Recently city officials in Ohio opted to remove a Ten Commandments monument and Nativity scene from public property following complaints from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
According to different news sources, the displays were moved to a church’s property nearby after the Wisconsin-based atheist group threatened to sue the City of Dover, Ohio.
Meanwhile, in Illinois state officials agreed to let the Satanic Temple install a temporary monument in its capitol rotunda alongside Christmas trees and Hanukkah decorations.
The “Snaketivity,” as it is called, features a human hand holding an apple with a snake coiled around it. Beneath the statue read the words, “Knowledge Is The Greatest Gift.”
Illinois claims it must allow the statue in its rotunda under the Bill of Rights, writing,
“The State of Illinois is required by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution to allow temporary, public displays in the state capitol so long as these displays are not paid for by taxpayer dollars. Because the first floor of the Capitol Rotunda is a public place, state officials cannot legally censor the content of speech or displays. The United States Supreme Court has held that public officials may legally impose reasonable time, place and manner restrictions regarding displays and speeches, but no regulation can be based on the content of the speech.”
Illinois also allowed the Freedom From Religion Foundation to place a sign in the rotunda reading,
At this season of THE WINTER SOLSTICE may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.
Here’s the truth:
Courts have ruled time and again that states, cities, and counties can put up Christmas decorations. Christmas is a time-honored federal holiday as well as a religious one, and celebrating it doesn’t run afoul of the U.S. Constitution.
Likewise, Illinois is free to set limitations on the types of displays it allows in its capitol rotunda. It could restrict permissible displays to those celebrating federal holidays or even certain winter holidays. It isn’t obligated to allow a satanic statue next to a Christmas tree.
Courts have ruled against efforts to force these sorts of anti-Christmas decorations on states in the past. In fact in 2012 a three-judge panel on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that Michigan did not have to allow a sign in its capitol rotunda that was virtually identical to the sign the Freedom From Religion Foundation placed in Illinois’.
Bottom line: There’s no need for officials to worry when it comes to celebrating Christmas.
Photo Credit: Brian Mackey, NPR Illinois 91.9.
The American Family Association has released its annual list of retailers who censor Christmas as well as a list of those who embrace the Christmas celebration.
In the summer of 1965 television executives approached Charles Schultz, creator of Peanuts, about writing, drawing, and animating a Peanuts Christmas special in just six months.
Schultz and his team finished the special a week and a half before the broadcast date. Many believed it would be an unmitigated disaster. Television executives even said they would have canceled the program had their TV schedule allowed it.
On December 9, 1965, an estimated 15.5 million homes tuned in to watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” It has aired every December since.
The simple storyline is part of what makes this Christmas special so endearing. Charlie Brown searches for the true meaning of Christmas. The answer finally comes when Linus van Pelt recites Luke 2:8-14.
Because of the Charlie Brown Christmas special, Luke 2:8-14 may be the most widely heard passage of scripture from the entire Bible. It certainly is the most widely broadcasted in the history of television. For more than five decades, millions of children and adults have heard these words each December:
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
You can watch Linus recite this famous passage of scripture by clicking here or watching the video below.
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