JT has a story from his home state of Arkansas, where a county judge who has allowed a Christian nativity scene up on the courthouse grounds every year has refused to allow a sign celebrating the winter solstice. And frankly, the judge is being a real asshole about it too.
A resident of Mountain Home contacted Baxter County Judge Mickey Pendergrass requesting permission to erect a Winter Solstice Banner as well. They were denied.
I have spoken with the resident, who wishes to remain anonymous for the time being (though they’re aware that won’t last forever – as they said to me “I’m well aware of what Jessica Ahlquist went through). They immediately contacted the AHA and the FFRF. The FFRF contacted Judge Pendergrass to request a list of what hoops a person must jump through in order to have erect a holiday display in reverence to their own beliefs. Pendergrass responded that because the FFRF wasn’t a private citizen that he did not have to provide that information. So a collection of residents sent a letter by certified mail to Judge Pendergrass requesting that information. They have yet to hear back, but I will let everybody know if/when they do.
Pendergrass said Thursday he will take no action in response to the letter without consultation from legal representatives for the county and the Association of Arkansas Counties. He said Baxter County is apparently among a declining number of counties that permit nativity scene displays on publicly-owned property.
The judge said he rejected a citizen request for the display of a “Happy Winter Solstice” banner on the courthouse grounds because he believed making the courthouse available for any and all requests for occasional exhibits would result in “hundreds” of displays.
Wait, you took action in response to the original request and now suddenly you want to consult with the attorneys for the county? You’re a judge, for crying out loud. As for that last argument, isn’t that convenient? “I’m sorry, we can only allow one display on public property. And by sheer coincidence, the only display we will allow is the Christian one, as always, everywhere. Hey, they got here first. My hands are tied, there’s nothing I can do.” Christian privilege at its most obvious, folks.