In the teapot of my state's capitol there brews a tempest. Among the seasonal holiday displays in the capitol building, which include a Christmas tree, a Nativity scene, a Menorah, there is for the first time an atheist entry. With the passing of each hour, the outrage grows. Posted by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the sign has been stolen, found, and replaced at least once.
I'm trying not to laugh.
In response to the insistence of religionists that Nativity scenes be allowed on public property, the courts have been very clear: government entities that choose to do so must make space equally available to other views. Bill O'Reilly's feigned (and altogether fatuous [see, he's the leader of the pack railing against the term "holiday" in place of "Christmas"]) outrage notwithstanding, the state of Washington and its governor are doing nothing but following the law. It's not enough for you to have your Christmas celebrated all over the nation in homes, churches, shops and malls? Fine. You wanna agitate to have it at your capitol, too? Okay. But then you have to accept the entirely democratic and constitutional consequence: other voices may be heard as well. Even offensive ones.
I find the shocked responses highly ironic: welcome to my world. As a non-Christian, I've always been mildly to moderately annoyed at these annual rites of rigidity. I love the decorated houses, the simple and elaborate displays everywhere. It's all but impossible for me to understand how the religious fail to see how insisting that their side gets onto the courthouse lawn is annoying to and/or disrespectful of and/or actually threatening to those of differing beliefs.
Now, one infers from those pained responses, at least a few people understand. Or would, if they had any sense of empathy. Or irony.
Which, clearly, they don't.