‘Keep Saturn in Saturnalia’ Banner Rejected; ‘Keep Christ in Christmas’ Banner Allowed

The Knights of Columbus currently have a sign reading “Keep Christ in Christmas” on government property (without a permit) in Pitman, New Jersey.

Ok. We’ve played this game before. If you want your display to be included in the mix, all you have to do is make a request and you shouldn’t be denied.

So that’s what the Freedom From Religion Foundation did. They applied for a permit to display their own response sign, which read, “Keep Saturn in Saturnalia”:

Saturnalia was a festival in Ancient Rome and some of its traditions are said to have been co-opted by early Christians in order to celebrate Christmas.

But borough officials rejected FFRF’s application:

“This is either a violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, or a sign that needed a permit — and without a permit, the borough is showing favoritism to a Christian organization,” said FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel.

It may seem silly, but this is a clear-cut rejection of non-theistic claims in favor of religious ones. Governments have no business giving preference to one over the other.

Local FFRF members hoist the Saturnalia sign… but local officials said it will not be allowed on the property



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.


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