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latraviata

Atheists, the christmas tree and a nativity scene

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CanadianHippie

Christianity is not part of my heritage, it's not part of my government, and I don't think it's appropriate in Government space when the government is supposed to be secular.

And before you ask, I'm not an atheist, I'm agnostic. The fact that I believe Christianity could very well be right doesn't change the fact that the government is secular.

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Kitchen Princess

I agree with him on a lot of things, but I also disagree that the public religious displays are ok. In America. Does he even live here?

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lilwriter85

As an atheist, I get where he is coming from. I'm actually ok with nativity scenes in public spaces, those don't bother me as much as school prayer does.

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0KidsAndHappy

As a devout atheist, I agree with him to an extent. I have no problems with churches, mosques, synagogues, or any other place of worship. I love visiting all of them and have the utmost respect for them when there. Hell, I still catch myself genuflecting from time to time when I visit a Catholic church. I have no problem if a Christian group wants to set up a nativity scene if they fund it themselves.

However, I don't agree when tax money is going to fund ANYTHING religious. I also don't agree with any religious organization getting tax exempt status ... especially if it's some slack-jawed family in Arkansas that doesn't have to pay taxes because they pray in their own home.

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Gizmola

I'm an atheist and I totally get where he's coming from. I simply don't wish to waste my time worrying about whether there's an Xmas tree on the courthouse steps. Most of the Xmas iconography anymore is more cultural than religious, in my opinion.

I'd rather spend my time fighting people like Rick Perry and his "Christianity" because that really does hurt, marginalize and intimidate people.

Though I admit that earlier in the year I attended a community awards luncheon and was appalled that they had not only an invocation but one that requested we give thanks in Jesus' name. I actually wrote the Convention Bureau (who was sponsoring the awards) about that. And was promptly ignored.

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Guest Anonymous

That man makes my skin crawl. He is a member of UKIP and too many of his YT rants are full of racist claptrap for me to take anything he says with more than a pinch of salt.

I think it is a common tactic of UKIP and other fringe right wing parties to try to create a sense of unity or 'we-ness' in their rants, to suck people in to a shared sense of outrage about the perceived offences of whatever the 'other' is being trashed for this time. The line in this post is "I'm an atheist... we are all atheists together... so you must agree with me that this is political correctness gone mad!"

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JesusFightClub
That man makes my skin crawl. He is a member of UKIP and too many of his YT rants are full of racist claptrap for me to take anything he says with more than a pinch of salt.

I think it is a common tactic of UKIP and other fringe right wing parties to try to create a sense of unity or 'we-ness' in their rants, to suck people in to a shared sense of outrage about the perceived offences of whatever the 'other' is being trashed for this time. The line in this post is "I'm an atheist... we are all atheists together... so you must agree with me that this is political correctness gone mad!"

This!

The guy's a wanker. For a start, anecdotes do not equal data, so the fact he's not offended doesn't mean it's a fact that no one else is either. Whether he feels they should be or not is an entirely different matter.

Secondly, for someone who is so angry about others being offended he gets pretty offended himself. It's America and they have a secular goverment whereas we don't. If some atheists don't want to see a Nativity scene they have the right to ask for it to be removed. I personally think they are being thin skinned and frankly a bit daft but it's hardly a blow at Western Civilisation.

I also think the frothing at the mouth at the excesses of "diversity fascists" is getting extremely old and tiresome. Nearly all the stories printed which everybody gets so excited over about the evil Diversity Police stopping innocent kiddies' fun/pandering to the minorities at the expense of decent straight white men/attempting to destroy Our Culture are made up out of whole cloth or have a lengthy backstory which no one prints as it's not scandalous enough.

If I was going to worry about anything it would be a culture where a 17 year old can be remanded in custody for singing a song or you can get four years in the jail for posting a silly comment on Facebook. Or detained and interrogated just for being an activist. In other words, the rising tide of political policing, not some Americans using their rights.

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latraviata
I agree with him on a lot of things, but I also disagree that the public religious displays are ok. In America. Does he even live here?

No he lives in England.

In my country christmas decorations in public spaces are limited to Christmas trees, bells, mistletoe and the usual rather unreligious kitsch.

The annually recurring theme in the Netherlands is about black Peter, the servant of Saint Nicholas.

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Deleted07

it almost seems that Atheism itself has become its own bigoted religion!

Which is why I always hesitate to say I am one, even though I pretty much think I am.

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latraviata
As an atheist, I get where he is coming from. I'm actually ok with nativity scenes in public spaces, those don't bother me as much as school prayer does.

I agree.

But then again this problem does not occur in my country.

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Sola

No he lives in England.

In my country christmas decorations in public spaces are limited to Christmas trees, bells, mistletoe and the usual rather unreligious kitsch.

The annually recurring theme in the Netherlands is about black Peter, the servant of Saint Nicholas.

Yes he does, unfortunately. I wish we could ship him off to the right wingers in the USA.

I personally don't have a problem with public displays like the nativity. Most state schools in the UK will have them, but then we don't have separation of church and state. Most state schools will also have displays for Eid, Divali, and Hanukkah too. It's all part of religious eduction so at Eid the kids will learn what that means for Muslims, at Hanukkah they will learn what that means for Jews. I don't have a problem with it at all.

With regard to the display in the report, it wouldn't bother me at all. Now if at Hanukkah those same people who put up the nativity display said this is a Christian country so no Hanukkah display, I would find that offensive. Same with Eid and Divali. I don't have a problem with acknowledging other people's cultures.

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debrand

I find it interesting that countries without seperation of church and state have a less fundamentalist Christians. Because of our seperation of church and state, you would think that the US would be less religious than it is.

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BravaAmica
I find it interesting that countries without seperation of church and state have a less fundamentalist Christians. Because of our seperation of church and state, you would think that the US would be less religious than it is.

Yes!!! Exactly!! Why is that?!

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latraviata

Yes!!! Exactly!! Why is that?!

Well my country has a separation of church ad state and we don't have that much fundamentalist christians as in the USA. Fundies are an insignificant and marginal minority and every now and then we hear from them and shut them up immediately.

With the exception of UK practically all European countries (West) have a separation of church and state and there are hardly any fundies, au contraire these countries including mine, are very secular, so I don't really understand this illation.

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JesusFightClub
I find it interesting that countries without seperation of church and state have a less fundamentalist Christians. Because of our seperation of church and state, you would think that the US would be less religious than it is.

I think it makes you take it less seriously. For example like judges wearing robes and wigs, religion just seems like a quaint and likeable tradition. Not a real living thing.

Having had a religious schooling to some extent, none of it ever "took"...I would have called myself a Christian if asked until I was in my late teens, but although what we were taught shaded into fundie lite, (albeit in Scotland it works differently) we didn't feel connected to it in the same way Americans seem to be.

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Daenerys

In my city there is currently a 10ft tall candle statue for Chanukah (I don't know its proper name) and the council puts on fireworks every year to celebrate Diwali. In light of this I think a small nativity scene reflecting the reason many people celebrate Christmas is fair.

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thoughtful
In my city there is currently a 10ft tall candle statue for Chanukah (I don't know its proper name) and the council puts on fireworks every year to celebrate Diwali. In light of this I think a small nativity scene reflecting the reason many people celebrate Christmas is fair.

I don't know if you are in the US, so some of the following might not apply.

I think that no tax money or government property should ever be used for any religious item in the US.

Some problems with the menorah, and your perfectly innocent, well-meant statement above --

- putting up a Chanukah menorah means that all of Judaism is represented by a symbol of one of its minor festivals, which has only gotten attention due to being near the same time as Christmas, and that does not represent something basic and universal to Jews. Imagine if something other than Christianity was the majority in the US, and the only time you saw anything government-sponsored representing Christianity was a display on St. Patrick's Day.

- a ten-foot menorah actually sounds pretty garish and ugly to me (OK, that's just personal opinion, but I would not be happy to see that out my window!).

- I don't know much about Diwali customs, but I know that fireworks are not a row of oil lamps or lanterns. For all I know, it might not be an appreciated gesture in some of the Hindu community.

- What about all of the world's other religious traditions - or even those in your area? If they can't all be honored, all year, why not save taxpayer money for necessities and American secular events? While it's not "establishing a state religion," it is favoring some over others.

I just think it's kinder, less messy, more in keeping with the Constitution, and better all around to leave religious symbolism and religious holiday observances to the private sector.

It's not like American neighborhoods are plunged in anti-Christmas darkness. Much of my neighborhood and town is decorated, due to the fact that individuals have done it themselves, in front of their homes. Most of it is lovely.

Two friends of mine -- one Mormon, one Jewish -- got together to with some other neighbors to set up luminaria and sing carols last night.

It was lovely, inspiring, fun, a comfort to neighbors who had been going through hard times, and even brought out a neighbor who rarely communicates with others on this generally friendly street (and who requested O Holy Night :) ).

It was their own idea, it was personal, it was not forcing observance on anyone by using taxpayer money and space.

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Daenerys

I don't know if you are in the US, so some of the following might not apply.

I think that no tax money or government property should ever be used for any religious item in the US.

Some problems with the menorah, and your perfectly innocent, well-meant statement above --

- putting up a Chanukah menorah means that all of Judaism is represented by a symbol of one of its minor festivals, which has only gotten attention due to being near the same time as Christmas, and that does not represent something basic and universal to Jews. Imagine if something other than Christianity was the majority in the US, and the only time you saw anything government-sponsored representing Christianity was a display on St. Patrick's Day.

- a ten-foot menorah actually sounds pretty garish and ugly to me (OK, that's just personal opinion, but I would not be happy to see that out my window!).

- I don't know much about Diwali customs, but I know that fireworks are not a row of oil lamps or lanterns. For all I know, it might not be an appreciated gesture in some of the Hindu community.

- What about all of the world's other religious traditions - or even those in your area? If they can't all be honored, all year, why not save taxpayer money for necessities and American secular events? While it's not "establishing a state religion," it is favoring some over others.

I just think it's kinder, less messy, more in keeping with the Constitution, and better all around to leave religious symbolism and religious holiday observances to the private sector.

It's not like American neighborhoods are plunged in anti-Christmas darkness. Much of my neighborhood and town is decorated, due to the fact that individuals have done it themselves, in front of their homes. Most of it is lovely.

Two friends of mine -- one Mormon, one Jewish -- got together to with some other neighbors to set up luminaria and sing carols last night.

It was lovely, inspiring, fun, a comfort to neighbors who had been going through hard times, and even brought out a neighbor who rarely communicates with others on this generally friendly street (and who requested O Holy Night :) ).

It was their own idea, it was personal, it was not forcing observance on anyone by using taxpayer money and space.

I'm not in America, I'm in England where the state religion is C of E. I think that the council just wants to equally represent everyone's most accessible festivities to bring everyone together. Having looked at it again I'm not sure if they get much funding but permission would have to be granted for things like statues and fireworks. The menorah was actually erected by members of the Jewish community and it's really lovely looking. There's a sign by it explaining the meaning of the festival and how it applies to everyone as 'the triumph of light over darkness' Since it was the Hindus who set up much of the Diwali stuff, I think it's safe to say that they love it! No one's pretending that all festivals are celebrated but by having more than just 'Christian' celebrations we are able to reflect our diverse community better.

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thoughtful

I'm not in America, I'm in England where the state religion is C of E. I think that the council just wants to equally represent everyone's most accessible festivities to bring everyone together. Having looked at it again I'm not sure if they get much funding but permission would have to be granted for things like statues and fireworks. The menorah was actually erected by members of the Jewish community and it's really lovely looking. There's a sign by it explaining the meaning of the festival and how it applies to everyone as 'the triumph of light over darkness' Since it was the Hindus who set up much of the Diwali stuff, I think it's safe to say that they love it! No one's pretending that all festivals are celebrated but by having more than just 'Christian' celebrations we are able to reflect our diverse community better.

Ah, I didn't know you were in England.

I was talking about the use of taxpayer money and property in the US, so much of that doesn't apply to you, as I said.

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tropaka

Well, as an agnostic (on some days) or an atheist (on others) I don't care if people put up religious symbols or if there's a Christmas tree or nativity scene in my town square. I do quite stridently disagree with some of this guy's views (on Palestine and Islam) and wouldn't really give him the time of day otherwise.

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