How long will it take the FFRF to send a letter threatening a lawsuit to Fertile, ND? The tiny town of 800 had a small Christmas controversy this past week when a cook in a school cafeteria decided to put up a Nativity scene. The school superintendent ordered the display removed, folks protested, so he relented after the local school board investigated and allowed the display back as long as other religious displays could be included if they wanted to be.
None apparently did so the Nativity, to our knowledge, stands alone.
Head cook Jodi Petry set it up in the cafeteria. Asked about her action, Petry simply said, â€œI am a Christian. Itâ€™s about Christmas.â€
Many in Fertile agree with Petry.
â€œI think itâ€™s perfectly fine,â€ said Fertile resident Barbara Miller. â€œItâ€™s for the children, they enjoy it. Now if it was adults they could make up their own minds but for children the decorations are part of the holiday.â€
â€œI think that itâ€™s perfectly fine to have religious things up in the school,â€ said Carter Burke, a junior at the high school. â€œI mean I donâ€™t really think it offends a whole lot of people. Weâ€™re a really small community, most of us know each other and know what religion we are.â€
â€œChristmas is a special time and some of these children donâ€™t get that at home,â€ said Darlene Gaft, a Fertile resident and graduate of the high school.
â€œI feel that God has been taken out of the schools so much and Christmas is a very important time of the year and I just feel like â€˜Whatâ€™s wrong with decorations in the school?â€™â€ she added.
â€œIâ€™ve got a kindergardener this year and I went to the school 20 years ago,â€ said Jeff Gullickson. â€œIâ€™m sure when I went to school there was all kinds of things that wouldnâ€™t be allowed nowadays and I donâ€™t see the big deal.â€
Whether the Fertile schoolâ€™s nativity stays or goes students wonâ€™t have far to go to see another one. There is one set up outside Concordia Lutheran Church just across the street from the school.
Will the FFRF go after the school? Or is the tiny town of Fertile too small for their brand of justice, er, media attention?