So I have a serious question, and I hope I can get a decent amount of peoples' replies on this.
The town I currently live in is extremely religious in its' culture and people.
You'll see religious bumper stickers on almost every car and almost everyone here goes to church on Sundays.
There's more churches than there are grocery stores.

AND there's a nativity scene made out of metal and stone sitting in the middle of the town square. It's a permanent decoration that stays up all year round. Now I don't know if it's public property/government owned, since there's a nativity related scene on the opposite side of it, that I believe to be church property....but it looks like government property, since it's literally on the same plot of land as the City Hall is.

Now here's my question: should I demand they take it down if it is indeed on public property?
Should I try and take legal steps, since religious icons on public property ARE a violation of our first amendment?
It's not something that can be just carried away; the whole square will have to be dug up.
It looks like it's been there a long time.

Let's not forget that my town is full of extremely religious people, and I don't know how far they would take it if this turns into a big fight.
I don't want my family to be hurt or my house to be vandalized.

I'd feel like a coward if I hide and do nothing just because I'm the minority here, but their nativity scene on public property is an attack on my beliefs and an attack on our constitutional law.

Tags: amendment, atheism, first, of, violation

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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!

 

 

Leave it alone. You're just looking for trouble. We don't have to go nuts over every damn religious thing we see. At least *I* don't. Let it go.

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.

This is a great idea if you truly fear retaliation.  I also dont think a nativity scene belongs on public land, but I am also more likely to leave it alone.  I dont find it insulting, just ignorant.  Sometimes just changing the way you look at things can help!
I don't find it any less ignorant or more insulting than you do, but I do find it to be illegal. :)
Thank you all for your opinions.
All well grounded in logic, as always. :D
You might just contact the local chapter of the ACLU.  They may be able to fight it for you while protecting your privacy/safety.

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.

Unless you want to sacrifice  your safety and sanity for your beliefs, I'd contact ACLU as someone else suggested and let them fight the fight.   When you pick a cause like that, you have to decide that you are accepting that you will be very unpopular if not in danger.  That's just the way it goes.   People are crazy.
If you mount the challenge you will have to see it through to the end. If not it will be claimed as a win for their god and could end up being enlarged or decorated and become a bigger eyesore. While going through the process some attention seeking deluded people could become dangerous. Religion does this to some. It would not be worth risking personal or family safety for this. If it was just you maybe, but I don’t think it is worth the effort.

I heard a rumour that there is a few thousand dollars buried somewhere underneath it :)
I would leave it alone and not stir up to much if your town is full of fundies they tend to get radical when confronted. Besides they will take it down after the Holidays.

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