Ok, Atheists, You Win the War on Christmas… Now Move Aside So We Can Put Up Another Nativity Scene

There’s been a change over the past few years in the way atheists handle Nativity Scenes on public property. Instead of doing what we’ve always done and sue local governments (something that costs time and money), atheist groups have been requesting their own displays on the same property.

It puts the local governments in a beautiful damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation: They can allow all religions to share the space (which hurts Christians’ privileged feelings) or they can just promote a Christian display and get hit with a lawsuit. (Or they can avoid all the controversy and not allow any displays whatsoever.)

An atheist holiday display at Palisades Park in Santa Monica, California

In a piece for the Washington Post, the director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum, Charles C. Haynes, acknowledges what the “savvy” atheists have done to fight back, but his suggestion for where we should go from here is baffling:

So now that we all understand that a right for one is a right for all, maybe it’s time for atheist groups to declare victory and stay home for the holidays. Let Christian groups set up Nativity displays in public spaces unanswered in December — and save the atheist messages for another time of year.

Yes, I understand why atheists want to make sure that religion isn’t privileged by government in the public square (as it has been for much of our history). But at some point (and Santa Monica has surely reached that point) in-your-face tactics become counter-productive and needlessly divisive.

After all, whether we celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice or none of the above, we can all benefit from a more civil and peaceful public square.

Absolutely not.

Don’t pat our heads like we’ve done a nice job proving our point and then tell us to go away. We’ve fought for our displays on government property and we have no intention of backing down. As long as Christians believe they have a special right to put up a Nativity Scene on government-owned land, we will continue to fight them… or show up right beside them.

Haynes makes it sound like if we lay off on the Nativity displays, then Christians will be totally fine with atheist billboards and other advertisements the rest of the year. That’s complete bullshit and he should know it. The most innocuous billboards get tons of complaints no matter what time of year they’re displayed.

The Christian displays are, in many cases, illegal.

The atheists displays are always legal.

Why should we play by the rules all the time and then let Christians get away with breaking them for months at a time?

This isn’t really about being in-your-face, even though some of the atheist signs aren’t exactly in the “holiday spirit.” It’s all about making a point: If you get to use government property to promote your beliefs, we can use them to promote ours — even if that means saying something you don’t like. The only way change in the system will come about is if the atheists’ messages are so provocative that people are moved to make a decision about whether or not to allow the displays at all.

The truth is, if Christians didn’t take over public space every year and then complain every time anyone else showed up, none of this would be an issue. They brought this on themselves.

We’re the ones fighting for free speech, equal access, and separation of church and state. The Christian groups that want their religious displays — and only their religious displays — at city halls and local courthouses want everyone to bow down to them and their god.

Forget “staying home for the holidays.” We’re not backing down now that we’ve come so far.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Robert Freid

    //”We’re the ones fighting for free speech, equal access, and separation of church and state. The Christian groups that want their religious displays.”//

    With respect-somehow, I highly disagree on that. The atheists/secularists are fighting for what they define as “free speech, equal access, and separation of church and state” just as any “Christian Fundementalist” (or any religious group for that matter) does the same for theirs. It is the perception that differs the religious from the irreligious…

    • Rainydayjess

       No. The religious want their own speech heard and everyone else silenced. The non-religious want equal access and free speech for all. There is a tremendous gulf between these positions.

      • Robert Freid

        Don’t make me laugh, look up any era of history where the “non-religious” have come to power and you will see just the opposite that happens…

        • Deven Kale

           Look up most areas of history before America and you’ll also see the same kinds of things happening when the religious come to power.

    • Sparky43

       Robert, you must be brand new to the U.S. of A. to make that statement without a sarcasm hashtag. 

      For the most part, when a Christian says, “I support freedom of speech and religion.”, he or she doesn’t add, but certainly thinks, “for me and my religion.  Everyone else should shut their mouths, take their posters down and go home.”  It’s called Christian Privilege, and it’s the default assumption in a lot of  Xtians in Red States

    • Annie

       I disagree.  From a legal standpoint, our public spaces are supposed to be free from religious paraphernalia… welcome to all.  The Christian fundamentalist has a distorted view of this.  If, you were to say that a Christian fundamentalist was fighting for the rights of a Wiccan display, you might have a point.  They don’t want freedom of speech, they want the freedom to share their religious views and theirs alone. As soon as someone else says, “Oh?  We’re allowed to display our beliefs on public land as well?” they change their tune.

    • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt Eggler

      With respect-you are completely and utterly wrong. Atheists /secularists are fighting for the only reasonable definition of free speech and equal access; everyone gets to speak and everyone gets access on public property – atheist, Muslim Jew, Hindu, fill in any other religion or spiritual belief here, and Christian alike. On top of displays at their many churches and private homes, the Christians want their and only their views to be spoken or to have access to public space. To call the speech and access of one and only one very specific group in a pluralistic society free and equal is oxymoronic, idiotic and imbecilic. 

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

        xtians don’t understand that there are more than 2 (or 3, maybe 4 if they’re really progressive) religions in world history.

        they don’t want to. to do so causes thinking, and that ‘Hurts their head.’

        they reject science, fact, logic and education in all that because mostly, they aren’t good at any of it and hate anyone who is.

        sexism, heteronormalism, and racism are pillars of their belief. it’s “rude” for any outsider to point this out with fact and example. they really hate being reminded of that even as they want to claim the right to do the same to us.

        also, many of them are self hating closet cases. not just sexually, but intellectually and culturally. they know this, and hate us almost as much as they hate themselves, because we either point this out frankly, or worse, used to be one of them, but got over it.

         cowards hate the brave. 

        • Robert Freid

          And how many religions can you name off the top of your head?

          • Dragonwytch

            I can think of 13 right off hand and, I’m sure, if I thought about it I could come up with several more. …. Of course, I’m not a christian, either!

  • Octoberfurst

     It really bugs me that many Christians have this attitude that they should be able to  put their nativity displays on any bit of government property they want and that it should not be an issue. They don’t seem to get the whole “seperation of church and State” thing. (Ok—they do get it but they are so arrogant they think they can ignore it.)  Then when we ask for it to be removed or have equal time they scream that they are being persecuted and that we are just being evil for wanting to follow the Constitution.  It just makes me roll my eyes in frustration.
      All they have to do is NOT put their displays on public property and the problem is solved. Why is that so hard to understand?  Put nativity scenes on every lawn in every neighborhood if you want. I couldn’t care less frankly. Have a nativity scene in front of every church in the land. Fine by me.  Just don’t put it up on the courthouse lawn or in the middle of a public park.

    • ortcutt

      What really bothers me is that they cry about “being driven from the Public Sphere”.  The Public is not the same as the Governmental.  There are a superabundance of places that are public in the sense that they are publicly visible and publicly accessible but which are not government property.  For example, Pittsburgh has a lifesize creche at a very prominent location downtown on Grant St., but which sits of private property.   No atheist has ever complained about this and has no grounds to do so.  So, why are Christians so insistent on the importance of Christmas displays on government property as opposed to publicly visible and accessible private property?  

      Cities have come up with this designated public forum lottery idea in order to circumvent Establishment Clause challenges.  Designated public fora must be viewpoint neutral however.  So, Charles Haynes suggests that we just cede this government property to one viewpoint voluntarily.  To do so, would be to allow the circumvention of the Establishment Clause with impunity.  That’s the real issue here.

  • http://twitter.com/DarwinSelection Atheist Finch

    Yes, I quite agree that we can “benefit from a more civil and peaceful public square” — so let’s keep the public square neutral to all so it stays civil and peaceful. (Note: “neutral” doesn’t mean “Christian.”)

    • Grumble F Kitty

      But to be fair, there really isn’t any neutral. There’s Christian, or all-inclusive, or completely secular. All-inclusive is closest, but rarely quite satisfactory for anybody, as we’ve seen. Either other option is a “win” for one side or the other, no two ways about it. When you say “keep the public square neutral”, you mean devoid of religious matter, which is just as un-neutral as the square full of nativity scene. It would be a square full of secularism, which the christians would view as a complete loss for themselves.

      • Dguarino

        What nonsense you spew.  An empty square does not somehow represent atheism or exude secularism.  Atheism is no more a religion than bald is a hair color.  Leave the square empty, that’s as neutral as it gets.

  • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

    “So now that we all understand that a right for one is a right for all, maybe it’s time for atheist groups to declare victory and stay home for the holidays. Let Christian groups set up Nativity displays in public spaces unanswered in December — and save the atheist messages for another time of year.”

    If there’s a logical thought here, I’m missing it. This seems to translate thusly: “We were wrong and you were right. Now please go away so we can go back to what we were doing.” 

  • Guest

    I think you’re right that atheists should keep putting up their own displays, but maybe instead of confrontational messages about how there’s no god, it would be better to focus on the joys of a secular Christmas? Family, feasting and presents. They could give out little presents or sweets or maybe cups of mulled wine to people passing by. Christmas means a lot to people, it gives them a warm fuzzy feeling. It might be better to show that atheism can provide that warm fuzzy feeling too, rather than make people think we want to ruin it for them.

    • Moebius

      Huh??!! How about Christians refraining from their confrontational messages about how there is god? And focus on family, feasting or whatever?

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    Christians seem unable to realize what’s going on here. Those atheist displays they so despise are going up, as a counterpoint to their own religious displays. Atheist displays would stop going up, if they simply stopped putting up nativities on every town hall lawn.

    This is, essentially, a needless “controversy,” one that Christians’ own behavior has led to, and which is entirely within their power to stop. If they truly wished it to stop. My own supposition is, they don’t want it to stop. They want atheist displays to go up, so they can in turn feel persecuted for being Christians.

    They can hardly be blamed for this; after all, theirs is a martyr’s religion, founded by a martyr, in which martyrs are acclaimed as the ultimate Christians.

  • A Portlander

    Great example of  the  “shut up, that’s why” argument a la Greta Christina.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XKEAP7EXF6VEPBK23OYML742TM Bob Dennis
  • Russian Alex

    How utterly condescending. Hey, NAACP, you’ve proved your point, now you can all go back to your room. Hey, ACLU, we get it: human rights are important. Go back to sleep. Hey, NRA, that’s enough… oh, that’s not it, is it?

  • Rwlawoffice

    Interesting that you claim that atheist displays are always legal. That is incorrect . In the context of the constitution and these arguments, atheism is treated as a religion, thus the call for equal access . To use the same logic used by the atheists, if the government promotes atheism to the exclusion of others, it would be equally illegal.

    I for one am all for including an atheist display. I think they look articulately out of place even when they are included and highlight to difference. It’s a good tool to promote Christianity.

    • http://twitter.com/morganducks Paul Morgan

      Atheism is NOT a religion. It is, by definition, the absence of religion. Atheist displays only exist as a well-deserved finger in the eye to asshats who feel they must place their religion in publicly owned spaces. Are there not enough churches or private homes where you can profess your love for an imaginary sky king?

      • Piet Puk

        Maybe you don’t know RW yet, he has his own definition of atheism.

        • Deven Kale

           Correction, he has his own definition of reality.

      • Rwlawoffice

        My post indicates that in the context of the constitution and these arguments it is a religion. This has been determined by the Supreme Court and most recently in a Federal court in Wisconsin ruled the same thing. So legally your post us incorrect. The motivation of the atheists may be to mock and insult but their right to do is grounded in the first amendment right to exercise religion, including their right to non belief .

        Just one of the hypocrisies of the activist atheist movement.

        • Dannyjo62

           The supreme court also considers inserting foreign genes into organism “substantially equivalent ” to selective breeding and using yeast to make beer.  Not much of a track record on logic for the highest court, so your argument is flimsy by using their definition for this case.

        • Dguarino

          So the court has declared atheism a religion?  Please provide a source for that incredible piece of “news” (real sources only please, imaginary, magical, or fox news sources won’t cut the mustard).  You provide a sad, poorly-constructed, strawman argument, so let’s hope legal work is a hobby and not a profession for you.  By your “logic”, people who don’t preach X are somehow magically preaching Y?  Using your “logic”, since you aren’t speaking about racial equality here, you must be a racist.  Since you aren’t speaking about not killing jews, that means you must support killing jews.  Since you aren’t opposing murderers, you must be in support of murderers.  And, that being the case, take your anti-semitic, murderous, and racist comments elsewhere because the grown-ups are talking here.

  • http://twitter.com/morganducks Paul Morgan

    This atheist will give up in December if Christians give up in any other month of the year. No public displays. No preaching in public. Nothing.  
     
    Yeah, THAT’S how stupid Haynes’ argument is.

  • Artor

    I’d like to see a Cthulhu diorama, with Innsmouth priests making blood sacrifices to the Old Ones & the big guy himself, twelve feet high in all his tentacled papier-mache glory.

    • CelticWhisper

      Don’t forget, the entire thing must conform to non-Euclidean geometry.

      Probably best to have some psych-ward doctors present at the scene too, in case too many visitors go mad from beholding those truths humanity must never know.

    • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

      I want to see a taurobolum rite, as was done in honour of Mithras, whose feast day was in fact December 25th. The celebrant stands underneath a bull who is ritually slaughtered and allows himself to be showered in its blood. 

      Fun for all the family!

      • Artor

        Oh yeah! We could have the children of our conquered countries sent to leap over the enraged bulls too, like they did for Minos.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Mr. Haynes:

    This isn’t about making a point.

    This is about making a change.

  • Jason Horton

    If the displays were available to all faiths and none by default for any group who wished to have one then it might be fine for the atheist groups to not bother. After all there’d be nothing to fight over. 

    Let me know when that’s the case and then we can say that we’ve won.

  • naath

    I really want to be in favour of this because the Christians who seem to think they get to own public spaces annoy me; but the atheist displays often seem to be, well, more targeted at annoying Christians than at affirming atheism and atheists right to celebrate things too.  Like if I put up a “happy birthday John” sign and you went and put up a “John stinks” sign that would be very different to you putting up a “happy birthday Fred” sign because Fred should also get birthday wishes.

    Christmas is an inescapably Christian holiday; but fun fact! also Isaac Newton’s birthday.  I want to see more atheist displays celebrating Newtonmass :-)  Or at other times of year celebrating other secular or explicitly atheist events.

    • Dguarino

      Christmas, like all “christian” holidays, is merely a co-opted version of the pagan holiday Saturnalia.  There are NO christian holidays, none whatsoever.  I find a belief in the imaginary to be childish, so any christian display is offensive to me as a person with fact-based beliefs.  Rather than tell us Atheists how to build a display that won’t offend you, how about you change YOUR display to get all that fictional BS off the lawn I pay for so I’m not offended?

      • Carol Roundtree

        Like it or not, there ARE Christian Holidays. I find the atheist point of view being tit for tat and extremely childish. I am a Christian and no matter what you say or do, it’s not going to change that fact.

        • JustTom

          Fine, be a Christian. Celebrate Christian holidays. Are you opposed to the idea that nativity scenes should not be allowed to be present in Governmental areas?

  • SeekerLancer

    Nice try Christians but you started this “war.” Now deal with it.

    • Gabbi B

      We started it and we’ll finish it with Victory in Jesus too.

  • Aaron

    I’m just going to be honest. As an agnostic, I really don’t care about the Christmas displays at courthouses and such. I don’t know if it’s that I still celebrate Christmas with the rest of my family (who are Christians and know I’m agnostic) or what, but I just don’t see any reason to get up in arms about it. It’s up for a single month out of the year. It’s decoration of something we neither believe in nor care about. What’s the problem? I honestly don’t get why some atheists and agnostics treat their non-belief like a religion and choose to fight insignificant battles like this. There are definitely things we need to fight to keep secular (i.e. making sure that evolution is taught), but I don’t see the point of fighting these insignificant battles over little things that do no real harm to anyone. I also don’t see the point of Atheist counter displays. We don’t believe in anything, why is it so important to make sure that everyone knows we don’t. I walked away from religion because people put it at the center of their lives and overlook the real, physical things in front of them because they had faith that God would fix it. If spiritual belief is so unimportant to us, then why do we need to bother bringing attention to our non-belief? Plus, Atheist displays just tend to come off as smug and mean spirited. They seem to be more about getting under people’s skin than they are about promoting atheism (which again, if it’s the absence of belief, what’s the point of promoting it like it’s a religion?).

    • Annie

       I too am not a fan of the atheist displays, but I do think this is an important issue to fight.  The front lawn of a church is the perfect place for a nativity display, but a courthouse is not. 

    • Dguarino

      Consider the KKK wanting to place a flaming cross on the town hall lawn, would you be so okay with it then?  Or the nazi party placing a huge swastika there?  Those displays are just as offensive to me as any christian display.  No one is promoting atheism as a religion, this isn’t some kind of contest.  It’s about equal treatment under the law and the town hall is as much mine as anyione else’s.  Everyone gets to place a display or no one can, that’s as fair as you can make it.  If the religious folks would keep their graven images and idols in their house or on their own property, no atheist would ever complain.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JeanetteM.Norman Jeanette Norman

    We don’t have a legal right to put up atheist displays here in Colorado, because many years back the state’s court ruled that tradition is what determines legality. (Yes, there are all kinds of really obvious examples of why that’s a nutty foundation for the law.) We have asked before, but Denver’s mayor’s office will not allow any non-traditional displays, not only no atheist signs, but no menorahs, nothing else, at the city’s display. Santa and elves and that kind of thing are okay, and so are Jesus and everyone else in the manger… though the blatantly Christian display is always in its own box, segregated from reindeer and elves and candy canes. 

    In past years the (now previous) Sheriff of Fort Collins let us put up atheist signs, as well as allowed other religious beliefs to be represented… at his “politically incorrect Christmas” celebration that is based on the idea that Christians are being persecuted any time anyone else is permitted to say things like “happy holidays.” But at least he believed in free speech for everyone, a principle that is not allowed at Denver’s Christmas display. 

    So when you don’t see an atheist sign at the annual Christmas display at the Denver City and County Building, you will know why; it’s not for lack of effort on our part, but because only “traditional” Christmas displays are allowed, since those are the only ones the state is required to recognize under state law. 

    (A few years back a spokesman for Mayor Hickenlooper told me on the phone that the state law specifically prohibited any displays that are not traditional. While I’m not a lawyer, that sounded to me like it might not be an accurate interpretation, though if anyone else knows whether it is, please do explain.)

  • http://twitter.com/r1944gmailcom ron

    its all find and dandy to think you have it made because you can  get away with banging on CHRISTENS and get away with it. You people seem to blame all the worlds woos on us. Actually its what GOD gave you, free will. Free will has you now see if you look beyond your noses is what happened to create the madness in the world. Free will by every one and the Good Lord watches to see how the we react to it. Christmas is free expression of what we believe, Its your choice not to. Like they say, de nile is not a river in egypt. 

    • Deven Kale

       Not all woo, just most. This is anecdotal, so take it as you will, but the people I’ve known who are most likely to fall for woo are theists. And there’s a very strong correlation between strength of their god “belief” and the amount of woo they’ll buy into. Those that buy into this woo stuff always seem to have a bit of the conspiracist in them as well. They’ll try to convince everybody that the mainstream folk are suppressing the truth (I think this is where the connection with religion comes in, since it also says this), and insist that they’re way is the best way. In this way, the religious spread their woo to others. Now I’ll admit that some atheists buy this woo stuff as well, it’s just nowhere near to the same degree as with the religious.

      Oh, and what’s got the world so messed up? You’re partially right in that it’s free will, but not in the way you think. The world is so messed up because of people who endeavor to control the actions of others: those who would force what is best for themselves onto those for whom it’s a poor fit. If more people would simply be tolerant of others with lifestyles different than their own, as long as their actions do no harm to others, the world would be a much happier place.

  • David

    I don’t believe in atheists. And as usual, your dogmatic blindness has you so confused about things.  First, Christmas is a federal holiday. Second, Christianity, according to my former Professor Emeritus and renowned Nietzshian  scholar, Laurance Lampert, is derivative from philosophy, ergo not a religion. Third, seasonal displays are permitted on government property. Fourth, there is no explicit separation of church and state.  Indeed, The Declaration of Independence, whose spirit was merged into our customs and law with the Civil War, refers to Nature’s God (I understand that atheists have sued to have the document removed from government property).  Fifth, your ecclesiastical cardinals, the Supreme Court, permits displays.This is a no brainer.  As the displays are to symbolize peace and goodwill towards others, then criteria to this end must and can be established by local, state and federal governments, and space allocated based upon the predominant groups in the jurisdiction.  The messages and symbols displayed cannot disparage or attack the expressions of others in the community during this time. The purpose is not for political speech, but positive expressions.Which atheists should consider adopting instead of acting like the neglected stepchild.

    • Deven Kale

      You’re really trying to say that just because Christianity has philosophical standpoints means it’s not a religion? If that’s true, then the word “religion” is meaningless. Let’s see what the dictionary has to say about the word:

      re·li·gion: noun ri-ˈli-jən

      Definition of RELIGION
      1     a : the state of a religious (a nun in her 20th year of religion)
             b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
      2       : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
      3       archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness
      4        : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

      So tell me, which of those definitions is not Christianity? It seems to me they all fit quite nicely. Your problem is that you fail to realize that people know what words actually mean, and so now you’re trying to redefine things and expecting everybody to go, “Oh wow, you really got me there! I’ll forget everything I know and go with yours instead!” It just doesn’t work that way. So yes, while Christianity is a philosophy, it’s also a religion! Yes, it can be both, and sadly for you it is.

    • Deven Kale

       Oh and also, I don’t believe in theists or deists or anything of the sort. I think everybody who describes themselves as such do so out of fear. I can’t say what that fear is, because everybody’s different, but it’s there. Some have a fear of death, and the promise of a life after this one is what draws them in. For others, it’s a fear of making decisions, and a god who makes all of them for you is very appealing, even if it is just a mind trick to allow them to actually make their own decisions without realizing it. Others look at the word and see nothing but crime and decay (even though this is the greatest time to live in recorded history, with the lowest world-wide crime-rates ever) and fear for humanity, and a god who promises to end all suffering and iniquity is exactly what they need. The rest fear something else entirely.

      I don’t know what your fear is, but I have no doubts you have one. I would hope that one day you get over your fear and come back to reality, but I know I can’t force you to. So until that day, I wish you good luck, and please don’t let your fear take complete control over your reason.

  • Taheinds

    I’ll believe you’re serious about countering ALL religions when you show pictures of Mohammed along with Jesus and Abraham.

    • Deven Kale

       Obviously, you haven’t been here very long. Most of what’s posted here is about Christianity, that’s inarguable. Just wait though, we’ll get to Islam again soon enough.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001785204101 Marcie Maximo-Monroe

    Please allow me a moment of your time, and a bit of your patience. I live in Santa Monica, and I am a non-practicing Jew (except for holidays, which for me is more about the traditions, than religious adherence). I watched what was done over time to the Atheist displays last year in Pacific Park, and was appalled by the lack of respect and seemingly pure hatred by those who defiled them. To be clear, yes some of the signs displayed seemed to be making a mockery of Christians and Christmas, yet some were simple well wishes for a pleasant solstice.  I was deeply saddened to learn that the SM City Counsel decided this year that there would be no displays, hence no lottery for a display space by any group. This is a tradition, though not mine, and it is sad to see it be prohibited on city land (though I am sure there are literally hundreds of private venues where it could easily have been displayed) as we are a tourist city, and many come here to see the displays.  Earlier this week, while walking to the store, I also noticed that the corner of the parking lot of a local Von’s grocery store was minus the usual display of the menorah.  It seems that now this display has too disappeared, though it was on private land.  I felt like crying , that the spirit of the holidays is quickly disappearing, that we can no longer accept one another for what we believe or do not believe, and that our need to be right  is now the focal point. This evening was the first night of Hanukkah, I could not locate my menorah, it is packed away with all the Winter decorations I usually display outside my apartment. Yet this year, I am not feeling festive, hence there are no snow flakes hanging from the ceiling of the patio, no penguins dressed with scarfs and silly hats, not a twinkling purple, blue and white light covering my plants. There is a sad blue stocking on my door, not the usual purple and silver ball wreath or gingerbread house decals.  Just a sad stocking.  I am sad. I am sad because we are allowing each other to fight with one another over who is right. There is no right or wrong in this situation (though I DO agree that religious displays of any sort do not belong in or on government property), as these are beliefs, not proven facts. It is my wish for this December that we all put our differences aside, stop claiming there is a  war upon Christmas (which honestly, I am sick of hearing. It seems to me that Christmas has waged a war on Thanksgiving, and soon Halloween will be taken over as well), stop being victims and stand together to wish each other a happy December. It is the end of the year, a time to reflect upon how we treated others and to spend time with those we love. Let us stop this make believe war (Christians, I’m speaking to you), and express love and gratitude for our fellow men and women of this Earth, accept that though we may not all believe the same, but that we all feel love and pain, and we all want nothing more than to show more love to one another and receive it, in whatever manner we may chose to express. I prefer a secular holiday season that expresses respect and love, and wish everyone a very happy December and a wonderful New Year. 

  • Charles Eldredge

    Love the comment about bowing down. God is God. Nothing or no one can ever change that. Every knee will bow, every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord. They sound so petty. Get a life!

  • Charles Eldredge

    Love the comment about bowing down. God is God. Nothing or no one can ever change that. Every knee will bow, every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord. They sound so petty. Get a life!

  • Garyz

    How utterly pointless. Seriously. Alright, I understand the point that religions shouldn’t shove their beliefs in other people’s faces with government backing, but come on. This is part of a festival. Whether the nativity story happened or not, whether it is an embellishment of real events or total fiction, a nativity scene is a celebration of that story. Are you going to object to Santa’s grotto? An Easter Bunny display? A movie poster? When the new Star Wars film comes out is this guy going to be standing outside movie theaters with a sign saying “this didn’t happen long ago in a galaxy far away?” This is not about free speech or religious belief, it’s about a group celebrating a festival and someone else being petty about it.

    • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

      Easter bunnies and Santas grottoes are not religious symbols, but both probably should not be put up at the courthouse either. You can put up all the nativity scenes at your church and at your home that you want, and we won’t care. Celebrate your festivals all you want, but don’t try to hijack government spaces to do it in. Unless you are OK with every religion being given the same access.

  • me

    Atheism is a religion. Agnosticism is a philosophical and intellectual, peace-filled stance.

    • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

      Incorrect. Agnosticism is about lack of knowledge, atheism is about lack of belief. They are not mutually exclusive, most atheists I know would describe themselves as “agnostic atheists” as in “It’s not possible to prove there is no god, but I have no belief there is one.” Neither is intrinsically peace-filled, that part’s up to the individual.

      Why are people still throwing this old “Atheism is a religion” thing around? What do they think they are accomplishing? (Other than reinforcing their own biases, that is.)

      • me

        Atheists have an absolute and total fanaticism towards any type of Christian theism. It is a religious cult, bent on destroying Christian cultures with its zealous attacks, both legal and illegal. It is tangled up with Christianity. You won’t attack a jewish synagogue, a muslim mosque, a satanic church like Anton LaVey’s, or a Buddhist temple. You don’t go after wiccans, shintos, black Baptists down South, or voudon. The Marxists are big on atheism, and have pushed it in the United States to undermine white culture. Stalin was an anti-White atheist jew who killed millions of white Christians during WWII in his own country. It is racially and politically motivated. It has nothing to do with religious freedom, and everything to do with hatred. Your Marxist founder in the United States, Madalyn Murray OHair, was killed, along with her family, yet you don’t realize the seriousness of your jihadist-like bile. You preach freedom and tolerance? NO! Your dictatorial Marxism is showing all the time. Agnosticism is not about a lack of knowledge–it is admitting that you don’t have the capabilities to prove or disprove the existence or non-existence of anything non-material, such as a soul, esp, God, etc. Atheism is an attack on white culture, both racially and politically. Not only will you not grant white Christians the freedom to express their beliefs, you demand that YOU have the right to disrupt and cancel out a majority rule in any community that wishes to have Christian expression during a holiday like Christmas. You people are racist, politically motivated, intolerant bullies that need to leave others alone, and let them enjoy the freedoms of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          Maybe that’s because it’s the CHRISTIANS who are shoving their moronic “religion” down our throats, and trying to get their “morality” enshrined in federal law…

          • me

            Did you even read the comment? Or are you just spouting a knee-jerk paraphrase?

            • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

              “me”, I read your comment, and it’s pretty clear that you have not read anything else on this website, and don’t actually know any atheists. You’re spouting what your pastor wants you to think about us, which has no bearing on what we’re actually like. And you’ve also shown that you’re a racist, so I really have no further interest in reading any more of your thread necromancy.

              Judge people on who they really are, not on your preconceptions of them.

        • baal

          Christian, learn to paragraph!

          • me

            baal….nice user name. Did you pick that out from the Old Testament?

            • baal

              no. would it matter if i did?
              Keep in mind that folks sometimes get slandered in history books for being on the wrong side.

  • Demon Teddy Bear

    Atheists … this is why people hate you. You decide, out of spite, to harass something which everyone has done for decades, and get all faux-outraged about it. Then you abuse the court processes in order to interfere with the vast majority of people in your community.
    But do go ahead. It can only be a matter of time before atheism is classed as a hate crime.

    • Matt Gibson

      Oh they love to preach tolerance…. that is, as long as it fits their agenda. From what I’ve seen here (and other numerous Libtard hangouts) they display no more tolerance than the sexist and bigoted religious right. HYPOCRITES… ALL OF THEM!

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Oh yes. Tell me more about how the world hates us for our freedoms, too.

        • Matt Gibson

          You obviously didn’t read my comment very closely, or your comprehension skills are mostly non-existent, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess both. I’m no republican or democrat, and I’m definitely not religious either (Bushido and Zen are philosophy). Both parties are WAY past their expiration date. I just find it hilarious that the left are the ones quick to preach tolerance about race, sexual orientation, etc. But religion? Nope! Good luck trying to tear me down though, it makes me laugh! ;)

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            Eh, just pointing out another common statement that is born from ignorance to try to show you how very wrong you are.

            See, I don’t give a shit what people believe. Believe in gods, whatever. I’ll think you’re silly, but I definitely don’t want to make it illegal or anything to do so. I think conservatives are silly. I think pagans are silly. I think lots of people are silly. Gods are just one more silly belief in a world full of them.

            What I care about is when you (general you, not you specifically) take your religious beliefs and try to make me or others live by them. Then, then we have a problem. When you try to force your bigoted ideals down the throat of society, which inherently takes away freedom and opportunity from some people, I am going to try to stop you. I don’t care why you’re doing it, either- religion, philosophy, or old-fashioned bigotry. It’s all the same to me. Tolerance does not mean tolerance of intolerance.

            So tell me again why you’re supporting someone who thinks that disbelief in the supernatural is a hate crime and all atheists should be punished as criminals. Please.

            • Matt Gison

              This article is about a nativity scene and the people that freaked out about it… nothing more. It’s not like they’re forcing you to convert by displaying their nativity scene. Yes the religious right tries to push it’s ideology on others through the political and legal system… but this is not an example of that. Also, the left is just as guilty of the same accusations, so don’t try to play it down like they aren’t complicit.

              To me, most of you all just sound like a bunch of spoiled whine babies. Get the hell over your highly inflated egos and do something that’s actually constructive for society; as this does absolutely NOTHING to further the progress of mankind. All this serves to do is divide people, make them bitter, and turn them on one another. But of course that’s what the elite in the ivory towers want.

              I don’t blame the lefties for their failure to see the messed up logic behind most of what they are doing, it’s not their fault. It was taught through a good many years of conditioning and schooling…. just like the right does with their people in church. We’re all being played for fools by the man behind the curtain. When are people going to wake up and realize that the true enemy is not your neighbor you disagree with ideologically, no, the true enemies are the CEO’s, the politicians, and the international bankers…. you know, the ones that have been robbing this country blind for the last century plus, and leading us into war after war.

              If you fail to see what I am getting at then I am sorry for you, and all of the others out there, that have had the wool pulled tight over their eyes for far to long. I am beginning to loose all hope for the human race, because of stories like this (from both sides of the aisle), and the comments below them. Anywho this will be my last post here for a while, as I have much better things to do with my time than to hash it out with a bunch of people so entrenched in their beliefs that they can’t see the forest for the trees. Much peace and love my fellow Earth being!

              • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                Nativity scenes don’t bother me.

                Nativity scenes on public property do bother me. Why? Because they tell me that my beliefs matter to my government. They tell me that my government will treat me differently based on what my religious beliefs are. They tell me that as a non-Christian, I am not “one of us”, but rather “one of them”, and I am excluded from full participation in my supposedly open and democratic government.

                This is a problem, and one that is easily solved by either 1) banning all religious and explicitly atheist material from government space or 2) allowing all religious and explicitly atheist material in government space. If one allows it, the government must either A) require it all to be paid for by outside forces or B) pay for all displays requested. You must be consistent- having just one religion allowed to be represented is indeed religious discrimination. It might seem small, but it is also a great example of the religious privilege we see around us, and it is all worth fighting against for the message it sends.

                The fact that there are lots of other problems out there does not negate that this is also a problem. Drilling down for Worst Problem Evar just ensures nothing ever gets done on anything. It’s a bad argument.

                I’ll also thank you to stop spewing stereotypes about “lefties” as though they are incapable of critical thought or logic. Stereotypes bad, mmkay? To steal from Ubi Dubium below, judge people on who they really are, not on your preconceptions of them.

                • Matt Gibson

                  Okay, I lied, I couldn’t stay away.

                  Let’s see if we can clear a few things up.

                  So this basically boils down to fair representation then? First off I think yall are reading into it WAY to much. Secondly, no where in the article did it state that a municipality was telling an atheist group, or other recognized religious group, that they could not have a display of their own (though I’m sure it has happened, and that IS wrong). Furthermore Christmas is a holiday which has been a recognized tradition for a very long time, as well as Hanukka, and that is the time of year that holiday displays are put out for public viewing. On the other hand, most of these atheist groups that want their own display are not doing so to celebrate a recognized holiday (do atheists even have holidays?), they are merely stirring the pot and nothing more. It has never been a tradition for atheists to put up displays like that, which is proof they are doing so just to get under Christians skin.

                  “I’ll also thank you to stop spewing stereotypes about “lefties””
                  Oh what’s the matter? Can’t handle their own game being turned around on them? I’m pretty sure that’s what liberals are doing when they call someone a racist, or a tea bagger just because they disagree with what that person said. Which would make them a HYPOCRITE “mmkay”!

                  This isn’t just a stereotype, I’m speaking from experience. Every single time I have ever had a debate (or observed one) with a liberal, they go straight for the stereotypes, personal attacks, and ad hominem… that’s their MO. I really don’t care if someones feelings (or yours) get hurt, because guess what, here’s a news flash for you…. there is no law or right to “not be offended”, but we all have a right to express our views and opinions no matter who gets butt hurt about it. Political correctness can blow it out it’s collective ass. You’re just pissed because I preempted you all from the right wing personal attacks by saying that I’m not a republican (and I’m not), and now you don’t have any material to attack me with. I’m dumb-o-cunts and repug-li-can’ts worst fucking nightmare because I owe no allegiance to either party, despise both equally (there’s some equality for ya), and will tear both apart viciously… one can only hope more people wake up to the truth. If your offended go cry to someone who cares, it’s no skin off my back dude!

                  Sincerely,
                  Couldn’t Give A Fuck Less

                  P.S. Always remember kiddo’s “Republicans are red, democrats are blue. Neither on of them, gives a damn about you!”

                • baal

                  ” they go straight for the stereotypes, personal attacks, and ad hominem… that’s their MO” Says the intentionally idiotic Rush ditto head / WND type in the mid of a flurry of hate filled name calling spree.

                • Matt Gibson

                  HA Rush is a joke, I don’t watch ANY mainstream news network… or any TV for that matter. I never said that I had no intentions of insulting anyone, in fact I said that I was going you use the lefts own tactic against them…. and guess what, I got the expected reactions. Keep trying though! ;)

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Right, because I have insulted you and treated your arguments with contempt and name-calling.

                  No? You ignored my reasonable, grammatical, and logical arguments as not confirming your biases? Ah well, such is life.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  I am quite liberal. A “lefty”, if you will. Have I yet called you a racist or teabagger? No. I haven’t seen any evidence of racism, and I’m not sure why you’d think being accused of being a member of the Tea Party was an insult to begin with. It’s a real political party with real political views that, yes, I disagree strongly with. Is calling someone a Republican or a Libertarian or a Democrat or a Socialist an insult now too?

                  Have I yet used an ad hominem attack? No. Have I argued that being offended means you don’t get to say anything? No. Have I yet tried to hurt your feelings? No. This is spite of the fact that you are clearly trying to induce an angry response with insults, especially gendered ones. I’m really being incredibly patient with you.

                  All I’ve done is tell you in calm, reasoned, grammatical language why you are wrong. I’m terribly sorry (not really) you can’t handle that level of discourse, but that’s also not really my problem.

                • Matt Gibson

                  Well you are an exception in a garden of weeds, and I thank you for that. I never alluded to you insulting me. I was merely pointing out that your party of choice frequently uses those tactics, and wording as personal attacks. It wouldn’t of hurt my feelings at all if you had, and as I already said you did not… not like you really could anywho as I preemptively stated that I was none of the above.

                  I can definitely handle that level of discourse, and do so on a daily basis (you don’t know me, or what I do, just as I don’t know about you). Here, in this instance, I thought that I would lower myself to your (not you personally) level, and use the same tactics as I see commonly used by your party against others who disagree. Give ‘em a little taste of their own medicine so to speak. I received the exact type of response as I expected… no surprise there. Bullies don’t handle it well when someone decides push back. I understand some would have a hard time seeing my point, it’s called cognitive dissonance.

                  Also to answer you earlier question: I do support Demon Teddy Bear’s first paragraph, but not the second one.

                  I just think that everyone should leave everyone else the hell alone, let them believe whatever they want to believe, and just go on with your lives. I hate to say it, but I really think that you all are fighting an uphill (and pointless) battle, as Christianity has been here a long long time, and I don’t foresee it vanishing anytime soon.

                  Also why is it that almost all of the negativity is always directed at Christians and not any other religions? I don’t see you all raising hell (no pun) about Hare Krishna’s (just an example) doing their thing. Or what about Islam being WAY more sexist than Christianity? Why no attacks on them? Look I understand that you guys and gals are not religious (I’m not either), and that you don’t want religious beliefs pushed on you through legislation (and that’s A-OKAY, I don’t either!), but these nativity scenes on public property are not hurting you, they are not forcing you to do something you don’t agree with, they don’t take away your rights. Simply put they affect you in no way at all, other than in your mind, and that’s only if you allow it to. If it really bothers you that much then just be the bigger person, and let it go.

                  P.S. Before someone jumps the gun and says “Well you didn’t let it go!”, let me explain it in simpler terms. I’m an atheist myself, I am neither a republican or a democrat, I was merely trying to prove a point that by your actions you are all hurting your cause more than anything. There are other atheists such as myself who don’t like religion, but don’t feel the need to rip on others and hinder their rights and freedoms because of their belief… and that’s exactly what is going here, and if others fail to see that then there is no hope.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Well, the next time the Hare Krishnas try to force through a law based on their religious beliefs or get out of following a law based on them, I’ll be sure to get annoyed about it. Since Christians are the ones in my life being the most egregious, and since nativity scenes on public property are in fact hurting me (I pointed out how above; exclusion is a harm), I point it out and work against it. They’re also unconstitutional- as a matter of principle, you should also be adamantly against them. It doesn’t infringe on anyone’s rights or freedoms to say that they aren’t allowed to monopolize government property for their personal religious displays. It in fact preserves the freedom of everyone to say that no one is allowed to monopolize government property for their personal religious displays.

                  Islam is, at this time, the worst religion when it comes to violence and women’s repression. This is a historical phenomenon, and so I point out the horribleness of current Islamic practice while maintaining that the Bible is actually worse than the Qu’ran in what it says. Christianity in the West has the Enlightenment ideals preventing Christian theocrats from doing as they will, while there is a much weaker countervailing force on Islamic theocrats. It’s important not to say that Islam is inherently worse than Christianity, though, because it isn’t. They’ve both got a ton of potential for harm. Current Islamic practice is worse than current Christian practice, though, no doubt about that. On a post about nativity scenes, though, I don’t see why Islam would come up at all?

                • Fred

                  Integrity must be for people other than Matt Gibson.

                • Matt Gison

                  Oh and attacking Christians over their holiday display is a model of virtue? Please, keep digging.

                • Fred

                  OK.
                  Integrity and Laws must be for other people than Matt Gibson.

        • baal

          Carm unlocked the basement doors again. We should send someone over to fix that.

  • Matt Gibson

    I’m just as much an “atheist” as the rest of yall and don’t give a damn about Christmas…. but you all seem like a bunch of overgrown babies with a small penis complex, so you feel like you have to bully everyone else. Get a life libtards. (and nope, sorry, not a tea bagger so the joke is on you!) ;)

    • baal

      Flagged for body shaming, ablist insults and general asshattery.

      • Matt Gibson

        Isn’t that a common tactic of the left too? Body shaming? “Oh he only owns a gun because he’s making up for something.”…. isn’t that a common line yall use? So what you’re saying is that there’s a double standard, it’s okay for the left to say it about others, but nobody dare make that remark about the left. Hmmmm, now the true colors are starting to shine through. Oh and I guess it’s asshattery to expose those colors. Thanks, this is gold right here. Been backing up screen shots all day. They will make great material for my op/ed piece that I’m writing up about politics in this country. :D

  • Matt Gibson

    I hate bigoted close minded tea baggers just as much as I hate the self righteous pansy liberal vermin. :P

    • baal

      That’s nice dear. Could you go outside and do something useful now?

  • Matt Gibson

    Oh so you don’t like Christians and your all butt hurt about it? Cry a river, build a bridge, and get the hell over it…. or just step off the side, no one will miss you.

  • LiberalBashingHippyEater

    Get fucked commies.

    • Matt Gibson

      Just saw this gem… nice! +1

      • baal

        Necro thread, trolls be shitting.

        Sorry to have replied.

  • Gabbi B

    If you atheists weren’t so ignorant to the reality that CHRISTmas really is about the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord (oh, and the Son of God) none of this would be an issue now would it?

    • anniewhoo

      And when exactly is it thought that Jesus was born? Happy Saturnalia to you, Gabbi B.!


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