We often hear about Nativity scenes on government property in the U.S. and the battles that take place over them. But we don’t always hear about similar problems that take place in Puerto Rico.
They follow the same rules of church/state separation and, a couple of days ago, atheists there held a public protest against the Christian-only displays on government property. The Humanistas Seculares de Puerto Rico (HuSe) stood outside the San Juan Judicial Center and said that either all displays must be allowed or none of them can be:
HuSe Board Member Dr. Victor Rivera explained the motivation for the protest in an email (modified for clarity):
Catholic Journalist Paints a Bleak Picture of the Church’s Decline in Popularity, but Knows Just How To Fix It
“… a heretical nun or a traitorous priest or bishop when they see one – not so they can vote them out of office, but so they can pray for them, one, and alert as many other Catholics as possible to their treachery.”
By traitors and heretics, Voris seems to mean people who don’t agree with his fundamentalist views of Catholic doctrine.
But when you narrow the definition of what it means to be a Catholic, guess what you get? Fewer Catholics, that’s what.
So it’s kinda funny to listen to Voris give a talk at the Canadian Christian College in Toronto, and hear him sound the alarm over how Catholics, in countries where they once wielded real power by numbers, are abandoning the pews in droves. He never seems to connect the holier-than-thou activism of hardliners like himself to that steady exodus.
The fun starts at 42:40, when he talks about parish closures.
Atheist Sues Arkansas County and Judge After Courthouse Creche Approved (Again) but Humanist Banner Rejected
This was the scene in front of the Baxter County Courthouse in Mountain Home, Arkansas last year:
It’s a giant Nativity display, with what appears to be Santa Claus and a Christmas tree thrown in for good measure.
By now, we all know the rules for how this works: You can’t *just* promote Christianity with your holiday displays on government property. Either other groups can put up displays or no one gets to. And that’s exactly what the Appignani Humanist Legal Center said to County Judge Mickey Pendergrass in a letter sent last year: