The FFRF threatened to sue — and no one even put up a fight. It is an old and familiar story. The city of Wadena, Minnesota has for years displayed a Nativity in a local park. They even had a lighted archway illuminating the path to the scene.
Last year Wadena resident Tyler Rud brought the issue to the attention of the Wisconsin-based organization Freedom From Religion Foundation. They wrote a letter threatening to sue the city on the basis that they feel the display is unconstitutional and that it violates the separation of Church and State (though there is no “law” they can cite that was broken).
The city council replied to the letter by saying they would take the display down and decide on the matter before Christmas this year. That meeting was this week.
Residents of the city showed up to speak out in support of the display. In fact, not ONE single person spoke out against it. The city council offered several options as a course of action. They spoke out fervently against having to get rid of the display.
Then they simply voted to do so. They opted to sell the display for $25 to a local ministerial association, who has promised to display the Nativity on private property this year.
We have been unable to confirm reports that the residents of Wadena have unloaded and boxed up their firearms, turned over 100% of their paychecks and baptized themselves into the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
FoxNews is reporting a new light fight in the early War on Christmas 2015. In the little town of Hayley, Idaho a man who traditionally erects an epic light display reportedly received a letter from his homeowner’s association telling him that his display would be offensive to non-Christians.
We get behind most of these stories but on this one we smell a rat.
First of all, the man’s display does sound like it would be a problem in just about any neighborhood. In addition to turning night into day with thousands of lights the display of Jeremy Morris includes a 22-voice choir and a live Nativity featuring Dolly the Camel.
Second of all, this is a new resident bound by an agreement with a home owner’s association. Have you ever signed a contract with a home owner’s association? Basically you waive most of your property rights when you do so. Any kind of exterior decorating will fall under the jurisdiction of association. That is just common sense.
“Your event will be offensive to the senses and will interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of your neighbors’ private property rights,” an attorney representing the home owner’s association evidently told the Morris’.
Of course, Morris uses all the usual and very valid arguments of religious freedom.
But we’re skeptical in cases like this. Just as with the Hyatt Extreme Christmas display in Florida we tend to simply take the WWJD approach to these issues and declare that real Christians are good neighbors first.
Dolly the Camel does not seem like a good fit in a typical residential neighborhood.
Talk about Christmas creep: the calendar just turned to September but already the Freedom From Religion Foundation is looking to impose it’s beliefs on everyone by suing a school for performing traditional Christmas carols. According to local media in Elkhart, Indiana the FFRF has claimed someone from the local community complained to them (it is NEVER to a local school board) about the traditional Christmas concert put on by Concord High School. They are threatening to sue on behalf of this individual.
As usual, the complainer is never identified. He or she may not even exist.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter last week to Superintendent John Trout calling the celebration “illegal” and “inappropriate,” and called on the district to ensure religious themes are not included in the 2015 holiday concert. And the organization said it will consider legal action against the district if the scene is repeated this holiday season.
The FFRF does this every year beginning around this time and continuing through the Christmas season. Some school districts immediately change concert plans while others make more of a fuss. It is too early to tell which way school officials at Concord High will respond.
The Christmas concert of Concord High is quite the tradition. It is a two hour program that usually features a mostly secular program of traditional holiday songs. But the climax of the program, usually the last fifteen minutes, features a nativity depiction on stage with songs such as “We Three Kings” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” being performed.
For now, school officials have only responded with this terse statement:
Recently, Concord Community Schools received a letter from the Madison, Wisconsin based Freedom From Religion Foundation questioning an aspect of one of the high school music department’s performances. As in past dealings with Concord Schools, that foundation provided copies of its letter to the local media before school administrators were able to review the letter. It is a long standing practice of Concord Schools to not publicly comment on concerns, valid or invalid, initially raised by students, parents, or patrons to the media instead of first addressing them with school administrators. Rest assured that Concord Schools routinely reviews all of its programs, curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular, to ensure not only compliance with legal and financial standards, but also the educational goals of the school corporation. Consistent with its past practice, Concord Schools will have no further public comment concerning the letter received from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Clearly the battle lines have been drawn. An event takes place like this every year thanks to the FFRF. We’ll see how this one turns out.
Small-town America is under assault from out-of-state threats of lawsuits and it is changing the way locals celebrate Christmas. Grand Haven, Michigan has for more than 50 years placed a giant nativity scene on a prominent local hill every holiday season — without complaint.
But the city received a threat of a lawsuit from a Washington DC activist group called Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Now the city is getting rid of the nativity and closing off the hill from all public displays.
This is not your average nativity scene. Pieces of the collection are as tall as 18-feet and made of porcelain.
An annual Christmas attraction for many local families, the Giant Nativity Scene has other local historical ties, Radtke noted.
“It was manufactured locally by Challenge Porcelain,” he said. “It’s a part of local history, so it is something that we should preserve.”
A local museum has been asked to accept the collection and perhaps work with other local groups in displaying it each year. It won’t go on the hill and the city would not be able to have a part in the tradition.
A for the cost of a threatened lawsuit.
And we note: separation of Church and State is STILL not in the Constitution.
The City of La Jolla, California — a ritzy-titzy suburb of San Diego — may opt for an anti-Christmas parade to be held on December 13th as an alternative to the city’s nearly six decade old Christmas parade, scheduled to be held the week before. Each year protester and anti-faith crusader Howard Singer claims the Christmas parade is not inclusive enough of the overall community and too flush with churches. The new parade will be called the La Jolla Community Parade.
We’ve seen this before — in the city of Omaha, Nebraska. A competing parade to the city’s annual Christmas event was established when protesters claimed it was “too Christian”. The competition between the two events made national media attention. Eventually the two parades merged when it was agreed to keep the word “Christmas” as part of the event.
The City of La Jolla claims organizers of the parade may be presuming too much. Without commenting on the clearly anti-Christian slant of the event the city says organizers are jumping the gun and skipping the process put in place to approve of such events.
Business owner Nancy Warwick has reservations. “We have a lot of street closures in La Jolla and the Christmas Parade is challenging for the businesses because parking is a huge issue. It’s a parade for the community so many businesses, including myself, support it for one business day.” She said it would be “shocking” to her to have her business lose accessibility two Sundays in a row during the peak holiday shopping season.
While the city of La Jolla works out the details you can bet media eyes will be on San Diego come December while they anxiously wait to see who supports the new parade effort in politically correct California.
The biggest question is if the parade at all will feature Christmas. It is expected to draw atheists, Satanists, LGBT activists, environmentalists and politicians.
Stay classy, La Jolla. You’re about to become the next big spectacle in the war on Christmas.