A 55-foot Christmas tree towers above the revelers outside the Church of the Nativity
During this Christmas Season of family, sharing, and hope, in this time of sorrowful tidings and no leadership in the capitol, remember the purpose celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Light defeats darkness. Ignorance comes from darkness; the realm of atheists is bleak.
For God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through him. He that believeth on him is not judged: he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his works should be reproved. But he that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, that they have been wrought in God.
CHRISTIANS STAGE STUNNING ‘NATIVITY FLASH MOB’ INSIDE CA MALL IN RESPONSE TO ATHEIST-LED ‘WAR ON CHRISTMAS’
Santa Monica forced to CANCEL Christmas after atheist campaigner launches protest against town’s holiday decorations
Hitting back: Last year Damon Vix put up a poster next to the display decrying religions as ‘myths’
CHRISTIANS FIND ‘CREATIVE’ LOOPHOLE IN ATHEIST-INSPIRED SANTA MONICA NATIVITY BAN & SECURE PERMIT FOR ‘LIVE’ DISPLAY
Santa Monica may bar Nativity scenes in public areas, judge rules
In a closely watched case, a federal judge denies a church coalition’s request that the court require the city to allow Nativity scenes in Palisades Park this year, as it has for nearly 60 years.
Vikki Hill of Santa Monica protests in front of an atheist group’s display in December 2011 where Nativity scenes used to be at Palisades Park along Ocean Avenue. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
By Martha Groves and Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times
November 19, 2012, 8:49 p.m.
Santa Monica may bar Nativity and other seasonal displays in public spaces, a federal judge tentatively ruled Monday.
In a case that has drawn national attention, Judge Audrey B. Collins of U.S. District Court in Los Angeles denied a church coalition’s request that the court require the city to allow Nativity scenes to be displayed in Palisades Park this year, as it has for nearly 60 years.
“The atheists won on this,” said William J. Becker Jr., an attorney for the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee, a coalition of 13 churches and the Santa Monica Police Officers Assn. Standing in front of TV news cameras outside the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building, Becker predicted that the court on Dec. 3 would also grant the city’s request that his group’s lawsuit be dismissed.
That likely outcome, he said, marked “the erosion of 1st Amendment liberty for religious speech.” He compared the city to Pontius Pilate, the judge at Jesus’ trial, saying: “It’s a shame about Christmas. Pontius Pilate was exactly the same kind of administrator.”
Atheist groups praised the judge’s ruling as an example of the upholding of the separation of church and state.
“Religion is innately divisive and just doesn’t belong in public parks,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis. “There are tax-exempt churches on every other corner. Why isn’t that good enough?”
Charles C. Haynes, senior scholar at the First Amendment Center and director of the Newseum’s Religious Freedom Education Project in Washington, called Collins’ decision “consistent with other rulings.”
“It’s all or nothing in these cases,” he said. “If the government opens up and creates a limited forum, it can’t practice viewpoint discrimination. But it can say, well, we’re not going to have any…. There has to be a level playing field in the public sphere.”
Since 1953, the coalition each December has erected a tableau of scenes depicting the birth of Jesus Christ.
A few years ago, the tradition offended Damon Vix, an atheist, who applied to put up a booth next to the Nativity story. Last year, he encouraged other atheists to flood the city with applications, including a satirical homage to the “Pastafarian religion” featuring a representation of the “Flying Spaghetti Monster.”
To keep things fair and legal, the city held a lottery to parcel out slots. Atheists won 18 of 21 spaces. A Jewish group won another. The Nativity story that traditionally took up 14 displays was jammed into two.
A flap ensued. Vandals ripped down a banner the Freedom From Religion Foundation had hung at the park. The banner began: “At this season of the winter solstice, may reason prevail.”
Last June, concerned that the lottery would become increasingly costly because of the rising tensions, the City Council voted to ban all private, unattended displays in city parks. The city has cited other reasons for the prohibition, including damage to the park’s turf and some residents’ statements that they would prefer unobstructed ocean views to seasonal displays.
Council members and the city attorney’s office said groups wishing to celebrate the Nativity, the winter solstice or Hanukkah had alternatives. They could, for example, erect displays on private property or station a representative at any display on public ground.
In October, the coalition filed suit, seeking to restore the tradition. At the time, Becker said it was “not the government’s function to avoid controversy at the cost of fundamental rights.”
Barry A. Rosenbaum, with the Santa Monica city attorney’s office, said the city was pleased with the ruling. The judge, he said, “understood the government interests.”
Becker said he would consult with his “brain trust” to determine what step the coalition would take if the judge grants the city’s motion to dismiss. He said he and his clients might consider an appeal, perhaps next year or at some future time when the city government pendulum “would swing back and we’d be back in a sane society where people are tolerant and respect each other for their religious views.”
Pasquale2 at 5:16 PM December 01, 2012
I truly feel sorry for all of those that believe in nothing. Prhaps the lord can find a place for them too.
aguy213 at 11:56 AM November 29, 2012
Mark L Holland,
You don’t need to go all in on the virgin birth story to perceive the contradictory circular reasoning of the OT and NT. Discrediting the bible does not remove monothesim as a possibility – it only discredits the bible (ex: a incorrectly drawn map doesn’t deny there is a way to drive from LA to Denver.)
Much easier is to question why there is only one God. Where did it come from? How come so many people cannot accept our flawed existence without a God, yet never questons how God’s “perfection” can exist without creation?
msblack at 7:12 AM November 26, 2012
I have a simple question for Christians: If taking your John 3:16 oath did NOT result in Salvation and eternal life, would you still take it? It seems like a selfish act.
Many Chrisitans like to say that one can live a humble and selfless life, but without that John 3:16 oath, one will never get into heaven. The hypocrisy of saying that one can sin day in and day out without trully committing to being a better person, but because that person took the John 3:16 pledge, they will get into heaven. The fact that the John 3:16 oath trumps any type of behavior or life record tells me that your Christian god couldn’t care less about personal responsibility.
Daniel Bryant at 8:29 AM November 26, 2012
John 3:16 is not an oath.
You’re premise is wrong to begin with.
Secondly, Salvation is a form of surrender, not a doubling down on human effort.
You can’t EARN birth. The life one is given is a gift.
msblack at 8:45 AM November 26, 2012
Sorry, a gift is something unconditional. If the gift is only given to those taking the oath, it is CONDITIONAL. That means the asker wants something in return.
Gruinchooch at 9:07 AM November 26, 2012
John 3:16, that quote that is seen so often at football games, reads: “16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Is not an oath that one “takes”.
Apparently it is not working since over the last 2,000 years people are still dying. At least no one has proved that they are going to live forever…
aguy213 at 11:36 AM November 29, 2012
John 3:16. Not necessarily a bribe, but definiitely a conditional. Christianity, particularly catholicism, is built around conditionals.
And this part: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” seems disingenuous. Yes, the Son experienced the pain of being human, but also benefited from knowing his future, could do cool miracles and didn’t reeeeely die! Is that such a sacrifice?
And for God whom created all, is it such a big deal to give temporarily his only Son?
Ironman Carmichael at 8:51 AM November 24, 2012
Christianity has lost credibility in recent years because so-called Christians have turned their backs on the tenets of their own faith: love thy enemies, judge not, “as we forgive those who trespass against us,” only hypocrites pray in public, blessed are the meek.
Despite the woman’s sign, it’s no longer about Jesus (except for the reinvention of Jesus as a gun-toting, big-business-loving, homosexuality-obsessed, Fox News-watching, war-mongering Reagan Republican). It’s about political power and entitlement.
JustinBooker at 10:28 AM November 24, 2012
It’s not ‘the Christians’. It’s the Christians that make the news. Probably 95% of all Christian clergy and congregations are just quietly going about the business of their faith day by day, trying their best to live up to their beliefs and do good in the world. That’s my observation as a non-churchgoer who has many religious acquaintances; they’re all very nice, kind people, but Piers Morgan or Fox never has them on for an interview, and they’re never quoted in the Times.
Daniel Bryant at 8:41 AM November 24, 2012
The Santa-Comunist by the Sea bar all kinds of goodness. Have you read the missive of Prohibitions posted at the beach?! Parking is all but impossible there and everting is over-priced.
That Jesus isn’t welcome doesn’t surprise me in the least. Perhaps some clever Christians will Dress the parts of Mary, Joseph, wise men from the East and dress (the un-aborted) baby Jesus in blankets. That way they cound simply walk among the liberal,tolerant masses of Sodom by the Sea.
HelenofPeel at 11:25 AM November 24, 2012
Another trollish and disinenuous post.
Displays are NOT banned as long as they are attended by the person or organization sponsoring them.
woof woof at 2:11 AM November 20, 2012
Part of what it means to be civil is to not take everything that you have a legal right to take.
Saying that you believe in something, or even celebrating the object of your belief, is a positive thing, both in the literal and civic sense of the word. If Hindus want to celebrate Diwali in a park, or if Muslims want to break their Ramadan fast on a beach, that not only reinforces a positive force in their own lives, it contributes to the richness of society. But this article describes people who are openly and intentionally mocking the beliefs of others and trying to destroy part of their celebratory tradition. This is a negative thing in both the literal and civic sense of the word.
Furthermore, this is not about protecting minority rights. It’s not as if believing Christians are a powerful majority in Santa Monica, these days.
You have the right to be a jerk, but the mark of a civilized person is that he does not exercise that right.
So now, you have what happened in Santa Monica. The court decision was correct, but it should never have come to that. This is not a story about law. This is a story about civility and its erosion. It is the triumph of the jerks.
martyrc at 9:02 PM November 19, 2012
Atheists aren’t banning the displays, Christians are the ones who had issue with atheists participating in holiday displays, and wanted preferential treatment. They are the ones who got it banned, because they couldn’t play fair with other beliefs by allowing equal rights.
A lottery was put into place, atheists won a number of spots, Christians complained, the city banned the displays. No one gets preferential treatment on government property.
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