Baby Stealing Season Begins in Olympia

Baby Stealing Season Begins in Olympia

We now declare Baby Stealing Season officially open. Let the carnage begin. Our first report comes from Olympia, Washington where vandals stole the Baby Jesus from a nativity scene located at the state capitol.

Nothing like going for the big stage first.

The scene had been on display less than 24 hours when the man responsible for the display discovered Sunday morning that the Jesus figurine was missing from the manger.

Ron Wesselius told KOMO it’s sad someone would take it before others could enjoy it.

Wesselius has been displaying the Nativity scene every Christmas for about seven years.

Satanists Fume in Florida Over Exclusion

Satanists Fume in Florida Over Exclusion

The Florida state capitol has become the butt of jokes this season after allowing nearly every kind of “religious” display next to the traditional Nativity scene there. A Florida atheist famously erected a Festivus pole there. Even the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has a display there (we’re not kidding). But Satanists are NOT welcome. The state of Florida is putting their foot down.

The Satanic Temple, a group based in New York, submitted its application last week to be included in the Florida capitol parade of ridiculous displays. But it was rejected as “grossly offensive,” says the website Tallahasee.com.

In an email published by the website, a Department said the satanic display featured an image of an angel falling into the flaming pits of Hell, accompanied by a greeting that said, “Happy Holidays from the Satanic Temple” and a bible verse.

The rejection will no doubt cause a Constitutional crisis.

By the way, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster calls itself “pastafarians” and insists that it isn’t anti-religious. Its display in Florida depicted a lump of noodles with two googly eyes.

FFRF Anti-Religion Billboard Torched in NJ

FFRF Anti-Religion Billboard Torched in NJ

The New Jersey town of Pitman is seeing more than a war of words this Christmas. Now it is getting crazy. Vandals took a torch to the anti-religion billboard erected in Pitman.

The billboard proclaims “Keep Saturn in Saturnalia,” a reference to an ancient celebration of the Roman god of agriculture. It’s paid for by the Madison, Wis.-based Freedom from Religion Foundation, an organization that touts any god but the Christian god in their attacks on religion.

The FFRF and militant atheist community in general is so vehemently anti-religion there is open speculation they sent one of their own to vandalize or destroy their own billboard.

DefendChristmas.com has received notification of threats from various parties intending to knock down Christmas trees, vandalize Nativity scenes and destroy pro-Christian billboards in the final days leading up to Christmas.

We receive these threats frequently and rarely do we see much in an organized fashion. Usually the reports come in from scattered locations.

Gay Christmas Lights Dividing Italy

Gay Christmas Lights Dividing Italy

The gay rainbow-flag theme for the Christmas lights on Rome’s main shopping street that were switched on Friday, December 6 have sparked an unholy row in the Eternal City.

City assemblywoman Imma Battaglia said she and mayor Ignazio Marino had decided to send a message with the multi-colored lights, which ripple for a kilometer and a half (0.9 miles) of the bustling Via del Corso.

Battaglia, who also leads a gay rights campaign group, said the lights were intended to be against homophobia following the suicide of a gay teenager in the city.

“That is how we came up with the rainbow flag idea,” said Battaglia, who is from the leftist Sel party, but added that they could also be seen as a peace symbol.

That did not sit well with the opposition in the Italian capital’s assembly, particularly the far-right Fratelli d’Italia (Italian Brothers) party.

“The idea is provocative and ideological. There should be an Italian tri-colour instead,” Fabrizio Ghera, an assemblyman from the party, said earlier.

The Italian flag colours were used in 2011 to mark the 150th anniversary of Italian unification, while the lights were white monochrome for Christmas last year.

The head of the company behind the installation, Laura Rossi International, sought to defuse controversy on Friday, saying the lights would now be dedicated to the late anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.

“This way the message of love, tolerance, unity and sharing will become stronger,” Rossi said.

We wonder if Italy has forgotten that Christmas lights are about Christmas, not political debates.

Navy Removes Nativity after MRFF Complains Again

Navy Removes Nativity after MRFF Complains Again

For the second time this holiday season a US military installation had a display of a Christian nativity moved because of complaints from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

For the record, the base says the display was improperly places due to non-military contractors operating outside the rules. The base also says it has no records of anyone complaining to them from inside the base about the displays:

Both Nativity scenes will be moved to the courtyard of the base chapel, said Kelly Wirfel, a spokeswoman for Capt. John Nettleton, commander of the base in southeastern Cuba. The displays were set up by foreign contractors who manage the two dining facilities and were “not intended to endorse any religion,” Wirfel said in response to concerns raised by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

But somehow MRFF found 18 individuals based at the Guantanamo navel base who were bothered by the display. The MRFF is also claiming there is more to this story than a misplaced nativity.

Mikey Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said the organization received an email from 18 service members who were afraid that any direct appeal to commanders would be ignored and result in retribution.

“They are terrified. Right now, there is a witch hunt going on to find out who did this,” said Weinstein, a former Air Force lawyer who said the troops wanted to remain anonymous.

Eleven of those who complained are Protestant or Roman Catholic and the rest are Muslim, Jewish, agnostic or atheist, he said.

Weinstein said one service member who brought the issue up with a superior officer was told, “We don’t need any troublemakers here. Why don’t you just go over to Subway?”

Guantanamo’s dining choices also include KFC, Starbucks, McDonald’s and Taco Bell, said Weinstein, locations where service members have been told to eat if they are uncomfortable with the Christmas decorations in the galleys.

“The religious climate was made very clear when we received our initial in-processing brief,” the email sent from service members to MRFF said. “One of our senior command team members briefed that their relationship with God was placed higher than even their relationship with their family.”

Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Defense Department spokesman, said concerns such as this are handled on a case-by-case basis by leaders of involved command. Calls to public affairs officers on Guantanamo and at Navy Installations Command were not immediately returned.

Christensen stressed that DoD does not “endorse” any religion.

“We work to ensure that all service members are free to exercise their Constitutional right to practice their religion — in a manner that is respectful of other individuals’ rights to follow their own belief systems; and in ways that are conducive to good order and discipline; and that do not detract from accomplishing the military mission,” he said in a written statement.