Tip of the hat to the Friendly Atheist for introducing me to this ridiculous story. Leesburg, Virginia is the latest battleground in the war on xmas. As a supporter on the skeptics' side in this war, waged with such awful weapons of mass indoctrination as xmas decorations and the baby FSM in a manger, apparently I have become a terrorist.
Ok, admittedly the flying spaghetti monster is not a WMI. That was going a bit overboard.
The story goes that last year, a ban on all xmas displays was lifted, and holiday displays were opened up to allow all groups equal access to the yard in front of the Loudoun County Courthouse. Last year, the decorations on display had some amusing variety to them.
Skeleton Santa Claus hanging from a cross. A painting featuring the manger birth of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. A traditional Nativity scene. The local Jedi wishing that the Force is with our troops.Naturally, the crucified skeletal Santa was repeatedly vandalized and no criminal reports were filed. And, also naturally, the local board of supervisors stepped up to defend the freedom of expression of their entire constituency...
“[This is] another example of putting fingers in eyes of shoppers and businesses and trying to make a mockery of Christmas holidays — that’s what they’re really about. They’re hell bent on trying to destroy people’s holidays,” said Ken Reid, a supervisor representing the Leesburg district.Oh wait! They didn't. Sorry. :)
Anyway, this year the board decided to fix that whole problem by revoking the permission on unattended displays. Oh, except for a select few: a Christmas tree, nativity scene, Santa and a Menorah. It must be pure coincidence that those particular displays are the only ones they liked in the first place, eh? So, anyone else who wants to put up a display on the courthouse yard has to either put it up for the day and take it back down in the evening, or else keep watch on it all night. For a month.
And so far, not one religious group has valiantly applied for a gratuitous nativity scene, and there's just one display to be found. Thanks to the American Atheists. See, it says 'American'. That means they're patriots or something. I think.
Rick Wingrove, the Virginia director for American Atheists, will have a booth featuring banners with quotations from historical atheists Albert Einstein and John Adams. It will also feature public readings of books such as Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species.” Mr. Wingrove also received a permit for his display in November, and has spent weekends this month minding the booth. He does not anticipate that someone will be on the lawn every day in December and, so far, the display has been taken down each evening.Wingrove also notes the special access and privilege given to religious groups that has been taken away from others. The special preference amounts to gov't promotion of those religious beliefs and a violation of separation of church and state. But credit where it's due, only the American Atheists have stepped up to do, well, much of anything else given the new policy from the board.
“The board made it really onerous for everyone but religious groups to put up displays,” said Mr. Wingrove said. “We will not have the exposure as in the past.”
For my punchline I refer again to Ken Reid, Leesburg district supervisor.
“None of the religious organizations in the county have had any problem with what we’re doing,” he said. “It’s strictly this group of terrorists. They’re fanatics who basically want to stamp out religion in all public life and property.”Wingrove has since defended himself from these scurrilous charges, claiming he is "a veteran, a homeowner, a parent, a taxpayer, a small business owner, and a patriot". Cripes, dude, laying it on a bit thick eh? Good to be thorough I suppose. And the Friendly Atheist rightly points out that the board could simply eliminate all the displays, religious and otherwise, rather than keep trying to carve out special exceptions for their favored god-concepts and such.
Until then, I guess I'm just a terrorist. I already got presents for my folks, my brother and my sweetie, but screw it. Send in Seal Team 666.
Two out of three, a clear majority, they must be right!
Sorry, working on getting out of a bad mood this morning. I should take this maybe just a little bit seriously, but I'm not really. If I get quote-mined by rabid fundamentalists and hauled off by Homeland Security, it's been fun.
I guess I'm just a terrorist.