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Friday, December 9, 2011

The War on Christianity Goes on and on and on

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” — First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Every year we hear or read of examples where atheists or liberals attack Christianity and Christmas. Every year it gets worse and worse. The two latest examples of this attack on religion and the Constitution are in Athens, Texas and Santa Monica, California.

Let’s begin with Santa Monica, or as many people in Southern California call it “the People’s Republic of Santa Monica.

“Another day, another nativity scene drama. Atheists are mounting a full-out war on Christmas in Santa Monica, California” — or so say those who support an annual, Christian-theme display.

According to a report in the LookOut News, a local Santa Monica paper:

“For the first time in nearly six decades, there may be no “The Christmas Story” nativity scene in Santa Monica’s Palisades Park. Each year, a giant two-block long display offers visitors 14 nativity scenes that are presented in life-size form. But atheists, who are likely seeking to replace these images, are on the offensive.

This year, non-believers have reportedly vied for the open display spaces and, as a result, they have taken over much of the space that would be used for the nativity scene. The Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee, which organizes the annual nativity scene, isn’t happy about what its members see as an attempt to co-opt Christmas. They’ve apparently been left with three, small spaces.”

“This has been a city tradition for nearly 60 years,” said Hunter Jameson, the committee’s chair. “These new groups applying for permits aren’t even Santa Monica residents, and they are just derogatory to organized religions.”

Jameson believes that these images come from one group of people and it is being reported that they include images of devils. According to The LookOut, he has prepared a response:

Jameson…is not giving up so easily. He feels that City rules have beennativity-scene-620x465 manipulated to prevent “a month long, time-honored tradition supported by 14 Santa Monica-based organizations representing thousands of local residents.”

He has organized a nonprofit group called Santa Monica Nativity Scenes and formed a campaign drive to “Save Our Nativity Scenes,” urging like-minded residents to petition City Council members and the city manager’s office to allocate adequate space for all 14 Nativity scenes in the park next year.”

One man, a Hollywood prop maker named Damon Vix, who applied for a permit last year out of frustration at the “offensive Nativity display,” is displaying an alleged Thomas Jefferson quote this year — “religions are all alike – founded upon fables and mythologies.” Vix was quoted in the LookOut as saying:

“I don’t have a problem with Christmas, if it’s Santa Claus and elves. But there are a lot of people who live in Santa Monica who are not Christians.”

The Santa Monica Daily Press wrote the following about Vix’s 2010 display, which has apparently emboldened other non-believers to join him this year in trying to boot the nativity scene out:

“The Hollywood prop maker is the man behind a display that can be found just south of the nativity scenes that features quotes from the founding fathers about the importance of the separation of church and state. A quote from President Thomas Jefferson is by far the most visible. It reads: “Religions are all alike, founded upon fables and mythologies.” On the back of the display there’s another sign that says: “Happy Solstice,” in recognition of the winter solstice on Dec. 21.

Vix is on a mission. The atheist (who is apparently also an ordained minister) is against promoting religion on public property, so he’s setting out to cause a bit of chaos this year.

“There is a growing secular community in this country that has kept quiet for too long. If they want to display Nativity scenes on church property, that’s fine,” he said. ”I don’t have a problem with Christmas, if it’s Santa Claus and elves, but there are a lot of people who live in Santa Monica who are not Christian.”

This year, more than a dozen permits were submitted for space in the park, so the city has put together a lottery system to allocate them — which means, they were selected at random. This, of course, means that the nativity scene won’t get the space it has traditionally had. With atheists competing for the space, it means that there’s less to be allocated for the massive Christian display.

The city cannot designate space for or against a display based on its content, so a random selection is the only way the city can legally go. ”Though the City can designate particular space… for winter displays and prohibit displays in other park space, it cannot favor one speaker or message over another,” City Attorney Marsha Moutrie explained.

Vix, who doesn’t believe that faith displays belong on public land, thinks that the nativity scene discriminates against non-Christians. In his world, he’s doing a public service. In the eyes’ of others, he’s hampering their right to celebrate the holiday season.

Christian pastors in Henderson County, Texas, are fighting back against atheists who are demanding that a nativity scene located on a courthouse lawn be taken down.

The group behind the complains, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, frequently targets faith and religion projects that are placed on public lands. The group sent a letter to the county that explains how a local resident, who wishes to remain nameless, is offended by the scene. Here is some of the text from the letter (via the Malakoff News):

“It is our information and understanding that a large nativity scene is on display at the Henderson County Courthouse and that it is the only seasonal display on the grounds (see photo enclosed). It is unlawful for the County to maintain, erect, or host this nativity scene, thus singling out, showing preference for, and endorsing one religion. The Supreme Court has ruled it is impermissible to place a nativity scene as the sole focus of a display on government property. [...]

We request that, as Henderson County Commissioners, you take immediate action to ensure that no religious displays are on city or county property. Please inform us in writing of the steps you are taking to remedy this First Amendment violation so that we may notify our complainant.”

That Christianity was being promoted, endorsed by local government and this made them feel unwelcomed,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, the co-founder of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. “It sends a message of intimidation and exclusion to non-Christians and non-believers this time of year.”

“Anybody walking by that is going to say, ‘Hmmm. This is a Christian government building. I’m not welcome here if I’m not Christian,’” she continued.

But rather than bow down to the atheists’ demands, the pastors are planning to defend their display. “It’s time that Americans stand up and take America back for the faith that we were founded upon,” said Nathan Lorick, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Malakoff, Texas. “We’re going to stand up and fight for this.”

To combat the group’s demands, the pastors are assembling a rally in support of the nativity scene. And it’s not just pastors getting who are on the defense. Henderson County Commissioner Joe Hall calls Gaylor‘s and the FFRF’s attacks “stupid” and he pledges to fight them “until hell freezes over.” According to hall, the nativity has been up for 35 years, without incident.

Tracie Lynda, a local resident, doesn’t see what the big deal is. “What is so offensive about a baby in a manger?,” she asked. “If it does not mean anything to you, why does it offend you?”

First of all I am offended by the signs and proclamations of atheists, pro-abortion advocates, homosexuals, and the occupy Wall Street crowd. I realize they have a right under the First Amendment to display these signs and make their proclamations. I just ignore them. I don’t read the New York Times either.

This BS about freedom from religion is nonsense. The First Amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Just because a pinhead court took the letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists telling them not to worry about the government telling them what religion would be recognized. Jefferson said in his letter:

“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.” his doctrine, known as the "wall of separation" or "strict separationism," would later become highly influential in 20th century Supreme Court understandings of the relationship between church and state. As a result, the relevance of this letter is a subject of heated debate, with scholars such as Robert Boston emphasizing its importance, and others such as Mark David Hall arguing that the letter was a historical outlier.

During his lifetime, Jefferson could not have predicted that the language in his Danbury Baptist letter would have endured as long as some of his other arresting phrases. The letter was published in a Massachusetts newspaper a month after Jefferson wrote it and then was more or less forgotten for half a century. It was put back into circulation in an edition of Jefferson's writings, published in 1853, and reprinted in 1868 and 1871.

The Supreme Court turned the spotlight on the "wall of separation" phrase in 1878 by declaring in Reynolds v. United States "that it may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the First Amendment."

The high court took the same position in widely publicized decisions in 1947 and 1948, asserting in the latter case, McCollum v. Board of Education, that, "in the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between church and state.'" Since McCollum forbade religious instruction in public schools, it appeared that the court had used Jefferson's "wall" metaphor as a sword to sever religion from public life, a result that was and still is intolerable to many Americans.

Some Supreme Court justices did not like what their colleagues had done. In 1962, Justice Potter Stewart complained that jurisprudence was not "aided by the uncritical invocation of metaphors like the 'wall of separation,' a phrase nowhere to be found in the Constitution." Addressing the issue in 1985, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist lamented that "unfortunately the Establishment Clause has been expressly freighted with Jefferson's misleading metaphor for nearly 40 years." Defenders of the metaphor responded immediately: "despite its detractors and despite its leaks, cracks and its archways, the wall ranks as one of the mightiest monuments of constitutional government in this nation."

Jefferson letters, one published and the other his final draft, have been certified by the FBI and are currently in the Library of Congress.

That Jefferson consulted two New England politicians about his messages indicated that he regarded his reply to the Danbury Baptists as a political letter, not as a dispassionate theoretical pronouncement on the relations between government and religion. His letter, he told Lincoln in his New Year's Day note, was meant to gratify public opinion in Republican strongholds like Virginia, "being seasoned to the Southern taste only."

For years this letter has been used by politicians and courts to promote the so called “Wall of Separation”, something that does not exist in the Constitution. Under the dictum of Stare Decisis these erroneous rulings by the courts have been used over and over again by federal and state courts to take away the rights of Christians (and in some cases Jews) to promote their religious beliefs in the public square and some cases on private property where a Christian symbol such as a cross can be seen from a public highway.

We now have these minimalist special interest groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the ACLU running about county looking for cities to sue over some irate citizen’s complaint that a cross, nativity scene, the Ten Commandments or a Christmas tree or carol offends them. I suggest they go home a take a laxative, they need one.

These anti-religious groups, usually, if not always, based on progressive, liberal ideology, and financed with substantial funds from like-minded fools run in and file their suits. In almost all of these cases the cities or school districts capitulate as they do not have the funds to fight the case and the George Soros funded atheists win. They win not on their Constitutional arguments, but on the force and coercion of the dollar bill. In almost all cases the city manager, mayor, or school superintendent wet their pants when the ACLU or FFRF knocks on the door and ignores the wishes and rights of the vast majority of the community. If the defendants due decide the fight the plaintiffs have already court and judge shopped to pursue their suit.

Jefferson’s “political” letter has gone a long way to take away the rights of Christians in this country. I do believe if her were alive today and saw the damage his letter has done he would withdraw it. The letter has no force in constitutional law, it was just his opinion at the time.

It’s time the people of this country fight back against these anti-religious groups by finding organizations like the Alliance Defense Fund and donate a couple of bucks to help them take on the ACLU and FFRF. We need to turn this nation around in more ways than just the economy. We need to get back in tune with God.

Perhaps Mr. Vix would like to change the name of Santa Monica to just plain Monica. After all Santa Monica translates to Saint Monica, a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. I bet every time he utters the name of the city it ticks him off.

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