Saturday, December 17, 2011

I'll take Separation of Church and State for $200, please, Alex...

Here we go again.  In the past few years, the Loudoun County (VA) Courthouse has been the scene of controversy. A manger scene and a Christmas tree were all that were present since 1937, but since a 2009 courthouse committee decision to allow other ten unattended displays on the grounds, other groups have petitioned to put up religious or non-religious displays of their own.

Notably, atheist and anti-consumer groups have put up displays. The anti-consumer group showed a skeleton Santa--protesting the consumerism in the holidays--that has torn down by angry citizens twice. (According to the article, signs were posted celebrating the winter solstice, but they're not causing the angst, something for which I am very thankful). The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster will also put up a display this weekend.

[NOTE: FSM is a parody religion created in 2005 when the Kansas State Board of Education decided it wanted to add intelligent design to science classes in their state. Google them and check them out; I think they're pretty funny and they make a good point. And they won in Kansas, and then later in Florida.] 

A few years ago, this committee decided to not allow ANY unattended displays, and locals were all up in arms to continue to have them. So the group reached a fair compromise: They allow a certain number of groups to put things up, on a first-come-first-served basis.  

I'm not really sure I understand what all the fuss is about. To me, it's really simple. It is a county courthouse space, and the entire county pays for it. The manger doesn't necessarily represent the entire county's religious beliefs, so it shouldn't be there. Use your own space for your own spiritual front of your home or house of worship, inside your home or car, or at a religious academic institution, for example.

Honestly, if I had my way, it would be no displays at all for any federal, state, county, or municipal buildings or public spaces. And YES, a manger scene IS indeed a religious symbol; just because it has been around for a while doesn't make it "traditional".

Just more controversy to add to the excitement of the holidaze! 

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