Capitol’s atheist sign fiasco is just the latest

Bah, Humbug! Yep, it’s Christmas, and Washington State is doing its best to again turn out Grinch after Grinch after Scrooge to the disgust or entertainment (take your pick) of the entire country. We have a rich tradition of such foolishness. The kerfuffle two years ago at Sea-Tac Airport over Christmas trees and accompanying decorations made us a national laughing stock as they went up, then down after one complaint, then up again, but renamed as benign “Holiday Decorations.”

  • Tuesday, December 9, 2008 2:06pm
  • Opinion

Bah, Humbug!

Yep, it’s Christmas, and Washington State is doing its best to again turn out Grinch after Grinch after Scrooge to the disgust or entertainment (take your pick) of the entire country.

We have a rich tradition of such foolishness. The kerfuffle two years ago at Sea-Tac Airport over Christmas trees and accompanying decorations made us a national laughing stock as they went up, then down after one complaint, then up again, but renamed as benign “Holiday Decorations.”

We’re so PC that one area –- a church –- sells not Christmas, but “holiday” trees.

Where to begin this season? How about the patently offensive “ornament” created by Seattle artist Deborah Lawrence, who was selected by Seventh District Congressman Jim McDermott, a liberal, pro-impeachment, anti-Iraq War Democrat to create a seasonal adornment for the White House Christmas tree.

Lawrence is also a liberal, pro-impeachment, anti-Iraq War Democrat who doesn’t care much for Christmas yet, according to McDermott’s office, he was surprised when she created a pro-impeachment, anti-Iraq War, Christmas-denigrating ornament –- rejected as inappropriate by the White House — that was, per her, a tribute to the erstwhile innocent Congressman.

Like he expected Currier & Ives? Give it a rest, Jim.

If that wasn’t enough, there’s the fiasco at the Capitol rotunda in Olympia. Of course, many contend that there’s always a fiasco in Olympia, it is, after all, a haven for politicians, a word synonymous with fiasco.

But in this instance, everyone instantly knows the nature of this particular fiasco: Gov. Christine Gregoire and the atheist sign.

No need to recount the factual details since they’ve dominated TV news, talk radio, and the papers except to say that an out-of-state atheist organization posted a sign denigrating religious faith –- not just the Christian faith, but all faiths — on the opposite side of the Rotunda’s George Washington bust from a small nativity crèche (Ed. note: The sign was stolen and later found in a nearby ditch). In the past, though not this year, a Jewish Hanukkah Menorah, a deeply powerful and moving symbol in its own right, was also displayed.

I’m for free speech, even for atheists. But must we celebrate insulting personal attacks? Dan Barker, co-president of sign-sponsor Freedom From Religion Foundation, admitted that the sign was an attack on religion, which is by logical extension an attack on religious people. It’s one thing for atheists to display their point of view, or even a symbol of their non-faith faith –- atheism is a secular religion — which would be what? A zero? A blank slate?

But this: “Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds?”

Anyone who lives a faith-based life, irrespective of the faith, has a hard heart and is a slave? Baloney!

People of faith have always been the first to give, help, protect, defend, and care for others. Human freedom has its legacy in faith in God. Hard hearted is a sign trashing the belief systems of others.

And where’s our Governor in all this? Typically fence sitting –- she blandly expresses disagreement with the atheist sentiments, but forcefully supports their presence in the Rotunda. Gov, you can give it a rest too.

Where’s her outrage, her moral indignation, at this intentional attack upon Washingtonians of all faiths? Why couldn’t she express the level of revulsion she has against, say, the Pro Life movement?

How about some gumption akin to President Harry Truman? I can hear him saying, “They’ve a right to their beliefs, but the appropriate place for this sign and the insulting sentiments it expresses is the Capitol dumpster, not the Capitol Rotunda.”

Christmas, a federal and state official holiday, is honored with symbols, songs, and ceremonies, and has been since before the founding of the Republic. Enough already with efforts to render Christmas an intellectual and spiritual eunuch. Congressman McDermott and Gov. Gregoire, lumps of coal for you.

But to all others, even atheists, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah!


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