Pennsylvania town bans holiday displays after atheists ask to participate.

Talk about taking your ball and going home. Rather than allow an atheist group to erect a secular statement honoring atheist soldiers next to a Nativity scene that they had allowed for years, the Chambersburg borough council decided to ban all town-square displays:

Earlier this month, PAN Capital Area director Carl Silverman of Camp Hill wrote the borough a letter stating its intention to erect the sign. While the group believed it did not need the borough’s permission because the creche required none, it was submitting a proposed design in “the spirit of cooperation,” the letter said.

“We didn’t want to take Jesus out of the public square,” Silverman said. “We want to put atheism in the public square.”

Bill McLaughlin, president of Chambersburg’s borough council, said that after discussion with the borough’s solicitor, two practical options emerged — it could either allow everything or allow nothing to be displayed on the fountain. Council chose to allow nothing, he said.

At least they’re smart enough to know that it’s an all-or-nothing situation, unlike many small towns that think they can be selective in who they allow to put up displays on public land, and they’re not hiding their biases and prejudices in any way either:

McLaughlin said he took PAN’s letter as “a demand, with an implied threat of legal action.”

“The down side of ‘everything’ is it means everything,” McLaughlin said. “It would mean this group, and groups that are much more odious.” That was something, he said, council could not live with.

A letter submitted in “the spirit of cooperation” is considered an implied threat? That’s a new one. Still it’s refreshing to see that he doesn’t consider the atheists to be the worst of the possibilities.

So just what was on the atheist’s sign that was so terrible that the council could not live with it? Actually, not all that much:

The sign, which he said has not yet been made, would have had a picture of a sun rising over the words “Celebrating Solstice. Honoring Atheist War Veterans.” The sun would have had an italicized “A” in the middle.

Wow, that’s just horrible!

The response from the True Believers™ has, of course, been nothing but positive and supportive as they always are. Yeah, right:

Robert wrote:
May “GOD” send you and your organization straight to “HELL”!!! I’am a true believer and when an parasitic organism like yours starts ruin the wonderful Christmas holiday season for everyone. May you all drop DEAD MAGGOTS!!!

William wrote:
You people are fucking nuts. You want to advertise NOTHING. Do we really need signs that say believe nothing. Funny how I am a Jew and yet a nativity scene has NEVER affected my life. Guess what? It never will because I am not a fucking loser like you. I hope one day you happen to walk on my posted property.

mike wrote:
Thanks for screwing up our town, Chambersburg. I was in war and I know for a fact that there are no Atheists in war. If you dispute that then feel free to go to war and find out for your self, I know a great front line position just waiting on people like you. I am looking forward to seeing you in hell while we sit in heaven looking down on you Atheists

No one seems to realize that the folks at PAN didn’t win anything at all. They weren’t out to have the creche removed. They just wanted to be able to participate in the display, which they have every right to do. It was the council that decided to ban all displays if they couldn’t legally restrict it to just the one they wanted. It’s an all or nothing situation. You either allow everyone to participate or you don’t allow anyone to do so.

At least the True Believers™ have an option open to them:

A solution may be on the horizon. Central Presbyterian Church, on the square across from the fountain, is considering construction of a perch on its property where the Nativity scene could be displayed.

Which is where the damned thing should have been in the first fucking place. Why these Christians feels they should have a right to be the sole display on public property is beyond me. Well, it’s not really beyond me, they think that because they are the majority that gives them the right. As exemplified by this comment:

Lisa Blackstock of Mercersburg is spearheading a demonstration at noon Saturday in Chambersburg’s downtown. She believes the majority of people in the community want the creche to remain. “This is Christ-mas. It’s a no-brainer if you ask me,” Blackstock said. “There’s no way people in Chambersburg should let (PA Nonbelievers) win.”

In other words: We’re the majority and, ignoring how it came about, it’s our holiday so we demand special favor from the government.

Because that’s what Christmas is all about. Lording your superiority over all the lesser world views.

12 thoughts on “Pennsylvania town bans holiday displays after atheists ask to participate.

  1. Thanks for screwing up our town, Chambersburg. I was in war and I know for a fact that there are no Atheists in war. If you dispute that then feel free to go to war and find out for your self, I know a great front line position just waiting on people like you. I am looking forward to seeing you in hell while we sit in heaven looking down on you Atheists

    yea, whatever. I know someone (will not name names since we know ppl who read this blog) who did fight in the war, who went to Afghanistan, and CAME BACK AN ATHEIST. I once asked him why and he told me that it was proof to him that no God existed as no God would allow such atrocities to happen.

    Sorry “mike”…what you “know for a fact” is actually nothing.

  2. I am an Atheist and a veteran (Viet Nam era). I’ve known many others. I doubt that many Christians have really studied or lived the tenets of their religion.

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  4. I tend to like Christmas decor all over the place during the Holidays. The Trees, Lights, and just general decoration is appealing. I can’t say that a Nativity Scene is proper in the town square, and I don’t think a war memorial at Christmas time is much better.

    I do think a more non secular generic decor for the town square ( Community Christmas Tree ) would be OK. But a designated symbol ( Not Sign ) for Atheism would perhaps be better served during a different Holiday. Perhaps something like, Oh I don’t know…How about Veterans Day.

  5. What’s wrong with this picture is this group is only honoring atheist veterans. I think excluding everyone else who served our country is as dishonorable as a Christian organization choosing to only recognize veterans belonging to the Christian faith.

    The fact that many vocal atheists don’t see or have an issue with that is as much a concern about atheism as anyone else promoting an exclusionary religious ideology.

  6. Bill from the borough is a good guy, I know him and grew up with his son. Now this is kind of dumb, on one hand everyone is entitled to believe in something. But you have to understand that growing up and coming back home going through town you see the light display and its nice, the scene that would emerge is one of warmth and one of home. By pushing your agenda’s you kind of ruined something nice. This isn’t the god fearing, in your face believe in god or we will burn you type of scenario. This square has existed since the burning of Chambersburg during the civil war. Now, ideas change, beliefs change, but for fucks sake, when its Christmas? Do you have to be condescending assholes all of the time? Yes happy winter solstice and whatever, but if he bended than it opens the door for every other asshole and what they want to believe in that week. I struggled with religion and found my self back to being a Christian just no specific denomination, wether you be ;catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Satanist, Athiest, or what have you, remember being a kid? By making this I don’t know what you call it? A mockery? You are practicing freedoms, we get it, but you are also proving that big town or small town, fuck heads will ruin anything that makes most people feel good. People like you make me sad to be a part of the human race. And I hope you don’t reproduce. I don’t claim do be a bible thumper, or push my beliefs on anyone, I generally listen. But traditions in small towns can you fuckers just take a mulligan? Guess not.

  7. Mark.. What is it you find so hard to understand about the fact that in this story, ABSOLUTELY NO MENTION IS MADE OF ANY ATTEMPT OR DESIRE TO REMOVE OR STOP (or “ruin”) THE NATIVITY SCENE?
    Maybe you should read the article again? Oh, and this was like what. 4 years ago?

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