The other day I said to an acquaintance (self righteous Christian), "Hope you had a great Holiday Season", and I was corrected with, "You mean, Merry Christmas." I again said, "No, I meant Happy Holidays." It was a gentle exchange in tonality, but I felt the tension between believer/non-believer.
There is a point in one's life where it seems to become more important to speak one's truth (instead "keeping the peace", regardless whether people agree or not. Knowing how obnoxious and self righteous this group mentality can be, yes, it's a hard call whether to subjugate one's self/family being a dissenting opinion. I really feel for you - I'd probably move to a more diverse community. I wonder what kind of results you would get if you did address it on a civil rights level.
This year I saw a funny Holiday lights display: Santa kneeling over a manger scene. They should have had the Easter Bunny as well. I don't know if people were upset by it, or thought it was cute to incorporate "the Magic of Christmas". This was in a community that has a high concentration of Christians, apparently it wasn't a problem.
Anyway, wanted to share that I agree with you that I would find it offensive and inappropriate on govt property. People should keep their beliefs in their own yard, and let me express mine in my yard as well.
Have a Happy New Year!
It is a mixed bag in my opinion. I make my opinion known, but I try not to be a prick. I have an FSM emblem on my Jeep, and the fact that I am a non-believer is pretty well known, but personally I don't get offended by much. So nativity scenes, while being an eye-sore to experience, and laughable at best, don't really bother me. And I understand the larger meaning of this, but is it really that big of a deal if people want to have a statue to prove their ignorance?
I heard it explained best, since I am a huge nerd, religion is like a EULA (End User License Agreement) for software, in that people don't really read them, they just scroll to the bottom and click "I Accept."
I say pick and choose the fights we decide to have. It might be that one day most people will stop believing in fairy tales, but for now try not to let the ignorance of the masses bother you. Just my opinion here in the deep south. Damn bible belt...
If it turns out that the nativity scene is in fact on public property and you want to do something about it, I'd recommend contacting the Freedom From Religion Foundation. They have a good amount of experience with such matters and can advise you on what can be done, and possibly more importantly to your family's sense of well-being, they can file any needed lawsuits or letters of intent themselves, keeping your name out of it.
I believe that is the case, at any rate, as I seem to recall their acting 'on behalf of a local FFRF member' before, when the member wished to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation. At any rate, talk to the FFRF, you'll at least find out more about your options.
My big irritation would the diversion of public funds towards religious paraphernalia. If the display is already there and does not require any upkeep, I think that I would just let it sit. Although it may genuinely be a violation of church-state separation, I just think that more money would be diverted towards it in the effort to have it removed than if it were to simply remain untouched. I'm not necessarily supporting the religious display itself nor defending the town's right to have such a display; I'm just cheap.