I don’t like dredging up that whole “war on Christmas” thing, but (with apologies in advance to Allahpundit) this story kind of gets under my skin. In Santa Monica, California, there is apparently one particular stretch of road alongside a park which has traditionally been set aside for Christmas displays. The nativity scenes on display have been popular with residents and tourists. But in order to be fair to everyone, the city used a lottery to allocate space to groups wishing to put up Creche displays and related scenes. Now, a group of atheists are accused of swamping the lottery and taking over the lots.
This year, however, atheists have taken over most of the two-block stretch, nearly shutting out and angering a group of churches who contend the atheists have organized against the Christians and gamed a city lottery process allocating the holiday exhibit space.
In response, a leader of the atheist group says he’s just looking for evenhanded treatment to present his beliefs in a public space — and goes so far as to say that the city shouldn’t even be allowing any religious or even atheist expression in the park.
That’s why he and his group have put nothing on half of the park exhibit spaces that they’ve secured from the city this year.
The atheists are declaring the politically left-leaning seaside town of Santa Monica as their latest battleground in a national movement to assert their rights.
“I’m part of a growing movement in America of atheists standing up for their rights. It’s a very exciting time for us that we’re having more of an impact in our society,” said Damon Vix, the organizer of the atheist group.
Yes, you’re having a big “impact” on the local society, alright. You’re getting everyone angry at you and ruining their holiday season to no apparent purpose. In the interview, Mr. Vix makes it clear that he has no interest in seeing other people’s views being represented – he just doesn’t want the Christians to use it.
In the interest of fairness, I could see if competing groups wanted to use some of the lots for an alternative display. If somebody wants to put up a big menorah on one of the lots, I don’t think anyone is going to get too worked up over it. And for these atheists, if they had something in mind as an alternative message… even a Festivus pole and a wrestling mat for some feats of strength, I’d probably have to give them some support. But to lock off the land to leave it empty rather than allow a nativity scene? That’s not some fight for equality or freedom. That’s just being a Grinch.