The Luzerne County Courthouse elves decorated the lawn with a Nativity as they have for generations and a Menorah, as they have for the past 10 years.
Then a local university student called the ACLU to report that of all the religions only 2 ever have representation at the County. The ACLU offered the County an opportunity to remove the religious symbols from the lawn before it filed court action that was already in the works. The County (in the throes of a ginormous corruption scandal and budget crisis) decided it wasn't a battle they were willing to fight and put the decorations back in storage.
The County Commissioner Chairwoman Maryanne Petrilla said she expected people would be upset, We can all express our faith privately when were in our homes.
Valleyists are planning a protest and many plan to dress like Nativity figures. Local attorneys are working with the ACLU to come up with an acceptable solution and it is expected a modified lawn scene will be back up Monday afternoon.
Why am I writing about this?
I read the comments in the online edition of the Times Leader and was appalled at many of them. They made me understand why there is a corporate dance around the word Christmas and other religious holidays and why we have resorted to saying "Happy Holidays" and having holiday parties and end of year celebrations. It's easier not to deal with it in the workplace.
Celebrate all or nothing or risk offending someone.
"hey how about the jewish wearing those yumaka's? i better go call the ACLU!!!"
"Someone tell me exactly where that the "seperation of church and state" is actually written. You cant find it because ....IT AINT #@!$* THERE!!!!!!"
"Merry Christmas ACLU, shouldn't you guys be busy freeing terrorists? ACLU = Al-Qaida."
"what a shame. it's the beginning of armageddon. the devil takes on many forms. this time it's the ACLU"
"You have got to be kidding me! Seperation of church and state? I bet the ACLU have no problem using money that reads "In God We Trust"! This country was founded on the belief in God. And now, after everything that has happened in this county....there are morals and values? Enough already..."
"How would everyone like it if the Muslims had their decorations on public property? I bet it would be very different."
"This is fast becoming a Communist Country. People need to defend their Faith as much as possible to stop these things from happening. There are many such stories all over the USA with Christianity being outlawed. Scary."
"Put the religious symbols on your own property, church property, and synagouge property; Not PUBLIC property. Your religous symbols DO NOT represent me, and I pay taxes as well. You are free to express yourself, why should you do so on the public dime. This isn't a theocracy as many of you who commented would like it to be."
"thankfully this is being addressed. no government entity should be displaying any holiday decorations. these should be left to be on display at private residences and places of worship. our government should get out of the decorating business and focus on govt issues only."
"I love to hear from those people who believe in a god say "our country was founded on these beliefs and traditions, we need to go back to those good old values." Our founding fathers also did not have indoor toilets, electricity, the internet, women were not allowed to vote and black people were slaves. It's 2009 folks - these primitive superstitions simply don't have the power they once did. Get over it. There are plenty of places for you to to display your plastic Jesus. Religion is the biggest catastrophe ever unleashed on mankind, the cause of so much of the world's violent history. I would guess the TL probably won't post this comment because that would offend the majority of readers, and they don't need a boycott right now."
"Thou shalt not make unto thy self any graven image, thou shalt not bow down and worship them" These Nativity scenes are nothing more than empty idols and are displeasing to God; go read your Bible's or at least be consistent in your thinking. Any statue of Jesus/Mary/Saints are an abomination and should be destroyed. I am so glad to see this idol removed from public sight, God must be smiling down from HIS heavens."
"The ignorance of the Valley christians is APALLING. Listen to yourselvesyou are the terrorists now. If you want to advertise for jesus, do it on your own lawn (private property). This country is founded on the freedoms of ALL people, not just you christians. I'd like to be FREE of your ignorance about the law and the rights of others and especially FREE of your oppressive religious, mythical and make-believe symbols on tax payer property. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"sound familiar? IT SHOULD. It's the LAW."
If the County HR Manager hadn't resigned a few weeks ago in the face of an indictment for corruption I wonder what he would have advised.