How to get public holiday displays banned

Many towns and cities will allow displays on public property around the December holidays. They do this mostly for Christians, but other groups have been taking advantage of things lately. In Olympia this led to a banning of all displays after atheists began adding their signs. Now the same is happening in Palisades Park in Santa Monica:

Nativity scenes and other private winter displays will no longer be allowed in Santa Monica’s Palisades Park after the City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to bar them.

For nearly six decades, private, life-size scenes celebrating Jesus Christ’s birth have been a fixture each December in the park that runs along the coastal bluffs. In recent years, displays have also celebrated the winter solstice and Hanukkah and have promoted atheism.

Last year, after requests for display space exceeded the space allotted, the city held a lottery to allocate slots fairly and legally. Atheists won 18 of the 21 plots. A Jewish group that sets up a menorah won another. The Nativity story that once took 14 displays to tell had to be crammed into two plots.

The reason this happened is because the Christian groups that usually win most of the lottery spots (by virtue of being the most numerical to throw their hat in the ring) had petitioned the city to forever deed them 14 of the spots. The City Council members recognized this was a lawsuit waiting to happen because, as it turns out, Christians aren’t to be given some special privileges under the law. (I hate that word, but I had no choice but to use it here.)

So all it takes to get rid of a set of displays on public property is to allow atheists to play. Do that and everyone is going to pick up their ball and go home. How tolerant.

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One Response

  1. I remember this lottery and I still don’t understand the issue. If atheists didn’t get any slots and Christians got all of them, or vice versa, I would say that’s completely fair. Better luck next lottery.

    I can understand if people aren’t going to play nice the city saying, “you know what, forget it, everyone”.

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