Atheists Booked Space in the Nebraska Capitol Early, Crowding Out a Nativity Until After Christmas

Atheists will have an assortment of displays in the Nebraska State Capitol building later this month, and because they reserved the space months in advance before anyone else got there, a Catholic group’s Nativity scene won’t go up until after Christmas. And they’re furious.

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Last year, a Nativity scene was put up in the Capitol by the Catholic-affiliated Thomas More Society.

At the time, Capitol Administrator Bob Ripley said very clearly that the Capitol was an open forum and that any and all groups could put up a display as long as they went through the proper channels.

That’s why atheists did everything by the book this year. And they did it early:

a coalition of atheist groups has permission to install four tables and 20 easels in the ground-floor commons area, filling all available space, said Roxanne Smith, the Capitol’s tourism supervisor.

Smith said reservations are made in weeklong blocks. The atheist groups requested the space in August, about a month before the Thomas More Society booked its space.

As a result of getting there first, they will have their displays visible during Christmas week.

Meanwhile, the folks at the Thomas More Society will have to wait their turn. And it’s pissing them off because, dammit, Christians shouldn’t have to play by the rules!

“They have proved our point that all speech is welcome, except Christian,” said Martin Cannon, an attorney with the Thomas More Society in Omaha, which sponsors the Nativity scene. “We would have shared our space with them, but they are not willing to do the same.”

Martin Cannon is a sore loser.

This isn’t a case of shutting out Christian speech. This is a case of Cannon’s group assuming they would automatically have access to the State Capitol. Instead, atheists saw the window of opportunity, signed up for permission to put up their own displays, and will have the space to themselves this Christmas. Good for them.

If the Thomas More Society wanted to put up a Nativity scene so badly, they should have asked earlier. It’s as simple as that.

This also isn’t a matter of sharing. The Thomas More Society doesn’t get to “share” its space because it’s not their space to begin with. This is a matter of following policy.

It’s so typical, isn’t it, that when Christians get treated the same way as everyone else, they see it as prejudice against them? That’s their Persecution Complex in action.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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