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-Atheist Complaints Against Public Christmas Displays Backfire

by Dr. D ~ December 16th, 2015

English: Nativity scenes in Sanok

                                           (Image: Wikipedia)

In the last 5 years or so atheist groups like the FFRF have campaigned to eliminate public displays and celebrations of Christmas. Thousands of letters have been sent out to cities and Schools with warnings and complaints. A lot of folks have called this a ‘war on Christmas,’ I have stopped using that designation since I believe that it is an overkill in terminology and in reality it is part of a continuing cultural battle against religion in the public square and Christianity in particular.

This year however a large number of local jurisdictions have opted to ignore the threats and in several instances the atheist efforts have lead to a community backlash  and have actually resulted in larger Christmas celebrations and displays than originally planned. The following story I  Belen, New Mexico  from KOAT 7 ABC News is one example of this effect:

A complaint about Belen’s nativity scene led to the city’s biggest Christmas event ever.

Belen is Spanish for Bethlehem. A nativity scene depicting the birth of Jesus is a long-standing feature of a Theresa Tabet Park, which is right across the street from City Hall at the intersection of Main Street and Becker Avenue.

A Wisconsin-based atheist group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, sent the city a letter this summer demanding the removal of the nativity sculpture.  …

Mayor Jerah Cordova said despite threatening a lawsuit, he was not aware of any court filings.

"They sent a couple of letters and pretty much left the issue alone up to this point so we’re pretty satisfied about that," Cordova said. "We stood strong, we stood tall and will continue to do so as a community and we’ll continue to celebrate who we are."

The mayor, as well as the pastors who coordinate Saturday’s "Follow the Star to Bethlehem" event, said the FFRF’s efforts backfired. …

"One of the things about this organization that I don’t think that they fully understand is when they send a letter like that, all they’re doing is riling people up and getting them to express support more than they ever have before for things like this," Cordova said.  …

Cordova said if the atheist group’s intent was to pull down nativities, it didn’t work as several people throughout the town erected more nativities.

<Read the whole article>

Here’s another example of a backlash against atheist efforts. This one coming from Wadena, Minn.:

For more than four decades, it wasn’t Christmas in Wadena until the city’s big plaster Nativity set came out of storage and went on display in a downtown park.

Until this year, when the threat of a lawsuit prompted the city to turn over custody of the crèche to a group of local ministers, who moved it out of the public park and onto private property.

It might have been a sound legal move, but it left an empty spot in the park — and in people’s hearts.  …

"After the [City Council’s] decision, people were upset," Dani Sworski, who launched the Facebook group, explained in an e-mail. So she and her neighbors decided: "Let’s shower the town with Nativity scenes, let’s share our faith!"

No one has an exact head count, but holy families are starting to outnumber the 4,000 residents of this central Minnesota railroad town,

<Read the whole article>

Response: The example of the backlash in these two towns could lead to a trend in the future considering the national press they have received. The Wadena response is perfect since the FFRF has even been forced to claim they are happy with the results since it is in ‘private’ hands.

The FFRF and other atheist groups have made legal threats that they would be hard pressed to carry through on and in reality they do not have the funds to take every city or town which rebels against their hollow demands. In reality, there are also legal organizations like American Center for Law and Justice, Alliance Defending Freedom, and Pacific Justice Institute which have offered to help cities and organizations battle against attest groups like FFRF and their intrusions upon religious liberty in America..

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