Ken Reid, Virginia Official, Calls Atheist Group ‘Terrorists’ After Leader Criticizes Holiday Display
A Virginia county courthouse is once again at the center of Christmas controversy after an elected official called members of a local atheist group “terrorists.”
Ken Reid, a supervisor representing the Leesburg district, was not happy after local atheist leader Rick Wingrove criticized Loudoun County-sponsored holiday displays planned for the Leesburg courthouse lawn, The Washington Times reports.
‘None of the religious organizations in the county have had any problem with what we’re doing,’ Reid told newspaper in a story published Monday. ‘It’s strictly this group of terrorists. They’re fanatics who basically want to stamp out religion in all public life and property.’
Tensions about separation of church and state during the holidays have been high in Leesburg for several years, with the lawn of the courthouse at the center of the battle.
Last year, for example, officials allowed nine holiday displays outside Loudoun County Courthouse, including a very controversial skeleton Santa Claus hanging from a cross, a painting paying tribute to the birth of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and a traditional Nativity scene, The Times reports. Several of the displays were vandalized.
This year, in an effort to cut down on the discord, the Board of Supervisors did away with the all-comers approach, banning unattended displays, according to NBC4. Instead, the Board approved its own selection of displays: a Christmas tree, nativity scene, Santa and a Menorah.
Undeterred by the Board’s ruling, however, Wingrove and the American Atheists announced plans for an attended display on the courthouse grounds, the Washington Post notes.
‘The board made it really onerous for everyone but religious groups to put up displays,’ Wingrove told the Times. ‘We will not have the exposure as in the past.’