the one true Messiah.

But you’ll also see a gaudy, out-of-place, and inappropriate fourth monstrosity of a display tarnishing the courthouse lawn for the third year in a row.  It’s called the Tree of Knowledge, a grotesque and kitschy shrine to Godlessness sponsored by the Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia.  And despite numerous complaints by various citizens and groups in Chester County, county commissioners Terence Farrell, Carol Aichele, and Kathi Cozzone have not only allowed this assemblage of non-theists to display their tree, but they’ve permitted it to be mockingly postured  just a few feet from the nativity scene yet again this year.   Perhaps the commissioners’ political correctness is motivated by fear of bad publicity and/or litigation, but common sense would dictate that December holiday displays have a direct tie-in to a December holiday tradition; those that don’t shouldn’t be displayed in December.

Instead of asking someone who actually represents the Freethought Society, Jane quotes fellow theist, Colin Hanna, as to the motivation behind the Tree of Knowledge. He says:

It’s an agenda of hate and denigration, not a reverential celebration of any religious tradition.  The Freethought Society is about attacking respectful Judeo-Christian traditions and nothing else.”

Jane then says something very revealing. She refers to the Freethought Society and my friend Margaret Downey as “agents of the Enemy” (Notice the capital “E”). Clearly she feels they are tools of Satan. In my book, this is when we can stop paying attention to Jane’s ramblings and dismiss her pleas for decency and beauty at the courthouse.

One more note, I find it amusing Jane quotes Frederick Douglass:

It was esteemed orator, author, and abolitionist Frederick Douglass who said, “Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.”  Unless God-fearing Chester Countians voice their displeasure to the county commissioners at this offensive group’s deprecation of American faith traditions, the Freethought Society and their ilk will continue to impose their harmful rhetoric and chip away at the very bedrock of American exceptionalism:  God.  It’s time for a little righteous indignation in His name.

Sorry, Jane. Frederick was on the other team. Let me end with a couple quotes from Douglass you may not have heard.

I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.
— Frederick Douglass

The church of this country is not only indifferent to the wrongs of the slave, it actually takes sides with the oppressors…. For my part, I would say, welcome infidelity! Welcome atheism! Welcome anything! in preference to the gospel, as preached by these Divines! They convert the very name of religion into an engine of tyranny and barbarous cruelty, and serve to confirm more infidels, in this age, than all the infidel writings of Thomas Paine, Voltaire, and Bolingbroke put together have done!
— Frederick Douglass

Nice try though.

Brother Richard

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