Artificial Outrage Alert-Judge Rejects Nativity Displays in Santa Monica
Don’t let anyone call this a war on Christmas, it is not. It’s about a city that wants to end the related costs, and step away from a rather foolish fight between an atheist with an exclusionary attitude and a coalition of local churches.
If I had my way the churches would pay the cities costs. The atheist would get a chance to put up a display of his liking right after Christmas. And Muslims and Jewish folks and Buddhists would all have an opportunity to display in turn, without crass interference from atheists or anyone else. 12 other parks will do just fine however. I advocate an inclusive view of public religious displays with equal opportunity. I much prefer that to a real ban that would stop all these displays in public spaces.
The judge, however, said Santa Monica proved that it banned the displays not to squash religious speech but because they were becoming a drain on city resources, destroying the turf and obstructing ocean views. Churches can set up unattended displays at 12 other parks in the city with a permit and can leaflet, carol and otherwise present the Christmas story in Palisades Park when it is open, she said.
“I think all of the evidence that is admissible about the aesthetic impacts and administrative burden shows that this was a very reasonable alternative for the city to go this way — and it had nothing to do with content,” she said during a hearing in federal court in Los Angeles.