One of my favorite parts of Christmas, however, is a shining little light tucked away in the long, dark, irritating tunnel that is the month leading up to the holiday. (Also, the tunnel plays Christmas music all the time.) That light is the War On Christmas.
Oh, it's like an early present every year. People I suspected of insanity earlier in the year confirm my suspicions and go completely bat-shit over something stupid like "Season's Greetings". Jesus lollerskating Christ, and you people say the liberals are too sensitive.
That said, this year's war had a pretty interesting skirmish. The Washington Legislative Building in Olympia allows for holiday displays, even those of a religious nature. The catch is that they aren't allowed to discriminate, so anyone can put up their little display. The Freedom From Religion foundation decided to do exactly that.
"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 our natural world.
Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."
Oof. That's a little rough. Also, it doesn't rhyme. That probably won't get people to think twice about their beliefs. Touchy as they are, they'll be too busy being offended (though, of course, this sign doesn't even distantly imply that they'll be tortured for all eternity for the crime of guessing wrong). As a PR move for atheists, it's probably not that great. As a catalyst to demonstrate the silliness of allowing these sorts of displays in a public building? Oh, it's pretty damn good.
First came the protests.
"The No. 1 thing is, we want the state of Washington and the governor to represent everyone in the state," said the Rev. Kenneth Hutcherson, the pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond. "But just because you must represent everyone in the state doesn't mean that you put up with intolerance from the people that you represent."
Hey, good call Reverend. That's why we're not going to listen to the protests. The sign stays.
Republican State Representative Jim Dunn, you had something to add?
"It is time to chase out of the house of God all the unbelievers and evildoers," Dunn said.
Great, thanks for the input.
In a stunning display of religious tolerance, the sign was stolen.
The sign, which was at the Legislative Building at 6:30 a.m. PT, was gone by 7:30 a.m., Gaylor said.
The incident will not stifle the group's message, (Freedom From Religion co-founder Annie Laurie) Gaylor said. Before reports of the placard's recovery, she said a temporary sign with the same message would be placed in the building's Rotunda. Gaylor said a note would be attached saying, "Thou shalt not steal."
It didn't last for twelve hours. That's how crazy people get about Christmas. Mark my words, it won't be long until we see signs reading "CHRISTmas!!" to match the "One Nation, UNDER GOD!!" bumper stickers. Hey, did anyone else notice that the first line of that CNN article says the sign criticizes Christianity? That's weird, I don't remember the sign saying anything about Jesus.
The story doesn't end there, though. I wouldn't waste your time. Everyone's favorite IRL-troll Fred Phelps and his crew have decided to get in on the action. Here's what their sign will say:
You'd better watch out, get ready to cry, You'd better go hide, I'm telling you why 'cuz Santa Claus will take you to hell. He is your favorite idol, you worship at his feet, but when you stand before your God He won't help you take the heat. So get this fact straight: you're feeling God's hate, Santa's to blame for the economy's fate, Santa Claus will take you to hell.
Man, that's awesome. Sometimes I'm actually thankful for the Westboro Baptist Church. They illustrate points so well.
Bill Donohue, a crazy bastard who I suspect lures children under bridges and then eats them (and he has yet to prove otherwise), has some especially confusing logic to explain why he should have freedom of speech, but other people shouldn't.
In other words, hate groups have a First Amendment right to freedom of speech, but they have no right to set the time and place. Moreover, freedom of speech is meaningless unless it can prevail unobstructed by attempts to stifle it.
Yes, he really did follow that first sentence with that second one. Yes, that really does completely contradict his first sentence. No one's speech is being violated by the atheist sign, Bill. You still have your display. Atheists just get to say something, too. That's how freedom of speech works - everyone gets it.
But wait! Everyone? Yes, everyone. That means that they actually do have to put up the Festivus pole. That means that they actually do have to put up the Flying Spaghetti Monster display. This has become a complete circus.
And here's the point. This is why secular government is the way to go. This is why you don't allow nativity scenes on public property. You aren't allowed to discriminate. If you let one group do it, you have to let all the groups do it. The result is exactly what you see. This is one-upmanship run amok. Half the participants are laughing their asses off, the other half are losing their minds, and I can only imagine that Washington's poor governor is buried in a deluge of angry letters from people with delusions of relevance.
Wasn't there some sort of holiday coming up or something?