Return of the Nativity

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Perhaps Christmas is a holiday of sorts for some atheists and agnostics, too. Instead of mailing Christmas cards, they merrily send letters to local governments threatening them to tear down holiday displays.

That's what happened in Charleston, S.C. Fire Station 12 in West Ashley erected a Nativity scene near the firehouse, and a single citizen out of the neighborhood's 54,000 population complained that the creche supported Christianity.

So a lawyer from the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation dashed off a letter to Charleston city officials, warning them that the display crossed a rigid line between church and state. The FFRF wanted the creche removed, and last week the city complied.

But then the real majority spoke up, flooding the city with phone calls about how ridiculous it was to dismantle the display.

So on Tuesday the Nativity scene returned to its rightful place - but this time accompanied by other symbols of December holidays, including a Hanukkah menorah and a Kwanzaa kinara candle holder. Charleston's legal experts say that the new display is allowable under federal-court precedent.

But the FFRF still is grumbling about it. "Foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor says that the change is a sham but that the display now appears to fall within the law," the Associated Press reported.

Let's get things straight. These firefighters weren't accosting people on the street, gripping them in headlocks and forcing them to accept Christ as they stare at a Nativity scene. According to firefighters, they merely erected a creche on adjacent private property - with the neighbor's consent.

And that is a linchpin: private property. If the neighbor is OK with it, it can stay. You may not like the candidate on the campaign sign erected in your next-door neighbor's yard. But it's that neighbor's property. So the sign stays.

Apparently Charleston city officials couldn't immediately provide proof to the FFRF that the property in question was indeed private. But now that for the moment things seem to be ironed out, the firefighters should feel free on future Christmases to put that Nativity right back where it was and, heck, maybe even throw in a couple of extra camels.

But the FFRF's toil isn't confined merely to Christmas. "At times," the FFRF writes on its Web site, "it seemed that whenever we pushed one of organized religion's grasping tentacles back behind the state-church wall of separation, two sprouted hydra-like elsewhere."

And you thought your place of worship extended welcoming arms. Nope. To this group, they're "grasping tentacles" to avoid at all costs, and Christmas apparently is scarier than Halloween. Good grief.

It was wrong to force the firefighters to take the Nativity scene down. It would be just as wrong to kick down an atheist's front door and force him to hang a cross on the wall, light a menorah or kneel on a prayer rug.

Our ancestors came to this country - and people immigrate here to this day - to enjoy the freedom of openly expressing their chosen religions, not to have their beliefs shunted aside by blinkered bigots with hair-trigger intolerance.

And if the mere sight of an innocent, passive, serene Nativity scene is enough to make you blow your top - well, maybe the Nativity scene isn't the problem.

Comments (52) Add comment
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sassylassie
455
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sassylassie 12/25/09 - 01:20 am
0
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Beautifully said. Amen.

Beautifully said. Amen.

Riverman1
83808
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Riverman1 12/25/09 - 02:33 am
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It appears the Nativity scene

It appears the Nativity scene has been turned into a Unitarianish one with all religioins represented. But, shoot, that Kwanzaa thing is alright...a week of partying is right up my alley.

robbie1
0
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robbie1 12/25/09 - 04:33 am
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I find it sad when folks get

I find it sad when folks get upset about "Christmas" and complain they are being oppressed. It used to really upset me and I'd get angry. Then I thought about it and by getting angry and confrontational I was missing the message. Now I make sure to smile and say I tell folks, "Merry Christmas:. If they get upset, they'll just have to get over it. I'm keeping my cheer. I do have to admit... The Evil Robbie did send a Christmas card to the ACLU... I know... doing a good thing for the wrong reason is worse than doing nothing... Like I said, it was Evil Robbie. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 12/25/09 - 06:02 am
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If you're oppressed and

If you're oppressed and assaulted by Christmas, you're probably doing something wrong. Merry Christmas to all.

seenitB4
87112
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seenitB4 12/25/09 - 06:15 am
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To the firemen this is their

To the firemen this is their home away from home,,,they have to stay there 24hrs. plus,,,They don't get Christmas day off,,,I say put up whatever you want...I'd like to be on any jury about this..Some work for days without relief when needed..

seenitB4
87112
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seenitB4 12/25/09 - 06:18 am
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Yes I have muuuch history

Yes I have muuuch history with Fire Chiefs....no other comment.

overburdened_taxpayer
117
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overburdened_taxpayer 12/25/09 - 07:07 am
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Why is it that we don't hear

Why is it that we don't hear FFRF or the ACLU fighting against other religions? At least I never hear of it. It seems they are not in a fight against religion but are in a fight against the Christian religion. Anyway, Happy (date recognized) Birthday Jesus and Merry Christmas to all.

overburdened_taxpayer
117
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overburdened_taxpayer 12/25/09 - 07:28 am
0
0
If that is the only kind of

If that is the only kind of evil thing that Evil Robbie does then I like Evil Robbie.

robbie1
0
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robbie1 12/25/09 - 07:40 am
0
0
Its the only evil I will

Its the only evil I will admit to, Taxpayer. Just don't ask my wife. She's got a long list and AC has a 1200 word limit.

overburdened_taxpayer
117
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overburdened_taxpayer 12/25/09 - 08:45 am
0
0
The big difference between

The big difference between those that believe in God and those that don't is simple. If those that believe in God die and find there isn't one we have lost nothing. For those that die not believing in God and find there is, well, they have lost EVERYTHING.

Crazy Irish
0
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Crazy Irish 12/25/09 - 08:50 am
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It's time to begin the

It's time to begin the marginalization of these people an regain the sanity that use to be America.

CobaltGeorge
158529
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CobaltGeorge 12/25/09 - 08:52 am
0
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I think the Editorial Staff

I think the Editorial Staff said it all, Well written and no more debate from me. Period.

55 F-100
1
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55 F-100 12/25/09 - 10:35 am
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It's about time that

It's about time that Christians took a stand and did the right thing.

TrukinRanger
1748
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TrukinRanger 12/25/09 - 11:26 am
0
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I believe that the Fire
Unpublished

I believe that the Fire Department that was made to take down the display was overboard. I'm not really a religious person myself... but I still put up a Christmas tree, lights on the house, mail out Christmas Cards and participate in most of the festivities. Religous or not... it's fun (until the bank account goes empty). It's something that the children look forward to, and I don't mind all the extra time I get off work. Perhaps we should have major festivities with ALL the different religions.. give them all equal attention.

Just me 2
0
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Just me 2 12/25/09 - 11:30 am
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Perfect!

Perfect!

grouse
1635
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grouse 12/25/09 - 11:57 am
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Let's get things straight:
Unpublished

Let's get things straight: firefighters on company time, as government paid officials should not be promoting any religion.

KrispyKremgle
0
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KrispyKremgle 12/25/09 - 12:04 pm
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grouse, what part of "on

grouse, what part of "on private property" didn't make sense to you? Do you want them to go light fires so they are never sitting around the station with spare time on their hands?

grouse
1635
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grouse 12/25/09 - 12:39 pm
0
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Learn to read, Krispy, I
Unpublished

Learn to read, Krispy, I didn't say anything about private property and your question is silly. Just because they have "spare time" doesn't mean they should be pushing any religious agenda.

KrispyKremgle
0
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KrispyKremgle 12/25/09 - 12:50 pm
0
0
The story yesterday clearly

The story yesterday clearly indicated the display was on a neighboring property with the permission of the landowner. Have a blissful Christmas.

gus0426
0
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gus0426 12/25/09 - 12:51 pm
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Grouse --- maybe you should

Grouse --- maybe you should change your name to "grump" instead.

KrispyKremgle
0
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KrispyKremgle 12/25/09 - 12:51 pm
0
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And from this story

And from this story "According to firefighters, they merely erected a creche on adjacent private property - with the neighbor's consent.

And that is a linchpin: private property. If the neighbor is OK with it, it can stay." Be careful, the delete key doesn't work. Your ignorance is preserved.

CobaltGeorge
158529
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CobaltGeorge 12/25/09 - 01:18 pm
0
0
Why does everybody have to

Why does everybody have to bend when ONE person complains about something when there is still a majority of this great nation still believe on God. My time back in the 40's 50's something like this would never have happened. What has happened!

baronvonreich
0
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baronvonreich 12/25/09 - 02:55 pm
0
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ot - these organizations only

ot - these organizations only seem to fight only against Christianity because that is what government workers on government property usually promote. They type of religion is immaterial. It is wrong and unconstitutional. Grouse is correct and they firefighters can not be doing this on government property or on government time. If they erected it on private property during their free time (which I seriously doubt) then so be it. It still doesn't change the fact that throughout history, Christians have been the most oppressive, war-mongering, hypocritical, violent cult to ever walk the Earth.

dani
12
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dani 12/25/09 - 03:47 pm
0
0
Non-Christians (the minority)

Non-Christians (the minority) just don't get it, and might never find the truth.

Tigger_The_Tiger
0
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Tigger_The_Tiger 12/25/09 - 04:16 pm
0
0
You shant hear from grouse

You shant hear from grouse again on this thread, since it would require acknowledging the mistake........and lefties rarely do that. They just run and hide.

Tigger_The_Tiger
0
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Tigger_The_Tiger 12/25/09 - 04:21 pm
0
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Baronvonreich.......read

Baronvonreich.......read this. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. "............ From that, could you tell us what law CONGRESS passed that relates to firefighters or any other public official exercising their religion ANYWHERE? Placing a religious symbol on public grounds (which these firefighters didn't even do) is NOT establishing a religion. Is it requiring anyone to worship their way? NO. And for the record.......per the first Amendment that I quoted, there is NOTHING preventing a STATE from establishing a religion.......just something to think about.

The Knave
24
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The Knave 12/25/09 - 04:53 pm
0
0
RE: (overburdened_taxpayer)

RE: (overburdened_taxpayer) "Why is it that we don't hear FFRF or the ACLU fighting against other religions?" Those organizations do object to the mixing of non-Christian religious paraphernalia and practices with government (i.e., taxpayer funded) facilities and activities. You don't hear about it because the number of instances are minuscule compared with the overbearing presence and influence of some Christian-oriented religious zealots, who seek to impose their belief in fanciful fables, fairy tales, and violent suppression of "minorities," on those who don't buy into their dogma and holy book. This is a perfect segue into the comment: (dani) "Non-Christians (the minority) just don't get it, and might never find the truth." dani is the poster-child for the wisdom of the founders in attempting to firmly separate religious and government activities. dani and his/her ilk are obviously enthusiastic about forcing their belief system, however irrational and zany it may be, upon those who chose not to participate in their folly. dani and his fellow travelers favor a tyranny by the majority, which is the very foundational evil that the founders were trying to discourage & prohibit.

Tigger_The_Tiger
0
Points
Tigger_The_Tiger 12/25/09 - 04:59 pm
0
0
"We hold these truths to be

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." --------- "When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's GOD entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation." ------------ Yeah they really did FIRMLY separate religious and government activities! Especially when they held daily prayers on public grounds. Keep using buzzwords like "ilk" too........it really helps make you look intelligent.

Tigger_The_Tiger
0
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Tigger_The_Tiger 12/25/09 - 05:07 pm
0
0
"Suppose a nation in some

"Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only Law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited... What a paradise would this region be!"-------------John Adams

Tigger_The_Tiger
0
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Tigger_The_Tiger 12/25/09 - 05:08 pm
0
0
"It is the duty of all

"It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge to Providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and to humbly implore His protection and favor."--------------George Washington

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