A federal judge has ruled that Santa Monica can block nativity scenes from public areas. The ruling upholds a decision by the city government to ban public religious scenes, ending a tradition of displays going back to 1953.
"The atheists won on this," said William J. Becker Jr., attorney for the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee - referring to the years-long feud between the city's Christians and atheists that led to the ban.
A few years back, the nativity scene in Palisades Park offended atheists, who applied to put up their own godless display next to the Christmas scene. Last year atheists deluged the city with applications for areligious offerings, including a display featuring the "Flying Spaghetti Monster," deity of the "Pastafarian religion."
The city received far more applications than they had room for, so they held a lottery to choose from them, and atheists won 18 of the 21 spaces. A Jewish group won another, and Christian groups only two. The atheist displays were vandalized. In response, this year the city government banned holiday displays on public land.
Atheist groups are delighted with the ruling, which they say preserves the separation of church and state. But religious groups say the decision violates another constitutional right - the right to freedom of speech.
Jefferson and Franklin detested organized religion almost as much as I do. This is not a violation of a constitutional right. Freedom of religion does not mean you get to push it on others. And free speech is not free visuals. You can have a guy on the corner verbally telling everyone what a nativity scene looks like and that would involve free speech. You can't claim nativity scenes are free speech or then public fornication would fall under the same guidelines.
i,m not sure were public fornication falls into this,but i see it as a first amendment/tradition question,especially there is no constitutionality backing for said separation of state and church.i believe in cases of constitutionality the court however misguided relies heavily on precedent cases of which there are few of any substance and there for should go by popular status quo,translated, tell your child to have a happy festivus,unlike the rest of us
Seems to me that they tried to be fair and that Atheists won most of the spaces. It was the Atheists display that got vandalized not the Christians. Why should the the Christians get preferential treatment in the awarding of the displays? The Christians are free to put up their display on their own property or on the 2 spaces that they won in the lottery. Why are people trying to discriminate against the Pastafarians?
I get the point, lol. I know that the flying spaghetti monster is supposed to be an insult or bully tactic to ban public expression of religion. But I also have yet to hear anyone say " I'm sorry Christians for the public nudity paraded through our streets, the excessive violence broadcast on our public televisions, and constant public ridicule of your beliefs." But that's ok. I know that not everyone has a heart for scientifically untestable concepts like, love, compassion, hope, forgiveness........
@hwyangel why should anyone apologize to the Christians. When will you guys apologize for The crusades Witch trials The hiding back of science 1000 years CHILD MOLESTATION Pedophiles Hate crimes Anti black movements Anti woman movements Anti gay movements
@DyingBreed Well me just this about that. I'm not buying that atheists defaced their own scenes that they paid money for just to blame the Christians. I suppose it wasn't the Christians who tried to exterminate the Native Americans either? Could have been any number of people. Maybe someone sold the buffalo repeating rifles.
Ok I'm pro religion...and although the results of that lottery seem suspicious to me....why can Christians and Jews not be happy with holiday displays outside Churches/Synagogues? Also, why do Atheists have to disrespectful? Yes, Christians vandalized atheist displays and that was wrong...but flying spaghetti monster? Really? I mean you can't just put up something about an average person helping other people because it's socially responsible? How many people just on this site say that religion did not create morality...so why ridicule what you don't choose to believe in and I don't know, treat others the way you want to be treated...or maybe that rule DID come from religion?
You accuse the Pastafarians of being disrespectful and make fun of their God just because he's made of spaghetti. You think that they should put up something about helping other people. I say that the Bible thumpers ought to do the same instead of sticking their noses into other people business. It isn't the Pastafarians going around shooting abortion doctors and bombing abortion clinics. The Pastafarians are a peace loving people who have never started a war or tried to impose their religion upon others.
@PNWest Really? No, the Pastafarians just put up a billboard in the middle of a major city ridiculing Christianity and Mormonism....and complain about a religious symbol in the middle of relatively nowhere that is not their own. And Christians DO put up things about doing good things, the only difference is, they believe that doing good is what their creator wants them to do, and not only what they should do as human beings.
@Real4WheelDrv What is the content of this billboard that the Pastafarians have put up? I do not approve of denigrating Christianity. I strongly approve of any Christian (or other) churches that put up things about helping people - that's what Jesus was all about.
If everyone in the community cannot agree, there should be a ban on any type of display. It is really shameful though folks should be more tolerant. Atheist should not be mad that people want to put up a religious display. Likewise if atheist want to put up a display to the "Pastafarian religion" LOL, let them have thier fun too.
According to the article, they did just that, only to have their Pastafarian displays vandalized, likely by Christians but no one knows that for sure. The new city ordinance is mostly in response to the vandalism, not against any particular religion.
@Waynestew - It isn't about pain, it's about alienation. A religious display on public property tends to alienate non-believers and those of other religions. State and local governments in this country should not be endorsing any one religion over another. Anyone is perfectly free to put up religious displays on their own property. That goes for retail stores and shopping malls - those are not public property.
@Denizen_Kate Again I say I don't get it. I am not a Buddhist but if someone wanted to put up a statue of Buddha in a public park I would not take issue with it. I think people do not tend to make an issue out of everything nowadays.
@Waynestew I completely agree. People need to quit being so sensitive. It's the holidays. People need to focus on being thankful for what they have, helping others, and being happy. Regardless of what religion, or non-religion, you are, those should be major components.
Absolutely not!! If you don't like it, don't look at it, but let others who do enjoy it. It's not physically hurting anyone & there are definitely more meaningful issues to dwell on than this. I will be praying for these people.
silly me should have read the whole article first-I do not understand the lottery, why not give every faith/belief a spot, but no more than one spot. I live in a county in Indiana where in 2010 the Freedom from religion came in and tried to get us to take down our nativity scene from the court house-the Court house belongs to the tax payers of Franklin County, not a group from wisconsion. We put up a display with santa and other faiths. All Faiths were welcome to display. The next year, 2011-every business on mainstreet displayed the nativity scene, painted on windows or window displays. The Freedom From Religions response was to rent a billboard against religion as you entered our county from the south-1 to 2 days later, someone cut the sign down-it was a huge billboard sign- I do not live in Santa Monica, therefore it is their business. I live in my county-it is my business. I am PC enough to realize it was not a PC thing to cut down the sign. But I am human enough that I do not think it is up to another state, organization to come to my state, my county and try to control us. I laughed everytime I passed the cut down sign.-But It was how our county felt. To each their own.
Is it against freedom of speech everytime a city doesn't hold a public display lottery? If it's not against freedom of speech all the other days of the year it isn't in this case. If the Christians want their displays up they should do it at their own homes.
Really this is stupid. The nativity scene was not hurting anybody. It's been there for sixty years. I just don't understand why this new generation is so bent on bending the constitution to fight Christians. It's tradition people, do something good like help the homeless or someone hooked on drugs. Focus your energy on someone other than the Christians.
In Portland there is a place called the Grotto which is owned by the Catholic Church that displays biblical sculptures all year round and also has a Festival of Lights every Christmas with a full scale nativity scene and Christmas songs sung in the cathedral. I imagine other cities have similar things where Christians can celebrate as they wish. THAT is freedom of religion. Why not enjoy what you have instead of complaining that you can't have it all?
I'm not a very religious person, but it seems that those who seek to ban nativity scenes and Christmas trees are just petty and bitter. These scenes do not interfere with anyone's rights, nor does it shove religion down their throats. Banning these scenes has less to do with separation of church and state and more to do with having nothing better to do. If these folks were really concerned about the separation of church and state, they'd be rallying to have any religious houses that support specific pols lose their tax-exempt status as well as call for an end to any religious influences to the laws that our country needs to live by.