In Loudon County, Virginia, atheists are challenging holiday displays at the Leesburg Courthouse. It’s the same thing played out in places across the country. The displays are a broad range of subjects: Christmas tree, nativity scene, Santa and a Menorah.
It is a change from last year when the first nine displays presented were approved. One of those included a hanging of Santa Claus. As you can imagine, last year’s policies weren’t too popular.
This year, the displays are narrower. The public is allowed to setup their own displays, but they can’t be left unattended. That means they must come down every night.
Virginia Director for American Atheists Rick Wingrove said the new policy is unfair and illegal because it is on government property.
“The Board … is providing a forum for religious groups, and providing this special access for Christian groups is a special privilege that they’ve essentially taken away from other group.”
The atheist opposition got the attention of Loudon County Supervisor Ken Reid who sees a grave threat.
“None of the religious organizations in the county have had any problem with what we’re doing. It’s strictly this group of terrorists. They’re fanatics who basically want to stamp out religion in all public life and property.”
Publicly calling people terrorist is not a good thing. Terrorists are bomb-carrying and plane-crashing threats to law and democracy. A bunch of atheists appealing before a political body or a court are hardly terrorists. All that Reid has done is demonize a peaceful and legal opposition by trying to paint them as evil.
Upon further thought, Reid agreed that he chose the wrong words. He apologized for calling them terrorists but nothing more.
“But I still think they’re fanatical,” Reid said.
That may be so, but they aren’t the only ones.