Appeals Court Rules That a City Can Put Up a Nativity Scene on Government Property but Reject an Atheist Display

Last (War on) Christmas, in response to a government-sponsored nativity scene in the center of town, the Freedom From Religion Foundation put up a sign of their own in Warren, Michigan:

Douglas Marshall puts up the FFRF sign in Warren, Michigan (David Angell – Daily Tribune)

(Just over a day later, the banner was vandalized… then stolen.)

The reason they were allowed to put the sign up at all was because they applied for and received a permit to do it. It wasn’t part of the official government display; it was a separate, alternative display.

But in the winters prior to this one, FFRF tried to do a few other things. They tried to get the Nativity Scene removed from the government’s display. That didn’t work. Then, they tried to get their sign included in the display. The city said no to that, too, so FFRF (and member Douglas Marshall) sued the city. A district court ruled for the city, so FFRF appealed to a higher court. The argument was that the Nativity Scene — despite being surrounded by other generic holiday displays — was a government endorsement of religion.

On Monday, three judges on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals — all of whom were appointed by Presidents George Bush and George W. Bush — issued their own unanimous ruling: They were on the city’s side, too (PDF):

The nativity scene, when accompanied by this collection of secular and seasonal symbols, does not amount to an establishment of religion or for that matter an impermissible endorsement of it.

All but one of the objects in the holiday display are nonreligious. Ribbons, ornaments, reindeer, a lighted tree, wreaths, snowmen, a mailbox for Santa, elves, wrapped gift boxes, nutcrackers, poinsettias, candy canes, a “Winter Welcome” sign — all of them, all that is but the nativity scene — are secular.

a city does not run afoul of the Establishment Clause
by including a creche in a holiday display that contains secular and religious symbols

The Court also added that FFRF’s sign was divisive, disparaging, and antagonistic — and so it made sense for the city to not include it in their display:

[Mayor Jim Fouts' words] are not the words of someone trying to establish any one religion or religion in general; they are the words of someone trying to explain the common sense risks of disparaging faith-based and secular symbols, whether a creche or a Santa, alike.

While the Mayor also said a lot of other things that made no sense (“our country was founded upon basic religious beliefs”), the Sixth Circuit let those slide, adding that the Mayor was “apparently untrained as a lawyer.”

They even lay out what is allowed and isn’t allowed, opening the door for cities everywhere to copy what they did and present a Nativity Scene… mildly adorned by other generic holiday displays:

[A city] could choose to include a “Winter Welcome” sign. And it could choose to add a nativity scene (so long as it did not violate the Establishment Clause). It could choose to add an angel. And it could choose to keep out a devil. It could choose to add a Santa. And it could choose to deny a sign saying, “There is no Santa.” It could choose to incorporate a message about Ramadan. And it could choose to deny a message disparaging any one religion or religion in general. Just as Congress’s creation of a National Day of Prayer on the first Thursday of May does not compel the legislature to recognize a National Day of Non-Prayer each year, so too the City of Warren could opt to have a holiday display without a Winter Solstice sign.

I know I’m not a lawyer, but I’m not getting it. This isn’t a neutral display celebrating the holidays. This is a pro-Christian diaplay, through and through.

FFRF seems to believe that, too. They’re going to consider asking the entire Sixth Circuit to review, and possibly overrule, the opinion of those three judges (an en banc review). To them, this isn’t a case about religious symbols on government property:

“The Sixth Circuit incorrectly characterized this case as a religious-symbol-on-government-property case, when in reality this case is about free speech,” noted FFRF Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert.

“We are not a Christian nation. Under our secular constitution, city governments should be forbidden to endorse one religion over another, or religion over nonreligion, much less sitting in judgment of what is or isn’t a ‘desecration’ of religion,” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.

If the ruling stands, you can bet other cities are going to use this case to justify their own Nativity Scenes next Christmas. So long as they put some reindeer and candy canes around the display, it’s perfectly fine, says the court, to show the birth of Christ and refuse an atheist display.

That’s a frightening precedent to be set. let’s hope it’s overturned.

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.

  • roz77

    At least in regards to the actual display, the 6th Circuit got it right. If you look at the cases Lynch v. Donnelly or County of Allegheny v. ACLU, you’ll see that it’s pretty well established what is and what is not an unconstitutional (under the Establishment clause) holiday display.

    According to the 6th Circuit opinion, this was the city’s display: “The display includes a range of secular and religious symbols—a lighted tree, reindeer, snowmen, a “Winter Welcome” sign and a nativity scene among them.” Allowing this is entirely consistent with judicial precedent. You may not like it, but that’s not unconstitutional.

    As to the free speech issue, that’s where it gets interesting. I’m not well-versed in any cases regarding that aspect of city holiday displays, so it’ll be interesting to see how that turns out.

    • TheBlackCat13

      “but a court pretty much has to find that the sole point of any state
      action was to promote religion to find it unconstitutional. ”

      Not really. There are there are three things they have to check:

      1. Does it have a valid secular purpose (this is what you mentioned)
      2. Does it have the primary effect of either promoting or inhibiting religion
      3. Does it lead to an excessive government entanglement with religion.

      If ANY of these fail, then it is unconstitutional, not just the first one.

      “That of course makes it very puzzling as to why the President of FFRF would say…”

      Uh, did you miss this part of the quote:

      “We are not a Christian nation. Under our secular constitution, city
      governments should be forbidden to endorse one religion over another, or
      religion over nonreligion, much less sitting in judgment of what is or
      isn’t a ‘desecration’ of religion
      ” (emphasis added)

      How is that not a free speech issue?

      • roz77

        Damnit, I typed up a huge reply but it failed to post, so let me try again.

        I regards to the stuff about the Lemon test, I know that. When I mentioned the Mayor’s comments I was only speaking to the purpose prong of the Lemon and Endorsement tests. I only mean that unless it is unequivocally clear that the only purpose of the action was religious in nature, a court isn’t going to declare the act unconstitutional because of the purpose.

        In regards to the other two prongs of the Lemon test, I’m doubtful that those are violated with this display. Based on judicial precedent, the presence of other secular holiday symbols is pretty darn helpful in declaring the display constitutional.

        In regards to FFRF’s president’s comment, I definitely missed that last part. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • Randomfactor

    ” It could choose to incorporate a message about Ramadan.”

    Could they refuse to incorporate one while keeping the Christian symbols? Because the court just said that was apparently OK.

    Maybe the locals ought to have asked for an Islamic message instead of a secular one.

  • WallofSleep

    “…they are the words of someone trying to explain the common sense risks
    of disparaging faith-based and secular symbols, whether a creche or a
    Santa, alike.”

    Riiight. I somehow doubt that any of these folks would so much as bat an eye at a sign that stated “There is no Santa, no flying reindeer, no Frosty the Snowman”.

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

    Warren is a fucked up place. i know it well.

    it’s one of those rust belt near suburbs that was once a place of “white flight” when Detroit went for black leadership. once, it was prosperous. small factories and auto industry shops that made good money from servicing GM, Ford, etc. a “decent place to live,” middle class, mostly white, mostly christian… the whole “american dream” of white people who fetishize the 50s.

    it’s not pretty today. it’s run down, filled with old people and backwards republicans who think that gunz and jeebus are going to save the economy. most of the good jobs are gone, along with the prosperous times when a man only needed to work a few hours on the line each day to support a family. there are environmental issues in the area too, making life ugly for those who live there. it has a petty local government with plenty of infighting and corruption.

    most people wouldn’t want to live in Warren. there’s little to do today other than shop at a big box store and go to church. what’s “worse,” is the influx of Those People over recent years. Muslims, Arabs, and other not-white-enough peoples. the oldsters in warren look on in horror, as their community changes, and the real Rich people of this part of MI have move far, far away, to North Oakland county and beyond. meth is a problem in this region, too.

  • http://twitter.com/jordan_olsen26 Jordan Olsen

    This is a complicated issue and I’ll have to read the opinion and the precedent. However, keep in mind that just because a court has followed the precedent of the US Supreme Court and/or its Circuit’s precedent, doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do or the right decision constitutionally. Korematsu v. United States (ordering Japanese Americans into internment camps) has never been overturned and was only explicitly abrogated as error by the US Attorney General in 2011. Brown v. Board (segregation) was ruled against precedent as a moral imperative.

    Judicial gains for secular issues will likely come as groundbreaking decisions that defy decades of precedent. Much of the precedent regarding God in government dates back to the era of McCarthyism. More recent decisions by the Supreme court have stated that issues about God are simply ceremonial and hold no longer hold religious significance (In God We Trust, One Nation Under God).

    What we must ask is: Aren’t all religious sayings and practices simply repetitious exercises of a by gone era? Does the average Christian read their Bible? Have they ever? Or do they blindly quote the most Facebooked verses. Do they know why they say the lord’s prayer? Do they know why they only have four gospels instead of the approximately 30 that were written? Do they even know that none of the writers ever met Jesus Christ?

    Sayings like “In God We Trust” only seem to perpetuate the idea that this is a Christian nation and are far from acts of “ceremonial deism”.

  • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

    This line of reasoning is not new. The Chester County commissioners have used this reasoning to keep the Freethought Society’s Tree of Knowledge off of the courthouse lawn in PA for years. In 2012, we might found a legal loophole in their ridiculously poor argument. We called in the Pastafarians! – http://exm.nr/QpcL4o

  • http://www.facebook.com/ichuck7 Charles Chambers

    While I agree with the sign, it is antagonistic and I think it hurts more than helps. It stirs up anger and is the atheist version of the Christian gospel tract.

    • coyotenose

      The point of the sign is to demonstrate why NO religious or antireligious signage should be on government property. It’s purposefully antagonistic for that reason. Christians tend to not get it without a counterexample. Unfortunately, they tend to not get it even with one.

  • DougI

    Hold on, so an Atheist sign is just as secular as reindeer but including it is not necessary because there needs to be secular symbols with a religious one in order to make the religious display legal. So the court said that if someone finds the secular displays upsetting then they can all be removed but nobody has the right to remove the religious displays if they find it upsetting because…?

    On the other hand, the Supreme Court says religious groups have to be allowed in secular schools if there are secular programs. Even if someone finds the religious group horrid they can’t remove the religious group.

    So what the courts are saying is that Christians have special rights in America that nobody can enjoy, regardless of equal protections guaranteed under the 14th Amendment. No doubt if they don’t get special treatment they’ll whine about being persecuted.

    • roz77

      A court is probably going to look at a hypothetical reasonable person to see if a sign might have to be removed for whatever reason. A reasonable person probably isn’t going to be offended by a nativity scene. A reasonable person is probably going to be offended by the sign that FFRF put up. If the FFRF put up a sign that said “Happy Winter Solstice”, the town probably (although I’m not entirely sure) wouldn’t be able to get it taken down.

      • Tom

        it appears you’re also hypothesising that all reasonable people are Christian.

        • roz77

          No, I’m hypothesizing that a reasonable person isn’t going to see a nativity scene surrounded by a bunch of other secular christmas symbols and run screaming about government-imposed religion.

  • Aspieguy

    I think that this is proof that christians simply cannot tolerate any viewpoints that question their beliefs. Who does this resemble? The Taliban.
    Folks, if we lived in the Middle Ages again, christians would be happily burning us at the stake.

  • newavocation

    So why not just include Dicken’s Christmas Story in the bible as a special xmas edition and have the school districts pass them out to their students too? It makes the bible secular now.

  • http://mittenatheist.blogspot.com/ Kari Lynn

    Fouts came into my work a few weeks ago. He’s an ass. Unfortunately, I’m paid to be nice to him, but that doesn’t stop me from being passive aggressive.

  • Tom

    So they enumerate all the secular items separately, but an *entire nativity scene* counts as just one item, and is hence in the minority? How do they get away with such transparent tricks like that? The notion that the nativity bit is somehow diluted by the rest is bullshit anyway.

    • roz77

      Because a nativity scene by itself is clearly celebrating a religious holiday, but a nativity scene, a reindeer, a snowman, santa clause, a Christmas tree, and all the other secular objects are just celebrating Christmas in general. No reasonable person is going to see a nativity scene along with all the other stuff and immediately jump to the conclusion that the city is endorsing christianity.

      • Kengi

        The fact that the only religious symbol being displayed, at a time of year of many holidays and religious celebrations, by the city is a Christian one should be enough for a reasonable person to see it as endorsement of Christianity. How many other religious displays does the city put up throughout the year? ONLY the Christian one? And you don’t see that as endorsement of Christianity?

        • roz77

          They’re celebrating Christmas by putting a bunch of different Christmas symbols. If it was only a nativity scene there would be nothing to detract from the blatant religiousness of the scene. However, when you have a large range of things displayed and most of them secular, courts have set a precedent that that is constitutional. The fact that they don’t have a menorah isn’t damning. It’s just an acknowledgement that a large portion of people there are religious and celebrate christmas.

          ” And you don’t see that as endorsement of Christianity? Simply put – no. I see it as a celebration of christmas using a wide range of symbols.

          • http://twitter.com/JasonOfTerra PhiloKGB

            Is that your legal opinion or your personal one?

            • roz77

              Legal opinion. If you’re interested, look at the cases Lynch v. Donnelly and County of Allegheny v. ACLU. Both concern christmas displays on government property.

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

                many legal opinions on this topic are pure bullshit. sorry, but they are majority religion privilege in action.

                santa is not associated, for the most part, with his ancient pagan roots, in this country. having a jolly reindeer and some cute little present packages and a dreidle does not make it “better” for my tax dollars and government to be endorsing (some) religion(s).

                there are NO shortage of churches in any town in amurka, houses of worship, whatever, and NO ONE is stopping them from being the crazy xmas lady in terms of going whole hog on displays.

                here’s an idea. let’s spend that money, that it costs to light and erect this stuff, on, you know, the poor. the sick. the old. people in need. like Jesus would’ve wanted. you can decorate your tree and church all you like on your own time, and on your own property.

                • roz77

                  “many legal opinions on this topic are pure bullshit. sorry, but they are majority religion privilege in action.”

                  Wow that’s not a loaded opinion devoid of any factual statements at all.

                  “having a jolly reindeer and some cute little present packages and a dreidle does not make it “better” for my tax dollars and government to be endorsing (some) religion(s).”

                  Might not make it better in your mind but case law on the topic sure as hell makes it constitutional. Also I would actually research what it means for a holiday display to endorse religion before you go claiming that one does. The presence of a single religious object doesn’t automatically make a display unconstitutional.

                  “here’s an idea. let’s spend that money, that it costs to light and erect this stuff, on, you know, the poor. the sick. the old. people in need. like Jesus would’ve wanted.”

                  I think that’s a great idea. Unfortunately that doesn’t make wasting money on holiday displays unconstitutional.

              • http://twitter.com/JasonOfTerra PhiloKGB

                So if I were to say that the displays are a fairly obvious attempt by city officials to have Christianity represented and other religions excluded, but that the courts have managed to construe that practice in such a way as to make it *appear* even-handed, you would agree?

                • roz77

                  “So if I were to say that the displays are a fairly obvious attempt by city officials to have Christianity represented and other religions excluded”

                  If it is a fairly obvious attempt, then yea, I wouldn’t agree with it. Problem is, this really can’t be construed as an obvious attempt, at least just by looking at the display. We don’t know if the town refused a menorah or other religious symbols. The displays in Lynch v. Donnelly and County of Allegheny v. ACLU that were allowed were not obvious attempts at pushing christianity.

                  I’m gonna get heat for saying this, but we need to stop immediately jumping to all these conclusions when we see a government display that has some sort of religious symbol in it. The legal issues are a heck of a lot more complex than most people realize, and I’m willing to bet that upwards of 85% of the people commenting on this story haven’t done any legal research on the topic, and are more inclined to just go off the deep end when the see a cross on public property.

                • http://twitter.com/JasonOfTerra PhiloKGB

                  So it’s conceivable that the decision-makers, I dunno, randomly selected the Christian display out of some lineup of major religious holiday iconography? I mean, it’s basically a sure bet that the town decision-makers are Christians, and they chose a Christian display. Why is it not a reasonable conclusion that they’re explicitly privileging Christianity? Does the fact that they might later have permitted a Menorah mean that they didn’t intend initially to have only a Christian display?

                  By the by, Allegheny doesn’t seem to be the one-sided affair that you suggest.The Nativity display did not, in fact, survive. It was a Menorah that ended up passing muster. In any case, while I’m not insensitive to the essentially impossible task of the court to try to identify solid categories within the massively non-objective enterprise that is religion, neither do I think their rulings inherently make sense.
                  ‘Ceremonial deism’ comes immediately to mind.

                • roz77

                  “So it’s conceivable that the decision-makers, I dunno, randomly selected the Christian display out of some lineup of major religious holiday iconography? ”

                  No of course not. I realize that they put the nativity scene out there on purpose, but they also put out a bunch of other secular symbols out there on purpose. That changes things. They are acknowledging the christian tradition of christmas as well as the secular part. The town is allowed to do that.

                  “The Nativity display did not, in fact, survive.”

                  No. Shit. Did you read why? It’s because the nativity scene was all by itself in the courthouse. That is wholly different from this situation. Obviously if Warren had put out only a nativity scene that would be different and I would be very pissed about that, but that’s not what Warren did.

                  ” neither do I think their rulings inherently make sense.”

                  I guess we’ll just agree to disagree then.

                • http://twitter.com/JasonOfTerra PhiloKGB

                  I realize that they put the nativity scene out there on purpose, but they also put out a bunch of other secular symbols out there on purpose. That changes things.

                  What do the secular symbols tell us about their religious motivations? Nothing; they’re supposedly neutral. Sure, they arguably satisfied the legal requirements, but the legal requirements permit the display of one religion’s symbols to the exclusion of all other religions.

                  They are acknowledging the christian tradition of christmas as well as the secular part. The town is allowed to do that.

                  You can assume you’re talking to an adult; you don’t have to use legalisms like “acknowledging.” And, in case I haven’t been clear, I agree that the town is legally safe. My point is that the rulings which permit their display don’t actually make it religiously neutral.

                  Obviously if Warren had put out only a nativity scene that would be different and I would be very pissed about that, but that’s not what Warren did.

                  I guess I’m just not automatically placated by the presence of “secular” symbols as you seem to be. I feel like you’re telling me that my church-attending neighbor’s Bible on his bookshelf amid math texts and Tom Clancy novels isn’t actually indicative of his preferred faith.

                  I guess we’ll just agree to disagree then.

                  You think every SCOTUS ruling dealing with religious expression in the public square is without error? That’s… weird.

      • Tom

        A single religious statement remains that even when surrounded by a bunch of non-statements. And you’ll notice that they’re still trying to use that as a justification for disallowing contrary religious statements, which is ridiculous; if surrounding a nativity with candy canes somehow nullifies it, then that should work for an atheist statement as well, so they should have no objection to hosting one. It’s simple: the fair, legal options are all or none.

        • roz77

          “A single religious statement remains that even when surrounded by a bunch of non-statements.”

          This is true, but just because a part of the overall message is religious doesn’t mean the overall message itself is unconstitutional.

          “And you’ll notice that they’re still trying to use that as a justification for disallowing contrary religious statements, which is ridiculous”

          I definitely agree with this. The crux of the case isn’t about allowing the nativity scene, it’s about not allowing the the Atheist sign. On this point I haven’t done much research. Clearly the state (through public schools) has some sort of control over speech in schools, e.g. “Bong Hits for Jesus”. I’m not sure how far that extends. However, I’m not sure that the state has to either allow all signs or allow no signs. I don’t think it’s as simple as that, especially considering the nature of the atheist sign. I think if the sign just said “Happy Winter Solstice” they wouldn’t be able to disallow it. With a sign that is intentionally derogatory towards a certain group of people, I’m not so sure.

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

            what most atheists and Constitutionalists want is no display at all. our tax dollars are better used spent on things that actually matter. there is no need to provide government property to religious fanatics who insist on these displays for purely political purposes. the state has no need or function when it comes to the celebration of religion, nor should it, according to the Constitution. the only reason we put up our Reason banners is because you freaks can’t be satisfied with lighting up your own homes and churches and want to include government property as well, and that cannot go unanswered. and yeah, mostly, it’s xtians who want this. lots of other believers are much less showy and more modest in their belief. take a hint.

            • roz77

              “what most atheists and Constitutionalists want is no display at all. our tax dollars are better used spent on things that actually matter”

              That’s fine, but that doesn’t mean that the government can’t do what they did in this case.

              “there is no need to provide government property to religious fanatics who insist on these displays for purely political purposes.”

              If you’re that freaked out by the display in this case then you need to get your head checked out.

              “you freaks”

              Assuming much? I’m an atheist and I support the separation of church and state. I also happen to be a law student and I’ve spent the last 4 weeks researching the Establishment clause (I am obviously not claiming to be an expert, but I do have some idea of what I’m talking about) and I realize it’s not as cut and dry as many here think it is or should be.

              “lots of other believers are much less showy and more modest in their belief.”

              That’s great, but that still doesn’t mean that more showy and less modest displays are unconstitutional.

            • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

              …there is no need to provide government property to religious fanatics
              who insist on these displays for purely political purposes.

              I strongly suspect that it’s not only fanatics who support displays such as this. I’ll bet there’s a lot of support among the mainstream public. I’m still opposed to such displays but I think the amount of social privilege accorded to Christianity is such that the average person doesn’t see a nativity scene on public property as even remotely questionable. Hence, we have the widespread pushback and reflexive hatred that non-Christians receive every time these matters are brought forward for legal challenge.

  • Wild Rumpus

    So the Appeals court has basically said that it’s OK to celebrate fictional characters on winter holidays like Santa, Frosty and Jesus. Surely we can use this admission to our advantage. How about a newspaper headline “Appeals Court Admits Jesus As Real As Flying Reindeer”.

  • A3Kr0n

    If seems like our system of government is so broken words are now useless. What do you do when that happens?

  • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

    While i don’t agree with the Court & would love to see the Law changed (or interpreted differently), i think that this is a battle we have to accept as lost. However much we may privately disagree with this ruling, unless we accept it with (somewhat) good grace we lose leverage when we expect the Theists to do the same & let’s face it they almost always seem to lose these cases. I do hope that some lawful way can be found that means we win cases like this one in the future too!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sandy-Daniels/100003001185551 Sandy Daniels

    IT’S FREEDOM OF RELIGION NOT FREEDOM FROM RELIGION DUMB ASS AITHIEST’S GO TO HELL ON YOUR OWN TIME

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

      what excellent spelling you have. what part of our founding laws mandates i must believe in a religion, again? i’m sure you can point it out to me. by the way, are you a muslim? or a christian? or a baptist? or a catholic? and why don’t you honor Zeus? he’s older than all those other religions, and the “father of the gods.”

  • gerry

    For YEEEAAARS I’ve wanted to put up a more honest manger scene with a tiny Santa in the manger instead of a baby Jesus. Maybe now’s the time! (well, not *now*, but at Christmastime.) How could christians find that objectionable?

  • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

    And it could choose to deny a message disparaging any one religion or religion in general.

    This is pretty much the only part of the ruling that I can agree with. I certainly wouldn’t want to see the KKK putting anti-Semitic messages up on Hitler’s birthday or racist messages on Martin Luther King’s birthday. I think a city should be able to institute regulations regarding bigoted speech on public property.

    Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.

    You see the bolded part up there? That’s equivalent to Christians saying that a lack of God in one’s life leads to immorality and criminal behavior. To be blunt, it’s a bigoted message and it makes those who posted the sign look like a bunch of hateful assholes.

    We can’t have it both ways, people. We rightfully expect the religious majority to accept atheists and agnostics as decent, moral people and then denigrate all religious people as having a tendency toward hardened hearts and enslaved minds. If people meet tribal hatred with tribal hatred, we shouldn’t be surprised if a pattern of hatred continues.

    I understand that people are angry because religious supremacism leads people to treat non-believers like shit and I understand the anger over the religious right fucking with our government. Telling the religious that their beliefs are complete and utter shit satisfies a need to lash out. It feels good and it can give one as sense of rhetorical justice having been done. Nevertheless, you can’t fight supremacist ideology with more supremacist ideology. How one can expect a net increase in tribalistic behavior to bring about a more open and understanding society, I just don’t understand.

    Take the classier approach and put up a sign that doesn’t generalize all religions a source of dysfunction. Otherwise, don’t complain when religious people declare that a lack of religion is a source of evil.

  • Matt

    I hate to say it but the law is not on FFRF’s side here. The precedent was set a while back in the Lemon case and has been upheld a few times before this. Basically gov can put up religious stuff on public property if its not just one religion. FFRF needs to ask for that to be overturned, but they won’t because the courts just won’t do that right now


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