Oh, Billo

Washington State has recently granted permits for three displays in its Capitol building. One is a “holiday tree”, the other a nativity scene, and the third a sign from an atheist group which reads as follows:

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.

Okay, fair enough. The state is allowing permits for displays which are privately funded. Assuming there isn’t profanity or pornography involved, there is little reason to deny a group a permit. Washington, being the generally progressive state it is, of course, allowed the display. We can all disagree and do it in harmony, no?

No.

Billo is a mook. Around 1:45, he goes on to say Christmas is a federal holiday honoring Jesus. Actually, Billo, Ganulin v. United States, 532 US 973 (2001) found that Christmas had been so sufficiently secularized that its status as a federal holiday was permissable. In other words, had they found the point of the federal holiday, in its modern form, to endorse Jesus, they would have taken away its holiday status.

Billo next goes on to rhetorically ask if it is necessary that a sign be placed next to the likeness of Martin Luther King Jr for people who disagree with his religious views. There’s a disconnect. We celebrate MLK’s civil rights movements, not his religion. The holiday is to honor his achievements, not his Christianity. Beside that, yes, if one group has a right to obtain a permit for a display on public property, so do other groups. This doesn’t mean they have the right to put their display where they please – the KKK cannot put a sign in front of a bust or portrait or whathaveyou of MLK. Just the same, no group would be allowed to do that.

Asked whether he was bothered by the atheist display next to his Nativity scene, Wesselius said, “I think the Nativity scene will speak for itself.” But he added, “I appreciate freedom of speech and freedom of access. That’s why they’re in there, and hey – you know, that’s great.”

This man, from the original article, has the correct attitude and outlook. We can disagree, but we can do it in harmony.

2 Responses

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