Baxter Bulletin letter to the editor #2: George Lyman.

One beer down (fortunately, I only have four in the fridge).  Now on to George Lyman’s entry in the most pig-ignorant letter to the editor competition.

Sonny, I don’t think anyone is going to use the “kick me” sign on your back. You make more sense in a lot of situations than most people around here. I would like to offer my place for the next placing of the nativity set at Christmas 2014. I live on an acre, on CR 25, have a chain link fence and locked gates. I imagine that the nativity would get more attention in my yard since CR 25 is a thoroughfare through the county, and, everyone seems to think it is the best way to go. Some go too fast, but with the lights and beauty of the scene, maybe they might actually slow down and pay attention.

As you say, there is room for all, but are all asking for room or just wanting to have something that has been around longer than any of us to be removed? Are we, as citizens, going to let one person ruin what has been celebrated longer than any of us can remember? If they don’t believe, then go away and let those of us that do celebrate. Surely, they don’t think Santa and a tree are a separate religion? They are a tradition, but the nativity is true. Besides, as a taxpayer, they can put the nativity on my “tax paid” part of the courthouse lawn.

He’s referring to an editorial by Sonny Garrett who said the Winter Solstice banner should be displayed.  In his editorial, Sonny said:

While the group asks that the nativity scene be removed (which it has been, probably because it’s 10 days past Christmas) there’s implication in the request that the judge allow other groups to place a message on the public property with the nativity scene, too. The position is based on the Constitution and previous court rulings that call for equal access.

Personally, I don’t see the problem with placing a “Happy Winter Solstice” banner on the courthouse lawn as well as the nativity scene. When I heard there had been a request, my first thought was, “So what?” I don’t see it as an attack on religion or Christianity, either. It was just someone wanting to express their version of season’s greetings in a public forum.

So George opens with…

Sonny, I don’t think anyone is going to use the “kick me” sign on your back. You make more sense in a lot of situations than most people around here.

Ok, off to a good start.  No complaints about that.

I would like to offer my place for the next placing of the nativity set at Christmas 2014. I live on an acre, on CR 25, have a chain link fence and locked gates.

Spectacular!  The government can’t be sectarian without breaking the law and here a private citizen wants to move the nativity onto his own private property.  Splendid!  Top hole!  You would not hear a peep from atheists if the law is followed in this way.

But then George keeps going…

As you say, there is room for all, but are all asking for room or just wanting to have something that has been around longer than any of us to be removed?

Either/or.  If other groups are denied, then the Christians must also be denied.  If others are allowed, Christians are allowed.  Equality.  Learn to love it.

You’d know this was what the AHA wanted if you read about what is going.  Then you wouldn’t have to seek information in a letter published publicly in which you state your opinion…about the thing you clearly haven’t read up on.

Are we, as citizens, going to let one person ruin what has been celebrated longer than any of us can remember?

Three things to say here.  First, it doesn’t matter how long a Constitutional violation has gone unreported.  It’s just as wrong today at it was 15 years ago.  That’s how laws operate.  If we found the person who stole my wallet five years ago, rest assured the application of the law would be no different as if it were stolen yesterday.

Second, it’s not one person.  The AHA has said they represent multiple people from the area.  But even if it was one person, so what?  Individuals are protected by the Constitution.  It doesn’t matter if one person or one million report a Constitutional violation, it’s the same violation regardless.

Third, it’s not one person because the precedents that doom the county to losing in court if they elect to be obstinate are the product of several people throughout the ages.  It started with the philosophers and founding fathers who conceived of the first amendment.  It continues through centuries of trials, judges, and legal precedents that led us into today.  None of these are the fault of the people pointing out that County Judge Mickey Pendergrass is trampling all over the Constitution.

And as far as “are we, as citizens, going to let…yadda, yadda, yadda”, yes, you are going to let it happen.  You’re going to let it happen because you can’t stop it.  The only choice you need to make is if you’re going to be good Americans and abide by the Constitution on your own or if Baxter County will be out several thousands of dollars in legal fees.

If they don’t believe, then go away and let those of us that do celebrate.

Yes, because if you’re not allowed exclusive access to government property to proselytize your religion then you won’t be able to celebrate. Snowmen will melt, gifts will vanish, and nobody will be permitted to swap spit under mistletoe if the government isn’t allowed to give space to Christians but not atheists.  Are you even listening to yourself?

You’ll note that nobody is insisting you can’t sing carols, give gifts, or put up a thousand nativity scenes on your own fucking property, so it seems nobody gives the first fuck about you celebrating.  However, we do very much care about government and religion getting entangled.  This is what we have said all along, but Christianity seems to impede people’s ability to listen.

Surely, they don’t think Santa and a tree are a separate religion?

No, we don’t.  So what?  Does that make the baby Jesus not religious?

How else could this logic be applied?  Do you pull over employees at Wal-Mart saying “Excuse me, the jelly is next to the jars of peanut butter, but surely you don’t think jelly is peanut butter?”  How do these people have enough neurons to breathe?

They are a tradition, but the nativity is true. Besides, as a taxpayer, they can put the nativity on my “tax paid” part of the courthouse lawn.

Group ownership doesn’t work that way, genius.

If the nativity is true, let’s see some evidence.  This should be fun.

And what’s more, being traditional doesn’t make something not religious.

Ok, yokel #2 out of the way.  I’m still halfway through beer #1.  I’ll polish it off before I get on to the next letter.