In Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, local officials have allowed a Nativity scene to be placed near a local public fountain.
This is illegal, of course, but the PA Nonbelievers (PAN) took the high road in dealing with this.
They wanted to put up a sign near the Nativity Scene which would read “Celebrating Solstice — Honoring Atheist War Veterans.”
Earlier this month, PAN Capital Area director Carl Silverman of Camp Hill wrote the borough a letter stating its intention to erect the sign. While the group believed it did not need the borough’s permission because the creche required none, it was submitting a proposed design in “the spirit of cooperation,” the letter said.
“We didn’t want to take Jesus out of the public square,” Silverman said. “We want to put atheism in the public square.”
(Correction to that article: Carl is actually a board member of the group, not the director)
Bill McLaughlin, president of Chambersburg’s borough council, decided he could either let *all* displays go up (a la the Washington Capitol building debacle from last Winter)… or he would have to allow none of them to go up.
He chose to allow none of them. Which is perfectly fine, of course.
The Christians don’t seem to feel the same way:
Lisa Blackstock of Mercersburg is spearheading a demonstration at noon Saturday in Chambersburg’s downtown. She believes the majority of people in the community want the creche to remain. “This is Christ-mas. It’s a no-brainer if you ask me,” Blackstock said. “There’s no way people in Chambersburg should let (PA Nonbelievers) win.”
McLaughlin isn’t exactly endearing himself to the atheists, either, with soundbytes like this one:
“The down side of ‘everything’ is it means everything,” McLaughlin said. “It would mean this group, and groups that are much more odious.” That was something, he said, council could not live with.
“Much more odious”? As in the atheists are odious but others might be worse?!
Jerk. He wouldn’t say that about the Jews.
And what about this line from the same guy?
He said he had always known the day would come that the nativity scene would have to be banned.
In other words, he knew what the city council was allowing was illegal, but he continued to allow it, anyway? Why is this guy still in office?
The last paragraph in the article is particularly noteworthy:
A solution may be on the horizon. Central Presbyterian Church, on the square across from the fountain, is considering construction of a perch on its property where the Nativity scene could be displayed.
This is exactly what should’ve happened from the beginning. Let the church put up a religious display on their own property. Not in the public square.
See? It’s not that complicated.
(Thanks to Scott for the link!)