New York Fire Department is Now Selling “Happy Birthday Jesus” T-Shirts

Earlier this week, we saw New York’s Utica Fire Department Station 4 promoting Christianity with a sign outside the firehouse reading “Happy Birthday Jesus.”

Besides the sign just looking and sounding childish, you could make the argument that it’s an illegal promotion of a single faith. That’s what the Freedom From Religion Foundation said in a letter.

The sign at Fire Station 4 explicitly invokes the name Jesus, an exclusively Christian god, and makes a direct statement in support of that deity… This is precisely the sort of religious endorsement prohibited by the Establishment Clause.

The department could, in theory, put up displays of other groups to remain neutral, but they were better off just removing the sign or handing it off to a church.

So what did the department choose to do?

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A Day After the Nebraska State Capitol Gets a Nativity Scene, an Atheist Sign Becomes Its Neighbor… Temporarily

Late last night, I heard that the Nebraska State Capitol building was home to a Nativity scene:

The small display, a cedar manger about 6 feet across and 4 feet high, was made possible by a Catholic-associated attorneys association that is seeking to place Nativity scenes in state capitols and other public places across the country.

“We want to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas,” said Omaha attorney Christine Delgado, who heads the Omaha branch of the Thomas More Society.

Nebraska State Capitol Administrator Bob Ripley said Thursday that he has not fielded any requests for competing displays, but he added that some people have asked if other religions could erect displays.

“Believe me, if we allow a Christian religion to come in, we’d allow any other religion to come in,” Ripley said. “Short of something in poor taste or illegal.”

Great! Because atheists know how to play this game by now. And wouldn’t you know it, just hours later, Scott Braley, a member of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, had put up an atheist sign:

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“Jesus is the Reason for the Season,” Baptist City Council Member Reminds Jews at Menorah-Lighting Ceremony

The city of Springfield (Massachusetts) held it’s annual menorah-lighting ceremony to mark the first day of Hanukkah this past Tuesday. Among the 150 attendees was Springfield City Councilor Bud Williams.

While Williams is a Baptist, he decided to offer his own reflections on the Jewish holiday:

Jesus is the reason for the season.

Now, you might think this was bizarrely out of place at a celebration for the Jewish Festival of Lights. And you’d be right.

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Surviving the Holidays as an Atheist

Openly Secular has released a helpful guide to surviving the holidays as an atheist. It covers everything from coping with religious family members to whether or not you should even celebrate the occasions:



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Atheists Sue Franklin County (Indiana) Over Nativity Scene on Courthouse Grounds

Last week, I mentioned that there was a Nativity Scene in Brookville, Indiana that has been up for over 50 years, despite warning letters (over the course of several years) from the Freedom From Religion Foundation to take it down.

Here are the only details that matter: The display is owned by the Town of Brookville and sits on the grounds of the Franklin County Courthouse.



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