University of Maine Erupts Over Christmas Ban

University of Maine Erupts Over Christmas Ban

An email from a University of Maine supervisor, directing employees to refrain from displaying Christmas or other religious-themed decorations on campus, has sparked outrage on the campus and in the community where the University of Maine is located. This is what the email said:

“Just wanted to remind everyone that Auxiliary Services is not to decorate any public areas with Christmas or any other religious themed decorations. Winter holiday decorations are fine but we need to not display any decoration that could be perceived as religious.

This includes xmas trees, wreaths, xmas presents, candy canes, etc.

What is allowed are winter themes, plain trees without presents underneath, decorative lights, but not on trees, snow flakes, etc.

If you are unsure, best to not use or ask me for clarification.”

The story, first reported by WABI-TV on Wednesday, spread wildly across social media: A Facebook group called Bring Cheer Back to UMaine had more than 600 members as of Thursday.

Dean of Students Robert Dana, in a news release Thursday, said that UMaine did not ban Christmas decorations, or representations of any other holiday.

“We want to be absolutely clear that at the University of Maine, we welcome every faith tradition, and we welcome displays of those faith traditions,” said Dana. “The university is a place where, indeed, there is a great deal of diversity and that’s what we want and expect.

At last report university officials are scratching their heads at why students and citizens see these statements as contradictory and why there is a controversy at all.

Town Thumbs Nose at FFRF

Town Thumbs Nose at FFRF

Once again the FFRF is claiming that an anonymous citizen is complaining to them about their rights being violated when a city puts up a Nativity scene. But this time a city in Indiana is saying, “Oh yeah? Put up or shut up.” Brookville, Indiana received a letter threatening a lawsuit for their Nativity display from the FFRF. They have received a letter every year since 2010 when the FFRF claimed they were contacted by a citizen.

That’s the odd consistency about the Freedom from Religion Foundation. Rarely do these “citizens” they are suing for contact local city councils or authorities about their complaints. It is often anonymously done. The FFRF will send a letter threatening lawsuit and the city, county or school who receives the letter will back down or change. Nobody needs the expense of lawyers.

But there’s a stubborn streak in Brookville.

Wayne Monroe decided to put the scene on a trailer a few years ago and volunteers to set it up every year.

“There was just a group of us at the coffee shop one day that said “well, let’s go build it,” said Monroe who says he’s never had one complaint about it.

“As far as I know, the town is 110% for it,” said Monroe.

Then came the FFRF letters.

“Tell them to take a bill out of their wallet and look on the back of it. It says In God We Trust,” says Monroe.

In response to the controversy, the community has put up nativity scenes all over town including street corners, roofs and even the local grocery store. IGA store manager in Brookville Jim Singer says he hasn’t received any complaints either.

“It’s always been a Christian community and everybody just gets into it and rallies the support when somebody says you can’t do that,” said Singer.

“I don’t understand why people are getting so offended by this. It doesn’t matter what religion you are you should respect everybody,” said Francis Yee, a 16 year Brookville resident.

The FFRF isn’t saying what they are going to do about it. For four years all they have done is send threatening letters. And they have made their case on their website — still dated 2010.

FFRF Takes Out Christ, Community Puts in Jesus

FFRF Takes Out Christ, Community Puts in Jesus

Last week we shared the familiar story of a community under attack by an out-of-state entity threatening a lawsuit because of a religious theme to a city’s Christmas parade. The community of Piedmont, Alabama received a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation that they would sue if the city put on a Christmas parade with the theme “Keep Christ in Christmas”. The city council met and told the FFRF, as many communities have before, they would change the theme.

The new theme? Jesus in the Reason for the Season.

Residents lined Piedmont streets for the hour-long parade, which included Boy Scout troops, the high school marching band, beauty queens and several church floats. Many of the participants held hand-lettered signs that read “Keep Christ in Christmas,” and several spectators carried hand-held poster boards with the same message.

The parade was the most popular ever in the history of Piedmont according it the mayor, Bill Baker, who also indicated that most floats represented the theme boldly.

“This anti-religious group that started all this stuff, I really believe this has backfired on them,” Baker told the media. “What has happened now is the city of Piedmont, great city to live in, great people, has rallied. They have caused our parade to be bigger and better with more emphasis placed on Christianity.”

Local Media Stirs Anti-Christmas Controversy in Redmond

Local Media Stirs Anti-Christmas Controversy in Redmond

The agenda-driven media is alive and well at the local level in Redmond, Washington. A local television station, KOMO, is suggesting that atheists put up their own signs that say “Merry Spaghetti Monster Day” to counter the “It’s Ok to Say Merry Christmas” signs.

What does the reporter mean by “Merry Spaghetti Monster Day”? He’s talking about militant atheists who mock the religious through a character they call the Spaghetti monster. Pastafarians are members of the “Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster”, a fictional, light-hearted attempt to make fun of those in a god who cannot be seen. Those who claim non-belief through Pastafarianism will place colanders on their heads and even some voted into political office have gone so far to wear them while being sworn in.

What’s the problem with suggesting Pastafarians put up signs? Most Pastafarians celebrate Christmas.

The campaign-style signs, which are put up and taken down anonymously every Christmas, are placed in public access areas. KOMO seems to want to make an issue of the fact that the signs are near the city library and city hall. But the mayor says there is nothing illegal about the signs.

Why would the media want to see “Merry Spaghetti Monster Day” signs up? Do you think that some atheist organizations out there haven’t thought of that? Are there not big national organizations that could help with this?

Of course. But these signs are of a different variety. Someone has to handle them. Someone has to put them up and take them down. That would require something more than money. That would require effort. That would require someone who actually cared. That would require someone with some core conviction in the campaign.

And they really aren’t out there, folks. The Merry Spaghetti Monster is an invention of anti-religious activists. There really aren’t regular everyday atheists who are anti-Christmas. In fact, most garden variety atheists celebrate Christmas and gladly say “Merry Christmas”.

For the media to assume that most atheists feel offended by saying “Merry Christmas” to the point of launching a counter campaign to the Merry Christmas sign campaign in Redmond is to label them. That’s wrong. It’s almost as if KOMO wants the controversy.

Disney Under Fire for Dropping Christmas from Mickey’s Party

Disney Under Fire for Dropping Christmas from Mickey’s Party

Disney resorts and theme parks celebrate “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” every holiday season and this year is no exception. But at least one billboard is capturing the interest of Christmas fans who notice something missing: the word Christmas. And they are none too happy about it.

In many places where Disney promotes the event you can find use of the word Christmas, as evidenced by this graphic, which appears in print in most places:

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However, at least one billboard promotes the event this way:

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Disney claims they are performing a marketing test. If that’s true, they will likely get an answer quickly as this story gains national exposure (IF it gains exposure, that is). They have reportedly told one local Orlando Christian church they are testing the campaign because they don’t want to offend non-Christians.

Uh-oh.

We know where this leads. Expect more on this one.