CHRISTMAS CENSORS STRIKE AGAIN
Catalyst January/February Issue 2010
Leading up to Christmas, we issued a news release noting how the anti-Christmas band was revving its engine.
· The menorah in a Nashville park was okay by the ACLU, but the crèche in Clarksville, Tennessee was not. Why? The City of Clarksville paid $200 for the animals used in the nativity scene.
· A woman from Manchester, Massachusetts was told she could not have a live nativity scene outside her church. Why? The church sits on the town common.
· A life-sized crèche had adorned the Chambersburg, Pennsylvania public square for about 50 years, but there wasn’t one this past Christmas: the decision to censor it was made after Carl Silverman decided he wanted a sign, “Celebrating Solstice—Honoring Atheist War Veterans” to accompany the manger.
· Leesburg, Virginia traditionally displayed a crèche, menorah and Christmas tree, but this year they were banned. Eventually county officials overturned the ban.
· Inside the Capitol in Olympia, Washington, all holiday displays were nixed.
· A nativity scene had been on display on the grounds of the Manitowoc County Courthouse in Wisconsin since World War II, but this year there was none.
Our favorite, though, hailed from West Chester, Pennsylvania. Under new rules, four displays were allowed in front of the Court House for a limited period of time, provided they were “content-neutral” in terms of their message. But symbols—religious or secular—are by their very nature content-specific, thus making the request positively oxymoronic.
But there was some good news to report. In Patchogue, Long Island, they reverted back to calling their Christmas Boat Parade exactly that, shunning last year’s choice of a Holiday Boat Parade. And because the president hired Janet Napolitano, there was a Christmas tree in Arizona’s Capitol once again, not a generic holiday tree. Kudos were especially in place for Colorado’s Larimer County Sheriff, Jim Alderden, who not only allowed crèches and menorahs, he sold shirts reading, “Lighten Up. Just say ‘Merry Christmas’” and “Wishing You a Loud and Politically Incorrect ‘Merry Christmas.’”