Indiana Town Cowers from Bullying ACLU

Indiana Town Cowers from Bullying ACLU

It is a familiar Christmas story in America: a community adopts a symbol of the season — a Nativity, a tree or something similar — then the city gets threatened. Fearing a costly public battle city officials quickly give in. This time it is Knightstown, Indiana and the symbol is a cross atop a city Christmas tree. The ALCU calls that “establishment of a state religion”.

According to several media reports Knightstown resident Joseph Tompkins argues that the Christian symbol on display in the Knightstown town square violates the First Amendment. The lawsuit is seeking for removal of the cross, monetary damages and declaration that the cross display violates the First Amendment.

Tompkins, and the ACLU, agree that the cross is offensive and “forcing” religion on those who don’t want it. What they want is money and to force EVERYONE in Knightstown to believe as Tompkins believes. In essence, if this case is won by the ACLU Knighstown will be forced to be atheist.

Nobody will see it that way, of course.

The community has responded as you would expect. Crosses are suddenly everywhere.

But this will end as it always ends. The cross comes down. There will be no court case. And yet another sad chapter in misreading the Constitution will be written.

The suit says Tompkins “is forced to come into direct and unwelcome contact” with the cross on top of the tree as he drives through town. This, the suit says, has caused him “irreparable harm,” which can only be remedied by taking the cross down and paying Tompkins monetary damages.

The only “irreparable harm” comes from an elected City council that won’t stand up for itself and for the people it represents. They should counter sue for damages caused by all the publicity and take it to the ACLU. Hit them where they live — in the pocketbook.

It’s the American way.

Atheist Hijacks Festivus to Mock Nativity and Trump

Atheist Hijacks Festivus to Mock Nativity and Trump

There he goes again. Famed anti-everything Chaz Stevens has once again erected a Festivus pole opposite a Nativity scene in Deerfield Beach, Florida.

Normally he has that pole firmly parked up his backside but he drags it out every Christmas, er, Festivus, to air his grievances.

And what grievances they are. He replaces that pole with one serious weed.

He hates religious freedom, you see. He hates people who believe in God, peace, love and hope. And he wants to wrestle control over these things. He won’t stop at banning.

We wrote about him first in 2012, when he pitched a fit as he lost a case to get the Nativity scene off city property in Deerfield Beach.

Deciding to join the fray with the construction of his own “holiday” display, Stevens selected Festivus — an imaginary holiday born of the television show, Seinfeld — and put up a humble pole made of beer cans.

The media just ate it up and gave Stevens all the publicity he wanted. He brought his beer cans back in 2013.

He’s been back every year and each year the media darling gets such a big stage on the likes of CNN that he paints more absurdity into his “protest”.

Last year, just to rankle Christians, his Festivus pole was themed gay, in order to support the LGBT movement. Forget the fact that nobody has a problem with gays celebrating either Christmas or Festivus.

Stevens point was to mock, no matter how absurd his display made his statement.

Christmas is evidently okay with Stevens because he perpetually uses Christmas-themed stuff on his pole, which is technically a violation of the tenets of Festivusim. The pole isn’t supposed to have any decoration because it’s “too distracting”.

This year the barber-pole design includes a tip of the hat — literally — to Donald Trump. Stevens has filed for a permit to burn it down at some point (a modern Yule log?).

Nothing is sacred to Stevens and he resents what is sacred to others.

He tramples and mocks the beliefs of others in order to pursue a political agenda that includes religious suppression, militant atheism, and a host of radical issues that includes embracing Satanism (which makes no sense when one advocates atheism but common sense seems to be far from Stevens’ agenda).

His goal is to erect Festivus poles in all fifty state capitols.

You see, his fight to get a Nativity scene removed in Florida backfired. Instead of removing the scene he was told to put up his own holiday display. He was told to embrace the principle of liberty he wants to deny everyone else: he was told to express his free speech, to exercise the freedom of HIS religion.

And he does that year after year. His religion is mockery, denial and darkness.

With each passing season Stevens showcases his bitter monument to suppressing the ideas of others.

His display, his actions and his words showcase that he’s anti-peace, anti-love, anti-Christ, anti-goodwill.

He wants to take your religion — any religion — and put it in a box where it isn’t seen or isn’t heard.

It won’t be allowed.

He wants, in his circular thinking, to make HIS religion everyone’s religion. He believes in nothing and that is what he wants to impose on everyone.

Think about it. If he is successful in suppressing all religion only HIS religion will be the one acknowledged.

Atheism is a convenient cloak. It is a broad umbrella which is used by political activists to hide behind. Don’t be fooled by this.

Stevens likely is no atheist. We doubt he gives much thought at all to things spiritual, which many true atheists do.

If he did, his actions would not support the attack on those who believe differently than him.

Stevens wants several things in his quest, and little of them have to do with Christmas.

He wants a society where all are held to one standard — his standard. By force.

He wants religion removed from the public discourse entirely.

That means not only no Christmas but also no churches.

And if there are churches he wants them taxed and regulated.

The State decides everything. The State is Omnipotent. He wants devotion only to the State.

He desires a State that engineers everything — from sexuality to medical care to population control to private property ownership.

Chaz Stevens is not about rights. He’s not about beer cans or burning poles to defy Trump. He’s certainly not about Christmas. He’s about force and denial of the human spirit.

The way to combat this is to allow Stevens to put up his pole year after year.

Let the contrast show between his darkness and the light of truth found in Christmas.

And let the media fawn over him. Applaud his right to mock, jeer and pronounce what you believe to be silly, profane and idiotic. By his fruits he will be known.

And if he does burn that pole I say we all show up. Bring marshmallows. Or chestnuts.

He’s using Christmas. He is using atheism. He is using Festivus.

He is even using Satanism (he wanted to pray to Satan in order to stop prayers from being said at civic events and it worked).

Chaz Stevens is a user who will stop at nothing to control your first amendment rights. That’s what his pole is all about.

Florida Family Fights City Hall and Wins

Florida Family Fights City Hall and Wins

They Hyatt family of Plantation, Florida fought off a lawsuit by the city against their Christmas display — and won. The famous display of more than 200,000 Christmas lights has been in and out of the news for several Christmas seasons as the City of Plantation, Florida has tussled with them over traffic and disruption to their neighborhood.

The acrimonious relationship spilled over into the media and soon it became a David-vs-Goliath story as the mayor personally became involved in the dispute.

As local police force and traffic measures were put in place to help deal with the crowds costs escalated for the city. Seeing no recourse, they first fined the Hyatt family and then sued them in court for creating a public nuisance.

Today the court said the Hyatt’s could continue their display — and that the city will just have to deal with it.

The Hyatts have thousands of supporters, both inside and outside of the city limits but none of this patches things up with the neighbors. One neighbor right across the street has moved just to get away from the mess the display creates every December.

According to local media reports the city failed to prove the Hyatts were bothering anyone. They didn’t present a single neighbor to testify against them nor proof the event increased trash or traffic in the area.

Texas County Votes Against Atheist Christmas Display

Texas County Votes Against Atheist Christmas Display

A county in Texas denied a petition from an atheist group who wanted to place their own banner next to a Nativity scene at the county courthouse there at Christmas.

The banner was displayed in the courtroom before discussion started.

It read, from top to bottom, the Facebook symbol, then “/KerrvilleFreeThought, Happy Winter Solstice, At this season of the Winter Solstice, we celebrate the Birth of the Unconquered Sun – the TRUE reason for the season. As Americans, let us also honor the birth of our Bill of Rights, which reminds us there can be no freedom OF religion, without freedom FROM religion in government. Freedom From Religion Foundation, FFRF.org.

Pastor Greg Young of Kerrville asked to speak at the start of the regular meeting as he had a live radio show to broadcast at 11 a.m. and commissioners agreed.

Young said FFRF “preys upon small communities like Kerrville” saying the organization’s founder “has absolute disdain for Christianity.” He told a story to say allowing this one request would lead to multiple unwanted actions in the future, eventually pushing out current beliefs and values.

About 200 people were in the district courtroom, standing room only, by 11:20 a.m. when commissioners moved upstairs. Pollard had about a dozen speaker forms, offered one more chance for those, warned he expected order in the room, then called on Whitsett.

In case attendees hadn’t seen the photo of this banner in the agenda packet, Pollard helped Whitsett unroll and display it; and again said Whitsett asked to display the banner, and didn’t ask to block the Nativity scene.

Whitsett said, “I ask only that this banner be put up, and I would rather the other Manger Scene be put up, too. I think Christmas is a fine time to celebrate our Bill of Rights which was ratified near that season,” adding the FFRF Facebook page invites atheists and agnostics to take part in discussions. “We only want equal treatment,” Whitsett said.

The audience was mostly quiet, with a few audible “Amens” and supporting short comments. Every speaker opposed Whitsett’s request, and was applauded by the crowd.

Pam Wood called FFRF perhaps new to Kerrville but known elsewhere as an anti-religion group. She cited a definition of “free thinkers” by that group, saying they specifically mention Christians and Jews, making their argument for freedom from religion “disingenuous.” “They want a refusal because it suits their beliefs and allows them to go to court.”

Kenny Bledsoe said he’s a church-goer, and if this banner was allowed, it would be a foot in the door to Christianity in general for the FFRF. “They have the right to worship as they please, but I am opposed to putting this banner anywhere in Kerr County.”

Pastor Del Way of Calvary Temple Church said, “The problem is, they claim freedom from religion, but they want to do it on our holiday. I oppose this, especially on the courthouse square. We believe they are trying to take over our religion.” Way said he had more than 1,000 signatures on petitions from his church, and told Whitsett, “Leave us alone. Get your own holiday.”

John Hammack said America has been a nation under God since Columbus arrived; and asked commissioners “not to let some pagan atheist take Christ out of Christmas,” historically set Dec. 25.
Patricia Carson declared her faith in Jesus, and said it’s His birthday that’s celebrated. “If these other people want a special day, they need to get another special day.”

Starting with Buster Baldwin, commissioners said they are representative of citizens in their precincts, and hired to take care of citizens’ business. “That’s why there’s a ‘no’ vote from me,” Baldwin said.

One by one, Tom Moser, Judge Tom Pollard, Jonathan Letz and Bob Reeves said they agreed. Moser suggested the actual winter solstice Dec. 21 might be a better date, and protests from the audience were quickly quieted. Commissioners voted 5-0 to deny Whitsell’s request.

Christmas Tree Arguments Down Under

Christmas Tree Arguments Down Under

Christmas trees are problematic in the southern hemisphere. While much of the world relishes a cold Christmas with snow, sleigh bells and frosted trees warm weather locales celebrate Christmas in the heat of summer. They tend to adopt the iconic traditions of Christmas the best they can — especially with Christmas trees.

Mexico and Brazil have famous larger-than-life Christmas trees made of metal structures housing millions of lights. In Australia they do much the same thing, turning the lighting of the Christmas tree into an event akin to anything done on the 4th of July in America with bbq’s, beach wear and fireworks.

But this has been a summer of discord over the topic of public Christmas trees in Australia. At issue are the thorny topics of cost and looks.

In Hobart they erected a tree that gained international attention for it’s progressive art form. As a tree it looked like anything but a celebration of Christmas. Now there are some calling for it to be replaced.

In the port city of Geelong the controversy over their expensive floating Christmas tree has raged for three seasons now. The massive tree was criticized for its cost even though the city planned huge community lighting and holiday events that drew massive crowds. Sparring political opponents took sides — and the anti-tree crowd has lost. An entire council of politicians lost their jobs over the issue and now embarrassed city officials are left to admit that, doggone it, the tree actually brought a 540% return on investment to the city. Oops.

Look for the Geelong tree to return this year with an all-new expensive star added to the top of the tree that is sure to once again be featured in international media.

Satan Coming to Florida State Capitol this Christmas

Satan Coming to Florida State Capitol this Christmas

The state of Florida has caved on it’s denial of a permit to the New York-based Satanic Temple for a display in the capitol later this month. The state capitol in Florida has been a hot-spot for Christmas controversy for several years as Christians have fought for access for a Nativity scene next to space granted to Atheists for a Festivus pole. Now Lucifer joins the fun.

The Satan Temple, which does NOT claim a belief in Satan, is yet another group that merely agitates in its fight against religious displays on public property. Another group, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a church-state activist group, threatened a lawsuit on behalf of The Satanic Temple.

The group will be displaying images of an angel falling into burning flames, Bible verses and a “Happy Holidays” message.

It is important to understand that these groups are NOT fighting for free speech — they are fighting AGAINST religion. They use the false argument that the mere mention of the free speech of religion constitutes a violation of the establishment clause of the US Constitution.

Thus, allowing them to display alongside a religious display such as a Nativity or a Menorah really gains them nothing. Their ultimate goal is to get everything out of government spaces and to ban religious dialogue from public expression entirely. The more absurd they can be moves them closer to achieving that goal. Now that support for Satanic messaging has been approved it is reasonable to assume their displays will become more extreme.

Fight for Christmas in Marshfield Persists

Fight for Christmas in Marshfield Persists

A simple school calendar change has erupted into a protracted battle. The school board, despite public outcry, changed from “Christmas break” to “Holiday Break” months ago — and the public keeps fighting back.

“There are signs all over town: ‘There’s Still a Christmas,’ ‘Bring Back Christmas.’ There’s some little kids in town picking up on this and wondering if Santa is going to come to their house,” said attorney Dennis Scollins, the Marshfield School Committee’s longest-serving member and one of two who stood up for St. Nick when the board voted 3-2 on Sept. 9 to replace “Christmas” with “holiday” for the Dec. 24 to ?Jan. 2 vacation.

More than 4,245 signatures collected by a pro-Noel petition drive prompted the special meeting at 8 p.m.

Board chairwoman Marti Morrison said she “loves Christmas” but led the charge to scrub the calendar and is now being assailed around town as “the Grinch” because of it.

“Supposedly our whole country is based on religious freedom,” Morrison said. “I certainly appreciate when people feel very strongly about their religious background, but as a School Committee member, my job is to make decisions I believe are in the best interest of our town.”

In a heavily Irish Catholic town, Morrison said, “The world around us looks very different than Marshfield. We want our students to be open to differences.”

Pro-“holiday” voter Carol Shrand, the board’s vice-chair, said, “This is really about using inclusive language that reflects the diversity of faiths here in Marshfield. We take an oath to serve all our students and each and every one of them needs to feel welcome, included and represented.”

Elaine Taylor, whose children are now grown, has been the driving force behind the resurrection of Christmas vacation. Her backers will be hitting the streets today holding signs and playing Christmas carols, as well as lighting up the phone lines, reminding supporters to turn out tonight.

Michigan Shapes Up as Battle Ground Over Nativity Scene

Michigan Shapes Up as Battle Ground Over Nativity Scene

Michigan state officials are considering whether a Christian Nativity scene and a counter-display from a secularist group should join the state Christmas tree on the Capitol lawn this holiday season.

The State Capitol Commission on Monday agreed to contract with the Michigan attorney general’s office for a part-time staff attorney over six months for $37,000. The attorney would advise the commission on various issues, including the request to place a representation of the birth of Jesus at the state Capitol.

Commission member John Truscott said he expects the office will approve the Nativity with the same conditions as demonstrations that are frequently held on the grounds. He declined to say who made the request.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation based in Madison, Wisconsin, said Tuesday it would request a counter-display if the Nativity is approved.

The displays would have to be taken down daily.

Christmas Displays Brings Charges of Harassment

Christmas Displays Brings Charges of Harassment

A Rockland, Massachusetts man says he is being wrongfully bullied by his town because he has a passion for Christmas and displaying blowmolds, Christmas lights and other festive decorations. A disgruntled neighbor, who happens to be the town collector, is reportedly behind the effort to fine the man repeatedly for running a business out of his home in retaliation for the holiday displays he puts up.

Local newspaper The Enterprise shows David Balch in front of his Rockland home and tells the story of his journeys to bring new decor items into his collection. Those pieces he does not need or want he routinely sells to other collectors.

Balch likens his hobby to occasionally holding a yard sale to clear out unwanted items and that it isn’t a business at all.

But those claims have done little to prevent a town zoning enforcement officer from observing Balch’s transactions with those who visit him to purchase unwanted items. Twice Balch has been fined $300 for violating zoning regulations that ban businesses in residential areas.

Balch contends it is all about the neighbor, Judy Hartigan, and has even set up a Facebook page detailing their long ongoing dispute. Additional photos of Balch’s display can be found on the Facebook page. Balch has lived in the home for over a decade and claims Hartigan has complained about his Christmas display many times. He feels he is being harassed by the town and that Hartigan is instigating it.

    Massachusetts School Committee Rejects Community Vote for Christmas

    Massachusetts School Committee Rejects Community Vote for Christmas

    The fight in Norwood, Massachusetts continues. Despite a vote of 76 percent in favor of calling the holiday vacation “Christmas Break” on school calendars the local school committee insists the name change will not happen. The referendum vote was non-binding and at a meeting this week the school committee rejected the call to acknowledge the vote, according to The Blaze.

    Courtney Rau Rogers, chairwoman of the School Committee and one of the three members who have repeatedly voted in favor of winter recess, said she is not budging on her stance. She said the school calendar is a simple document to tell when the school is in session, but it is not designed to promote any religious philosophy.

    “Christmas is still listed on our school calendar,” Rau Rogers said. “It’s a federal holiday. It’s just no longer the name of the break we have at the end of the calendar year,”

    She noted that 26 different languages are spoken in the schools and that the children belong to many different faiths. “To change this language back at this point in time becomes exclusionary and, whether deliberately or not, promotes one particular religious world view over all the others.”

    Rau Rogers also said that with just 18 percent voter turnout, the vote on the nonbinding referendum could hardly be considered overwhelming support for the measure.

    But committee member Paul Samargedlis, who has repeatedly voted in favor of Christmas recess, believes the board is obligated to listen to the people.

    “The way I look at it is simple: No one asked us to change the language in the first place,” he said. “There was no outcry. There was no one saying, ‘Change it.’ Some committee members took it upon themselves. But now the town has spoken pretty strongly in favor of changing it back.”

    There are many Christians who see a shift in language about Christmas — “holiday cards” and “holiday trees” are oft-cited examples — as evidence of a “War on Christmas.” The Norwood School Committee is no stranger to being drawn into that argument. Several years ago, it voted to remove a nativity scene from the lawn of Balch Elementary School in South Norwood.

    “We had a manger on that lawn for 70 to 80 years,” said Helen Abdallah Donohue, a town selectwoman who voted to put the nonbinding referendum on Monday’s ballot and supports returning to the original Christmas language. “We had 700 signatures in support of it and the whole town wanted it, but the School Committee voted against it. We had to give up on it.”

    Theresa McNulty, who has been the driving force behind the effort to persuade the committee to return to the original language, said that those who say the new language is more inclusive are using it as a cover.“They will say they wanted to do it for diversity, and all that kind of talk, but this is just part of the movement in our country to demote Christianity,” she said.

    Clearly this is yet ANOTHER case of a local school authority unfamiliar with the nature of Christmas as recognized by the U.S. Federal government. Christmas was never set up as a religious holiday in the United States. It came about way back in 1870 as an answer to federal workers’ complaints that they did not get the day off like their private sector counterparts did. In establishing the holiday the United States government established Christmas as a secular observance. That many hold it sacred just happens to be a coincidence that causes great confusion to this day.

      Oklahoma Christmas Bill Clears Another Hurdle

      Oklahoma Christmas Bill Clears Another Hurdle

      The state legislature in Oklahoma passed that state’s version of the Merry Christmas Bill allowing Christmas in public schools by a vote of 73-10. The measure now heads to a vote in the state senate.

      If voting in neighboring states is any indication the chances of Oklahoma passing the bill are pretty good. If it does pass it goes into effect on September 1st, just in time for the 2014 holiday season.

      If there will be court challenges to the law expect them in Oklahoma. The state has been a hotbed of Christian controversy since the state erected a monument to the Ten Commandments on capitol grounds claiming the Christian-based laws were a fundamental part of Oklahoma’s founding history. Since that time Oklahoma has endured lawsuits and proposals to remove the monument, even receiving an absurd offer from a Satanic society out of New York to put up a shrine to Satan to counter the monument.

      The Merry Christmas Bill is designed to help public schools avoid costly lawsuits from out of state interests who bring their anti-religion agenda to bear by attacking the mention or acknowledgement of Christmas in public institutions. Schools are a favorite target of the anti-religious forces of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, who most often bankrolls the anti-Christmas efforts.

      Oklahoma’s bill says public schools can display scenes or symbols associated with traditional winter celebrations on school property providing they include more than one religion or one religion and at least one secular symbol.

      Republican Rep. Bobby Cleveland of Norman authored the bill and says the legislation will protect Oklahoma schools from lawsuits over religious-based holiday displays.

      Opponents say such displays are already allowed. A proposal to include Kwanzaa, a celebration that honors African heritage, was tabled.

      Christmas Tree Tax Not a Worry in February

      Christmas Tree Tax Not a Worry in February

      Congress has just approved a massive five-year farm bill once famously part of the War on Christmas due to the inclusion of a Christmas Tree Tax. The bill, sent now to President Obama for his signature, features a program for taxing Christmas trees. The program was used by Fox News and other media outlets as a means of criticizing the Obama administration for being anti-Christmas.

      But the Christmas Tree Tax is something American Christmas tree farmers want. It is a 15 cent per tree tax used to fund marketing programs for American grown trees, similar to the “Got Milk” campaign for American dairy farmers. Growers in Oregon, North Carolina and other places claim the effort is needed to stem losses from Chinese-made artificial Christmas tree that is affecting the real tree market.

      Once launched in November of 2011 the Christmas tree tax quickly became fodder for those claiming a War on Christmas and it dominated the headlines of that season. It returned last summer in the same fashion.

      But now that it is after Christmas and February Fox News isn’t interested in this story as another anti-Christmas measure. In fact, the war on Christmas is all but dead to them outside of the Christmas season.

      True, this Christmas story wasn’t what they were portraying it to be anyway.

      But that didn’t stop them twice in the past of claiming it was an extension of the war on Christmas.

      Michigan Town Fights for Christmas

      Michigan Town Fights for Christmas

      A Michigan town is bucking nationwide trends and renaming their annual winter parade a Christmas parade.

      In Saline, Michigan they held the annual parade since 1975. A decade ago the parade name was changed to the Saline Holiday Parade, sparking plenty of conversation and local debate of political correctness run amok. A compromise of sorts was attempted last fall when the event was billed as the Saline Holiday/Christmas Parade. But folks weren’t buying it.

      After ten long years the Chamber of Commerce has finally caved — and it will be known once again as the Saline Christmas Parade.

      For more information, please see local coverage.

      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.

      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.