Raleigh Christmas Parade Float Denounced as Racist

Raliegh, North Carolina holds a Christmas-themed parade each year and this year was no different. However, a local radio show is under fire for creating a float that featured a black man dressed as “The Christmas Fairy” hanging from the back of a tow truck. Local parade watchers and citizens took to Facebook and other social media to denounce the float as racist.

See the story here.

New Jersey Town Hangs Christ in Christmas Banner Again

The small New Jersey community of Pitman is once again getting ready for Christmas with all the traditions from the past. One of those traditions is a large banner spanning a busy street that proclaims “Keep Christ in Christmas”. The banner was targeted by the out-of-state Freedom From Religion Foundation last year.

Local media reports they expect the banner to go up peacefully this year. We’re not holding our breath.

Pat Robertson Calls Atheists Miserable Grinches

Television evangelist Pat Roberston stirred the waters of the War on Christmas by declaring this week that atheists are miserable people bent on destroying Christmas for Christians. “The Grinch is trying to steal our holiday. Atheists don’t like our happiness. They don’t want you to be happy, they want you to be miserable.”

While we admit that many of the stories we cover on DefendChristmas.com showcase atheist organizations opposing various forms of Christmas in public or tied to government entities we do NOT think those organizations are representative of most people without religion or faith. In fact, we know of many, many atheists who love Christmas and support public Christmas display.

It is shameful that both sides have to paint each other with such broad strokes.

For more on this story, see this link.

Fake Christmas Tree Causes Michigan Uproar

In the land of Bronners and a history of epic fights in the war on Christmas Michigan is back in the news on the War on Christmas with a controversy brewing over…a fake Christmas tree?

An upscale Detroit suburb (is there such a place anymore?) spent $30,000 on a new artificial tree festively decorated with more than 20,000 lights. And it is all fake, causing residents and merchants to grumble in social media and to city officials.

See the story here.

Texas Atheist Sends a Star — and a Threat

Henderson County Texas was one of the hotspots in the War on Christmas last year and it appears to be looking to make headlines again. Last year an out-of-state group filed a protest with the county over a nativity scene on public grounds. The group was given a Texas-style welcome for their interference in what most consider a local matter that just happened to get national media coverage. But as Thanksgiving gives way to Christmas later this week all the same parties are back on the same page and Henderson County Texas is about to make news again.

Local atheist-turned-Christian-turned-atheist-again activist Patrick Greene is taking a different approach to the situation this year. Last year, when local Christian groups heard of a family health issue for the Greenes they collected money to help. The gesture so touched Greene that he briefly converted to Christianity before returning to his atheist beliefs. Greene was gracious in receiving the gift. But his feelings about the public Christmas displays in Athens, Texas require him to take a stand and he is trying to do so without the heavy handed tactics employed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation last year.

“I went to Walmart, bought a cardboard box, got some gift wrapping material and made up a sign that said, ‘This star is a gift from two Texas atheists, Merry Christmas,'” he said.

Greene is an atheist from San Antonio. He threatened to sue Henderson County last winter over the nativity scene on its courthouse lawn, which has been displayed each Christmas for more than a decade. But Greene backed off the suit when his health began to fail.

As a sign of Christian goodwill, a church in Athens raised money, and sent Greene hundreds of dollars to help him and his wife through the health scare. Greene said they were genuinely touched by the people’s “generosity and kindness,” so they bought a star for the county’s nativity scene. He sent the star in March.

“We were very appreciative,” he said.

Greene said his sign, which arrived at the office of the Keep Athens Beautiful president on Nov. 20, is meant to undo damage done by other atheists.

Last year, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation also threatened to sue if Henderson County did not remove the nativity display from county property. They also requested what’s called an “equal time” display. Their display would have included a banner with a message reading, “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.”

Henderson County refused both requests.

Greene called the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s sign insulting.

“You don’t just push yourself into some place and insult people while you’re doing it,” he said. “We thought it was arrogant for Freedom From Religion Foundation to insult people, just to make a point.”

He said when he heard the county denied the foundation’s requests, “I told my wife that because of the animosity that grew toward atheists in general, that we should tell people – and make it a point – that atheists are the ones that gave them that star.”

So that’s when he went to Walmart, made his sign, and sent it, with his demand the sign be presented next to the star.

“We can’t risk any more animosity toward atheists by letting people think Christians are the ones that put the nativity scene there, and that Christians were the ones that put the star there,” he said.

Henderson County Attorney Clint Davis said once the county officially reviews Greene’s request, the county judge will have the final say on what to do with the sign.

“Typically, as we just did with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, we have not allowed banners or signs of any kind,” he said. “The decorations we have to not have wordings, and they are simply decorations.”

If the sign and star are not displayed, Greene said he is drawing up a lawsuit that he will likely file against Henderson County this week or next week, claiming the entire Christmas display violates Texas Constitution because it infers the county is endorsing a religion.

“If people are insulted by my sign that said ‘atheist,’ then they have no intention of fostering the Christmas message, because goodwill toward men goes both ways,” Greene said.

Davis disputes Greene’s claims that the nativity scene violates Texas constitution.

“The county’s viewpoint is that we are in complete compliance with all the laws and all the regulations,” he said. “After a year-and-a-half into this, I’ve yet to have anybody from Henderson County that’s contacted me that said, ‘I’ve been personally offended by any display on county property.’ It’s all been from people from the outside. And that’s the frustrating thing when you think you’re doing everything right – everything you’re supposed to do – and you’re still subject to these attacks.”

Keep Athens Beautiful Executive Director Carol Morton said despite the distractions, the nativity scene will begin to be installed next week and the Light Up Athens Committee of Keep Athens Beautiful officially kicks off the Christmas season December 1.

“We’re here to make a beautiful display on the square for all the wonderful people in Henderson County and the city of Athens, so just come and have fun with us,” Morton said.