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Maybe we just shouldn’t have nativity scenes on government property

Seems like the obvious answer to me.

A “winter solstice” display by the Freedom From Religion Foundation has been ordered removed from the Texas Capitol after Gov. Greg Abbott called it a “juvenile parody.”

The display had been approved by the State Preservation Board, of which Abbott is chairman, after it was sponsored by state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin.

Howard said she never saw it, but said it was described to her as a poster showing the nation’s founding fathers gathered around a manger with the U.S. Constitution inside. It was hung in the Capitol basement rotunda on Friday, she said.

On Tuesday, Abbott wrote a letter to the executive director of the Preservation Board asking that it be removed. The board’s staff had approved it, but Abbott said the display is offensive, doesn’t serve a public purpose and doesn’t educate viewers.

“Far from promoting morals and the general welfare, the exhibit deliberately mocks Christians and Christianity,” said Abbott’s letter, which also called it a “juvenile parody.”

[…]

Howard said she was frustrated by the decision. The Capitol has a Nativity scene display outside and multiple Christmas trees. The Freedom From Religion Foundation has a right to express its beliefs, too, she said.

“In light of all of the rhetoric around the First Amendment, it appears to me that this is going in the exact opposite direction,” she said.

The Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation describes itself on its website as a non-profit that seeks to “promote the constitutional principle of separation of state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.”

Earlier this week, Abbott released a statement expressing support for a Nativity scene outside the municipal building in the city of Orange. He said in that statement that Orange had a Constitutional right to display the religious image.

He cited the Constitution again in his letter Tuesday.

“The Constitution does not require Texas to allow displays in its Capitol that violate general standards of decency and intentionally disrespect the beliefs and values of many of our fellow Texans,” he wrote.

Well, there’s one way to settle this, and that’s in the courts. I mean, if it wasn’t the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s plan all along to file a lawsuit once their display was predictably removed, then it really was no more than a juvenile parody. So come on, FFRF. Be like the Baphomet supporters and follow through. There’s a principle here that Greg Abbott is either willfully denying or just not able to see, and he needs to be made to understand it. The Statesman, the Current, and the Press have more.

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7 Comments

  1. Paul Kubosh says:

    What if it was a display that offended Islam? The Anti all things Christian would be screaming from the hill tops.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    I think it is mildly amusing, and Abbott was wrong to have it removed. There is room for a creche AND the atheist’s display. If the atheist display was patently offensive on its face, then OK, don’t allow it, but this one was tongue-in-cheek. Pulling it down makes Abbott and his Christian conservative cohorts look like the whiny crybabies they rail against on the other side of the aisle.

    Hey Greg, put your big boy pants on and bring back the atheist’s display.

    “It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”

    Thomas Jefferson

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    Edit: atheists’

    I’m assuming there’s more than one of them.

  4. Paul kubosh says:

    Lol

  5. Manuel Barrera says:

    All it takes is to take away the power at the top, how is that going to be done? Until then he who wins the wars gets to make the rules, true in war and politics.

  6. Ross says:

    So, Manny, you are saying Abbott can do whatever he wants, no restrictions, simply because he’s Governor? I don’t think so. On this issue Abbott is being stupid, and wrong.

  7. Bill Daniels says:

    @Manuel:

    That’s how fascism works. We, on the other hand, are a constitutional republic. The Constitution is supposed to protect the minority from being steamrolled by the majority.

    @Ross:

    I agree with you 100% on this.