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. All you have to do is make a request for your atheist holiday banner to be displayed on the same property and you can’t be denied.
So that’s what the Freedom From Religion Foundation did. They applied for a permit to display their sign, which read, “Keep Saturn in Saturnalia”:
Today, the Freedom From Religion Foundation along with their Triangle Freethought Society chapter in North Carolina announced that they, too, are suing the IRS in a federal lawsuit because of the government agency’s “preferential treatment of churches in applying for and maintaining tax-exempt status.”
“Why should churches be exempt from basic financial reporting requirements? Equally important, why would churches not wish be accountable?” asks Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president. “Having tax-exempt status is a great privilege, and in exchange for that privilege, all other groups must file a detailed report annually to the IRS and the public on how we spend donations.”
“The unfairness of this is so overwhelming,” says FFRF President Emerita Anne Nicol Gaylor. “There are different rules favoring churches.”
For seven years now, the Shenandoah Area Secular Humanists in Virginia have put up a display alongside a Nativity scene on the Warren County courthouse lawn.
Their sign reads:
With reason and compassion as our guide, let us work together to produce a world in which peace, prosperity, freedom, and happiness are shared by all.
That’s not only completely inoffensive; it’s something a religious group could have put up and no one would have batted an eye. There’s also a quotation from John F. Kennedy regarding church/state separation and a declaration of the principles of Secular Humanism underneath it.
A Mobile Nativity Scene is Illegally Parked Outside City Property and Officials Are Letting It Slide
The Ellwood City Municipal Building in Pennsylvania has played host to a couple big church/state controversies since last year. In 2010, officials allowed a Nativity Scene — and nothing else — to be displayed inside the building. The Freedom From Religion Foundation rightfully argued that was illegal and were allowed to put up their own display in 2011. That led to this banner going up alongside displays from other religious faiths:
They weren’t expecting that. [Read more...]