That anti-Christian constituency that gets an extra jolt at Christmas time is at it again.
The latest entry comes from not-far-away Ellwood City where, according to The Associated Press, the "mayor refused to include a banner from an atheist group that says 'there are no gods' as part of a holiday display that includes a Nativity scene, which has been erected annually on city property for decades."
Seems the display in Ellwood City includes symbols pertaining to Kwanzaa and Hanukkah and secular symbols, including Santa Claus, a snowman and a Christmas tree.
The city added secular symbols this year after the Freedom From Religion Foundation complained last year that what the city was doing amounted to a government endorsement of religion.
Ellwood City Mayor Anthony Court invited the group to contribute something to the display. It mailed a sign that read, "At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."
Court refused to add it, saying "It violates the First Amendment. It's endorsing atheism," adding that the creche "is a statue. It's not a doctrinal statement."
The Wisconsin group's co-president, Laurie Annie Gaylor, disagrees.
"We wrote this as a repudiation of the manger scene," she said. "The manger scene is a doctrinal statement. ... If you don't believe that baby is your lord and savior, according to Christian tradition and hymns sung at this time of year, then you are not saved. Are you trying to tell me that someone could look at that and not think this is about Christianity? The national pastime is denial, but that is carrying denial a little too far, don't you think?"
No, Madame Gaylor, we don't.
Mayor Court has it right.
His approach mirrors our long-held belief that an all-inclusive - rather than all-exclusive - approach to what can be displayed on "public property" would defang the main prong that atheists, agnostics and others rely on to seeking to deny Christians an equal opportunity to espouse their views.
Simply put, we believe the Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer have stood the test of time and can, still today, stand beside and hold their own against the Communist Manifesto, a Wiccan display or somesuch. To believe that Almighty God is somehow less without - or is otherwise magnified by - a seal of approval from "the state" is specious.
The Christmas tradition is rooted in the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The roots of this nation's founding are undeniably linked to Christianity, not because "the government" did or did not endorse it but because the people who made up the country embraced it.
We celebrate Washington's Birthday because of his leadership as a general and our first president. That doesn't mean we endorse slavery; Washington was a slaveholder.
The commemoration of our nation's birth on the 4th of July is not an endorsement of war, which was the path taken and the price paid for independence.
Christians aren't trying to force feed anything to anyone. But, if the Spirt moves them, the Freedom from Religionists are just as welcome as anyone else at the table.
- The (DuBois) Courier-Express.