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The ‘war over Christmas’

Post by Cheryl Tucker on Oct. 30, 2008 at 6:14 pm with No Comments »
October 30, 2008 6:14 pm

The following editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

State opened itself up

to dueling Capitol displays

By allowing one religious display, the state now must accommodate other groups’ expressions of their faith – or lack thereof.

One "silly season" – the political one – is almost over. But the next one – the so-called "war over Christmas" that seems to erupt every year – has already begun.

The battleground:
the state Capitol in Olympia.

Weapons: a nativity scene and a sign erected by an atheist organization.

First shot fired: Olympia-area realty agent Ron Wesselius, who sued to be able to put up a nativity scene honoring the birth of Jesus after Gov. Chris Gregoire lit a Jewish menorah in the Capitol last December. The agreement the state reached with him opened the door to any and all religious groups to mount their own displays so as not to look as if it were endorsing a particular one.

The counterattack: After learning of Wesselius’ plan for a religious display again this year, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation got permission to erect a placard, perhaps with an anti-religious message along the lines of:

"At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only the natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves mind."

Victor: Looks like a draw.

Moral of the story: Unless state officials want to accommodate any and all religions – or in the case of atheists, the lack thereof – they might want to stick to generic "winter holiday" decorations and avoid another salvo in what has become a tiresome annual ritual.

Can’t we just declare a truce in this unseemly war? It is, after all, supposed to be the season of peace and good will to all. Our homes and places of worship are the appropriate places for religious displays. But if government opens the door to one, it must accommodate them all.

And we hear the Satanists have some really interesting holiday rituals.

What's coming
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