Virginia County Grapples with Christmas Controversy

Debate is stirring in Loudon County, Virginia over a Christmas display.

The Board of Supervisors overturned a committee decision to ban all displays on courthouse property and was then asked to place a Christmas tree on county property. That brought a flood of requests from other groups including atheists and an individual representing an organization that wanted to set up a filthy parody of the “12 Days of Christmas.”

Mat Staver, head of the Liberty Council and dean of the Liberty University Law School, says, “Clearly I think it’s constitutional for the government, whether it’s the courthouse or city hall, to display a nativity scene, Santa Claus, reindeer and a Christmas tree, and by doing so, you don’t open up a forum so that you have to let every other symbol or message on the property.” He further contends that “Christmas is a federal and state holiday, and it’s certainly appropriate for our governmental structures and facilities to acknowledge and honor Christmas, both the secular and clearly the religious aspects of Christmas.”

County supervisors are now posed with the challenge of deciding what can and cannot be allowed according to whether or not the displays meet constitutional tests. There are currently seven individuals or organizations which have applied for use of the courthouse grounds for some form of holiday display. The exhibits range from the traditional nativity scenes and Christmas trees to all-inclusive religious display and an atheistic banner which counters the religious arrangements. It reads, “At This Season of Winter Solstice, May Reason Prevail,” and goes on to suggest that gods, devils, angels, heaven, hell, and religion are myths and superstitions which “harden hearts and enslave minds.”

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