In what can only be described as an attempt to manufacture a battle in the fictitious “War on Christmas,” a Scrooge-like city manager decided to pull a nativity scene on public property rather than allow a local Atheist group to hang a sign acknowledging other holidays near it.
The Athiest group in Orange, Texas, requested that they be allowed to hang a “Happy Holidays” banner that was inclusive of other winter celebrations near the nativity scene that was already in place on the courthouse lawn. In an epic temper tantrum, the city manager, Shawn Oubre, announced on Dec. 14th that not only was the request of the Orange County Atheists denied but that the city would be pulling the nativity scene to avoid incursion of any costs from legal battles as well.
Here is the sign in question:
The City made the claim that there is no clear case law regarding whether religious scenes on public property complies with the constitution or not.
According to the Beaumont Enterprise:
This makes it difficult to formulate a policy for Christmas decorations on city property. Based on this and knowing that the Constitution makes a distinction between church and state, the city will be removing the nativity scene to avoid the legal costs associated with defending the placement of the nativity scene and focus on the true meaning of Christmas.
The Orange County Atheists did not threaten legal action against the City, but that didn’t stop the wording of this denial of equal treatment of religions and elitist outburst from intimating that the City was in fact under threat of a lawsuit.
By denying the “Happy Holidays” banner, the city sent a clear message that they would only ever allow Christian symbols to be displayed. Even in their statement, they affirmed that they would rather not have a nativity scene on display than allow a simple inclusive greeting to those that are not Christian or Catholic. Basically, if they are going to have to acknowledge any other religions they will just acknowledge none publicly and grip their butt hurt martyrdom close to their tiny, prune-like, jealous hearts.
The Grinch has nothing on this kind of Christian-centric f*ckery. The “victim culture” of mainstream right-wing fundamentalist Christianity is so keen to find examples of their so-called “War on Christmas” that before anyone could say “boo” the Texas governor Greg Abbott released a statement expressing his opposition to removing the nativity scene:
As the U.S. Supreme Court has continually held, public acknowledgement of our religious heritage is entirely consistent with the Constitution.
The County will be taking a vote to decide if the removal will actually happen and even the Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, has announced that his office is ready to commit resources to defend keeping the nativity scene in place.
No one ever asked for the removal of said nativity, of course, but that isn’t stopping the fundies from gearing up against a fight that isn’t even happening to defend the imaginary supremacy of Christmas. The removal of the Nativity was never a goal for the group, they just wanted to be inclusive to all, as the Orange County Atheists spokesman Joshua Hammer put it:
This was honestly not what we wanted because citizens are going to place blame on us. Now they are going to say it’s our fault because we made the request. Logically, we never asked for anything to be removed.
If the City, County and State Government of Texas cared as much about “the real spirit of Christmas” as they are pretending to, then wishing goodwill to those celebrating other holidays shouldn’t be a problem.
Feature image via Deviant Art, altered