Court Upholds Exclusion of Atheist Christmas Display
A federal district court has ruled that the City of Warren, Michigan, was within its rights to exclude an atheist display from its annual public Christmas display. In short, the court said the purpose of the atheist display was to be nothing more than a counter-display and its content could be disruptive.
[T]he Mayor sets forth permissible bases for denial—that the Sign was meant to counter the Nativity Scene, not celebrate the holiday season, and that the anti-religious language of the sign, in this context, could lead to a disruption of city business. There is nothing indicating the Mayor denied placement of the Sign solely in defense of religion; religion was simply not the appropriate subject-matter.
The case was Freedom from Religion Foundation, Inc. v. City of Warren, Michigan.
This is relevant to the military because atheists last year tried the same thing, resulting in a “Flying Spaghetti Monster” being erected at Travis AFB, CA. The FSM is a widely-accepted mockery of God, so much so that even atheists within the group publicly debated the appropriateness of using the FSM on the sign. (Ultimately, a sign was paid for before the dissenting votes came in.)
Travis AFB determined that the FSM might be offensive, but it was permissible because it was “challenging the logic of religion.” Given that “challenging the logic of religion” is a counter-philosophy, not a celebration of the season, atheists there could face the same result as the FFRF did in this case, especially if they follow through on their promise for a more “barbed” message next year.
Because a “barbed” message that mocks religion is how some atheists help their fellow troops celebrate the holiday season, apparently.
Via the Religion Clause.