Too far

O’Reilly and Company must have had a field day shrieking about this one, and for a change I can’t say I blame them:

It was the week before Christmas when Irv Sutley, a former warehouse worker, first saw the offending ornament in a government building in Sonoma County, just north of here.

“I was turning around in the lobby, and I noticed the tree,” Mr. Sutley said. “And then, I noticed the angel.”

Mr. Sutley, an atheist, said he then went to the office of the county Board of Supervisors. “And there was a star,” he said.  […]

“For most people, a star atop a tree at this time of season represents the star of Bethlehem, which is a cult symbol, the cult being Christianity,” he said, adding that the government should be neutral on religion.

Sonoma County officials conferred with their lawyers, and on Monday the acting county administrator, Chris Thomas, asked county departments to remove stars, angels or any other religious symbols “so that we can celebrate the season yet not appear to endorse Christian or other religious doctrines.”

Mr. Thomas cited a 1989 Supreme Court decision, Allegheny v. A.C.L.U., which stated that while Christmas trees could be seen as secular, they could also be seen as religious if decorated with religious symbols.

I’m an atheist too, and I totally agree that the government should be neutral on religion, but come on — I have a Christmas tree myself.  And seriously,  bitching about angels and stars on Christmas trees (which are a Pagan tradition anyway) is entering the realm of the terminally duhhhmb.  I’d suggest Mr. Sutley  focus his energy on genuinely offensive religious intrusions like creationism in science classes and elected representatives who feel compelled to get legislation pre-approved by Catholic Bishops.

UPDATE: The angels and stars rise again.

11 Responses to “Too far”

  1. 1 Bruce Thursday, December 24, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I agree, everybody knows it’s a Christian holiday so just deal with it. Besides, as religious holidays go you can’t get much more pagan than this anyway. I always have an angel on my tree, that’s the way it’s always been done in my family. As an unbeliever, I’m not really interested in getting all uptight about it, the bullshit is most of the fun.

  2. 2 Bruce Thursday, December 24, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Oh, and Merry Christmas too!

  3. 3 Torontonian Thursday, December 24, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    And, in the spirit of the season, I say to Mr. O’Reilly,
    “Bah, and humbug to you, sir”.

    To the rest of you, happy belated Saturnalia and
    Merry Christmas.

  4. 4 burpster Thursday, December 24, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Merry Winter Holiday!

    It takes my wife and me about 4 days to do all our indoor and outdoor decorations. She’s agnostic, I’m certified atheist, yet we spend alot of time decorating. I love the holidays, but not in a christian sense, at all.

    It’s a time to enjoy your family and friends, eat alot, and get royally shit-faced. The next day Christ enters the picture, as in Ohhh Christ did I drink alot. 🙂

  5. 5 toujoursdan Thursday, December 24, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    I always find it ironic that a America, founded by a band of Christians, the Puritans, who left the (Anglican) Church of England in part because the Anglicans celebrated Christmas, goes through the petty war on Christmas every year.

    I am a practising Anglican but think everyone can find something in the holiday. Even if it isn’t marking the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, it is a time of festive good cheer during the long dark winter. The Christmas tree is a bit of green with that nice pine odour when all there is is snow outside.

    So Merry Christmas, whatever it means to you.

  6. 6 W. T. Stambaugh Thursday, December 24, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    This is exactly what is wrong with liberals in our country. Why are they not raising a fit over something that matters (like health care “reform”)? Because they are too busy being cool hipsters who have to make news out of something they find hip and ironic, that’s why. This is exactly the kind of asinine B.S. that make the mainstream American hate us on the left. Stop it already.

  7. 7 ellroon Thursday, December 24, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Well… it’s easier to get upset about stupid shit like this than about health care… and it’s more fun!

    With that in mind, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, happy Nodwish and / or have a good day!

  8. 8 JJ Saturday, December 26, 2009 at 10:10 am

    Thanks and hope everyone had a merry Christmas. Happy Boxing Day! W00T! Hahahahaha

  9. 9 Bleatmop Monday, December 28, 2009 at 4:46 am

    Why are you concentrating on X when Y is so much more important?

  10. 10 JJ Monday, December 28, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Bleatmop – Exactly. There are way more urgent issues to deal with around religion than dumping on Christmas trees. I’m all for Christmas trees, and lights too. Or whatever decorations, even the religious ones like nativity scenes don’t “bother” me. Good grief, it’s the Christmas holiday, I don’t see anything wrong with people celebrating it whatever way they want. That doesn’t affect me.

  11. 11 Bleatmop Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    JJ – I was actually trying to offer a critique of your statements, in a friendly and respectful manner. From the article I provided:

    A common argument that is used on people who are talking about special interests — such as feminism — is to say that, instead of talking about Special Interest X the person should instead talk about Important Issue™ Y. This proposed correlation between X and Y is problematic on a few levels:

    1. It assumes that X and Y are mutually exclusive
    2. It assumes that there is an objective determinant for what is “important” and what is not
    3. It creates a hierarchy of issues, which in turn creates a supposed “correct” order/path that must be followed

    Just because a person decides that they want to address one specific topic does not mean that they don’t care about, or address, other topics. Most people have more than one area of interest, and therefore will have more than one topic that they discuss.

    I actually support this guy in principle. To me, it’s not an issue of personal belief or celebration, but whether a state should be doing so. All or nothing comes to mind. Where I do find this issue particularly small, I do find that the giant snowballs, like Kansas teaching creationism in schools, are usually created by a thousand tiny snowflakes like these being allowed to sit on your sidewalk not being shoveled into the gutter.

    Again, I don’t see this as Mr. Sutley trying to stop anyone from celebrating christmas if they so choose. I see this as Mr. Sutley asking his government to not do so (the nothing option in the all or nothing legal decision). I am in the minority opinion here though and perhaps I am misunderstanding something?

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