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    Loudouners take a stand with courthouse displays

    photoThis atheist display celebrates reason and the winter solstice. It is one of several displays that will stand on the courthouse lawn during the month of December. Times-Mirror Staff Photo / Beverly Denn

    Though the holiday season is generally considered a time of peace, controversy over holiday displays has turned the Loudoun courthouse lawn into a silent battleground for many local residents.

    Loudoun supervisors ruled on the hotly-contested issue Sept. 8, voting to allow the first 10 applicants vying for space on the lawn to put up one display each, representing whatever beliefs they chose. The decision came after the Courthouse Grounds and Facilities committee banned all displays from the lawn in December 2009, leading to months of discussion.

    But many Loudoun residents are still unhappy with the outcome. Some believe that all displays should be banned on the basis of separation of church and state, some believe that only explicitly religious displays should be allowed, and some are just upset at what they perceive as the hate that is ruining their holiday season.

    The 10 courthouse displays include four atheist signs, a Christmas tree, a letter from Jesus, two nativity scenes, a Christian sign and a Jediist display.
    Leesburg resident Richard Wingrove would prefer not to see any displays on the courthouse lawn. But the platform was too good to pass up.

    “We decided that we would celebrate the separation of church and state, celebrate the solstice ,and make the important point that the appropriate place for religious displays is on religious grounds,” Wingrove said. His atheist display will be put up Dec. 18.

    “When the government allows religious displays on the courthouse lawn, they are basically endorsing that religion,” he added.

    Wingrove said that sometimes the motives of atheists can be misunderstood.

    “We’re neighbors. We’re not the bogeyman, we’re not criminals, and we don’t eat babies,” he said. “We’re the guy next door to you.”

    There is no war on Christmas, he said.

    “If there were a war on Christmas, I would have gotten a memo,” Wingrove said. “All these stores like Walmart, Sears and Macy’s that are doing ‘holiday’ displays, all these things that make Bill O’Reilly apoplectic – I wish that we had the influence to be able to do that. But that is just the American people saying we’re no longer a Christian nation.”

    Leesburg resident Don Phillips worked with the Knights of Columbus to put up a 12-foot Christmas tree with ornaments on Dec. 10. The group represents churches and religious figures throughout Loudoun.

    Phillips, a Roman Catholic, believes all religious groups should be able to put up displays on the courthouse lawn. He takes issue, however, with atheist displays.

    “Christmas is a season because of Jesus and they’re trying to get equal play for non-religious [displays],” Phillips said. “They’re trying to mock the Christian faith. With freedom of speech, there’s a limit on what you can do. This is disrespectful and insensitive.”

    Phillips remembers admiring the Christmas displays as a boy.

    “It just breaks my heart to see this kind of stuff,” he said. “We don’t mind if the Muslims or the Jews want to have something. We’re just upset at all the hate being displayed. That’s all it is, pure hate.”

    When Middleburg resident Jenelle Embrey heard about the decision to open the lawn to all kinds of displays, she wrote a letter from Jesus to the people she considered the angriest: Christians.

    “I anticipate some Christians getting angry at some of the other displays and it is that anger [I hope] to intercept and bring to reason,” she said. A former Christian, Embry has been an atheist for 10 years.

    “I respect and appreciate followers of any religion, so long as they don’t hurt anyone,” Embry said.

    In the letter, customized from a similar letter that Embry found online, she asks Christians not to put so much importance on what the holiday is called or whether certain displays are on the courthouse lawn.

    “If you want to celebrate my birth, just get along and love one another,” Jesus says in Embry’s letter. “If you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to me, then behave like a Christian. Make a statement with your kind actions.”

    “I am God and can take care of myself,” the letter concludes.

    Leesburg resident Eric Santiago coordinated a Jediist display, to be put up around Dec. 16.

    “It will highlight the ridiculousness of courthouse displays,” he said.

    The display will either be a sign with the tenets of Jediism or will be a mannequin arrangement including a figure of Luke Skywalker.

    “I just hope a few people will get a chuckle out of it. Maybe it will make a few of them stop and think,” Santiago said.

    “If there isn’t enough space on the courthouse for every single religious faith to be equally represented during a season of good will, perhaps setting up any holiday display on the courthouse lawn is wholly inappropriate,” he added.

    photoA letter from Jesus to Loudoun residents stands near King Street on the county courthouse lawn. Times-Mirror Staff Photo/ Beverly Denny
    Comments

    A Question to the Christian Community
    Jesus was a 1st Century Jew teaching 1st Century Judaism.  He observed all the Jewish laws, holidays, and customs.  He stated that the Old Testament (Torah) was correct and must be followed.  At no time did he advocate a new religion.  Therefore if he were alive today he would not be a Christian! 
    Another puzzling fact is that the largest percentage of Christians within any American ethnic group is found in the Afro-American community.  This I never understood because if these people were alive at the time of Christ and living in Palestine they would be slaves.  Slaves!  The Old Testament not only condones slavery but encourages it.  Jesus supported slavery and instructed his followers on how to whip a slave.  Why would anyone follow this kind of barbaric teaching, especially someone whose only value was that of a slave?


    @Jonestown Survivor: Very cogent. I have to run to a Christmas dinner. There is much more to comment on. I encourage all to join in with a thoughtful point. This is a great public forum! I promise I will be back to this very enriching discussion soon.

    In the meantime, I quote:

    Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

    “DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
    “Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
    “Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
    “Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

    “VIRGINIA O’HANLON.
    “115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.”

    VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

    Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

    Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

    You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

    No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.


    Please forgive two errors:
    religions*
    they’re**
    My apologies to those of you who winced while reading.


    @Rick Gondella

    Yeah, the >>Flavor Aid<< doesn’t agree with my stomach.  It is funny you perpetuate the “Kool Aid” myth, when that’s not what was used to mix with poison for those poor, misled people. Little details like the name of the drink, over 30 years have been changed by popular public understanding (pop culture)... and now few people even know the reality. Funny how that works.

    I’ll have to plug the JediKnight, from an earlier comment, “Fear is the path to the dark side”, and add on my own characterization…

    Respect earned through fear is the hallmark of a tyrant.

    I do agree on your assessment of the core “principle” of those religions, but that isn’t technically a religious principle, “love one another”.  For many atheists, like myself, it is considered that that is an intrinsic property of our species, one that is beneficial for the species when it is encouraged. Thus when religion’s do it, the groups survive better than others. I know you might hate it, but societal evolution itself plays a hand at increasing religion’s survivability. As societies realize this, they depart from religion (look at Europe).

    The usage of the concept “love one another” is something that most religions co-opt right out of human nature, and make it seem as if the religion has bestowed that wisdom upon humanity. It is one of the most noble lies ever, and probably the most pernicious illusions of our age.

    You are right about dismissal, but you also have to understand that it doesn’t come lightly.  For some reason, there is another big myth that atheists have not put much thought into their decision to dismiss Christianity, or others. The only thing I can say to that is to ask how much thought you have put into dismissing Zeus or Horus, or any gods you have dismissed. Do you consider those dismissals legitimate? Why then, is my dismissal invalid for YOUR god?

    It may be rude, but it is true. Your right to freedom of speech comes with a price, my right to freedom of speech.  Your freedoms stop where mine begin. George Orwell has a great quote on this, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” I try to exercise that right daily.

    I think that’s a bit of some intellectual dishonesty showing, that you say critical thinking should kick in when you recognize someone who says their a Christian isn’t a Christian.  Part of the problem with that assertion is the fact that admission into Christianity only requires self-proclaimed faith. This is why murderers, rapists and thieves (or worse) can be JUST as much a Christian as you. Now if you mean disingenuous believers, that’s another sticky point, where divinity is the only determining authority on said genuineness. Why do humans need such labels?

    As far as blame goes, I do blame Jim Jones AND Christianity, you see… religion IS a social weapon. In the hands of a crazed megalomaniac like Jim Jones, who happened to be an atheist, it can yield violent and terrible results. Just think of how much power >>any<< religious leader HAS.

    Yeah, a physics discussion would take up a whole lot more space <—geek joke.

    Rick G…

    The beliefs of a person don’t really matter, atheist or theist (of any flavor *wink*). Behavior and actions are what matters.  SO why believe at all?

    —> Just be good for goodness’ sake <—


    @Jonestown Survivor: This is all a little funny, really, if not a bit impolite. Presumably, you were not at Jonestown. That’s just a funny way to say you “haven’t drunk the Kool-Aid,” right? Ha ha. Cute.

    I know many Christians, and Muslims, and Buddhist, and Atheists, who do not assume the hold the truth. They are seekers. They search diligently for the truth.

    Among the religious, the “fear of God” is more like awe and ultimate respect, and knowing that a human cannot know everything. Even a scientist. At least that’s what my critical reading of the Old and New Testaments, and my interaction with Buddhism and Hinduism has shown me.

    A critical reading of the Bible (Old and New) does reveal a certain need to anthropomorphize and elevate to myth. However, the core principle for Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hindu, and others is “love one another.” That’s all. No man behind the curtain. No firey pit. Just “love one another.”

    Yes, the rhetoric does get boosted up by those who look for a reason to commit war, murder, and pillage. However, you will meet many people in your travels who say that they are a Jew but are not a Jew, many who say they are a Christian, but are not a Christian. That’s where your own critical thought should kick in.

    Don’t blame Christianity for Jonestown. Blame Jim Jones, if you like; but at your own peril.

    By the way, there is not enough room in the Times to have a real, thoughtful discussion about physics and the origins of the present universe. But I do think that dismissing religion out of hand is ignorant, in the sense that if you ignore it, just like physics, then you cannot understand the deeper meanings. It just follows. Critically.

    And I do think it’s rude to publicly dismiss someone’s deeply held beliefs as superstition. That’s not a hardening of my heart. It’s just good manners.


    @Rick Gondella

    It seems, to myself (and apparently others), that Christians assume they “have” the truth, when in fact all they carry is a pack of lies.  Their book is founded on another religion, Judaism, which is founded on ancient tribal myths and superstitions.

    If there is a chance for Christianity to have a basis in rational thought, it would be self-defeating because the most important cornerstone of Jesus’ teachings is irrational love.

    Jumping into physics with that rudimentary explanation is rather dangerous also… You see God where science has yet to provide an explanation that suffices without divinity… people have done this for centuries, and it still doesn’t work here and now.

    Listen to your words… “To suggest that a Christian belief system is superstition is rude.”

    If that isn’t a hardened heart… what exactly do you think a hardened heart is?!

    There is a bit of a correction in your final assertion also. Atheists admit possibility, on the basis of accepting what is unlikely or likely… but I’ve seen (and I) dismiss THAT WHICH IS UNLIKELY. This is a critical thinking skill that theists often see, incorrectly, as a form of ignorance because it consistently undermines faith.  If Christians HAD that skill, they wouldn’t be getting sucked into Televangelist schemes, or flim-flam-man lies that cost them their life savings for a “miracle”.


    Christians, it seems, will always be persecuted—mocked, ridiculed, censored. In fact, truth is always squelched, because it makes the comfortable uncomfortable.

    To take the position that something (i.e. Christian belief) has no basis in rational thought is to deny the incredible possibility of the universe. Our “natural world” includes sub-atomic physics, which defy a basic understanding of the “natural world,” as the laws at that level are completely different than physics at the level at which our world seems to operate.

    Likewise, at the instant of the Big Bang, none of the physical laws of our natural world existed. In the absence of physical law, I suggest, any number of things beyond our comprehension might occur. What’s more, we do not live in a static, steady-state universe. So what presents in the “natural world” at this point in the space-time continuum might not correspond to what one might expect at a different point in the space-time continuum.

    To further complicate matters, Einstein and others have speculated dozens and hundreds of dimensions, beyond the four we can experience with the senses of a human body.

    To suggest that a Christian belief system is superstition is rude. To suggest that Christian belief—true Christian belief—hardens one’s heart, is prejudiced and wrong. It’s true that many historical figures have perverted religion to their own personal or political purpose. That continues today. But to suggest that, say, Mother Theresa was hard of heart shows a lack of compassion. And, to suggest that St. Nicholas, the real person from whom Santa Claus draws his name, sought to enslave is ridiculous. In fact, St. Nicholas secretly gave a family gold, so they would not have to give their daughter over into slavery.
    True Christians, like true Buddhists, true Jews, true Muslims, are kind, charitable, generous, and tolerant.

    Atheism, I submit, ignores possibility, and rigidly adheres to a system of physical law that is, at best, temporary (even if my use of “temporary” might be a little longer than what you’re used to.) Ignorance is not a trait that I would trust to help me make my life decisions.


    Nice to have a redditor or /b/ poster in here…


    As a nontheist (I don’t like to call myself an “atheist” but I’m the most un-Christian person I know) I find this whole mess with the signs rather amusing. It brings out the whiners in everyone-Christians, atheists, “other,” etc. If people ...are gonna throw fits like this, why bother putting up stuff on the courthouse lawn to begin with?! This is why we have separation of church and state in the first place-to prevent these ridiculous civil wars of ideologies. This is why I do not associate myself with any religions or even atheists in the first place, because these people make me lose faith in humanity. I swear, it’s our religious beliefs that are going to do us in one day… but I digress.

    I think nothing should go on the courthouse lawn, but people can still decorate their properties with whatever they want. Celebrate the season however you want it, don’t tell me what to do. Besides, it’s not like I’m going to open my Christmas presents on the court lawn or anything. Do people even pray on the courthouse lawn? No? Then why so upset?

    If you kids can’t behave, mommy’s gonna have to take away all your nice things. Keep b*tching about it, and no more courthouse displays for you. That’s how I feel things should be.

    tl;dr Chillax everyone, shut up and enjoy the holidays.


    My bad, I didn’t realize there were Christian signs also up… sorry about that comment haha


    If this is allowed to be put up, a sign saying something about remembering the true reason for Christmas should also be put up.

    And for the record, there are two holidays that are widely celebrated: Christmas and Hanukkah… so Merry Christmas should not be considered offensive


    @Just a Thought,

    Are you making the suggestion that a single display that says


    I think the exhibits are an embarrassment to the County and the people and businesses of Leesburg who are associated by location.  It’s one thing to allow or disallow exhibits that celebrate the season or holiday, it’s quite another to allow exhibits that attack or mock other peoples faith, beliefs, or lack of beliefs.  It’s childish, and I appreciate the Jedi exhibit for pointing that out so clearly.

    Christmas is a Christian holiday.  Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday.  If you’re not of the faith of those or any other late December holiday, why do you care? 

    I’m a Christian, and I think ALL of the displays should be pulled down.  If our local government can’t rationally agree on how to represent the late December holidays respectfully (e.g. “Happy Holidays to All”), just don’t do it.  I know folks care about traditions, but the makeup of our country is changing and a little respect is needed.  And since we know politicians really just aren’t capable of that—leave the celebrations of religious holidays to individuals and churches.  Oh, and you Atheists—find your own holiday to celebrate, so you can stop being bitter about the others.


    Jonathan, Christmas is not the one and only holiday during this wonderful joyous holiday season. There is also St. Lucia


    @Jonathan and Charles and George and Jennifer and Mandy and Ginny and Virginia and whoever, it


    Christians want to display a manger scene because it is Christmas.

    Supervisor Stevens Miller and Mark Herring want atheists to be able to display anti-Christian messages on Christmas because they are anti-Christian.

    Mark Herring is also a champion for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender causes. If you do not believe this alarming fact, log on to http://www.votesmart.org/issue_rating_category.php?can_id=50846 and see the 100% rating he got from Equality Virginia, a radical leftist group that exists to advance the causes of bisexuals.

    Time for Herring to go.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


    Jonestown, Sirius is the bright star but as I stated, it revolves around the heaven like all the other stars.  The North Star, Polaris remaines fixed and has been the star to navigate by. In addition to the manger story many flaws, Roman records clearly show that the citizens didn’t return to their birth place to pay taxes, they paid where they lived like everyone else in the world, then and now.


    @andrew

    I have seen young children worship at the alter of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, but then they grow up and hate searchin’ for batteries and puttin’ toys together in the middle of the night just like the rest of us!

    And I don’t buy the bad writing skills thing.  Acting that dumb just serves your purpose in some way.


    @Andrew

    Your literacy level is appalling.  A strong and functional understanding of the English language (or any language for that matter) is a necessity in order to properly understand the problems inherent with the Bible.

    @Emmert Elsea

    The bright star in the east, is SIRIUS.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sirius

    The Three wise men are Orion’s belt.
    ζ Ori (Alnitak), ε Ori (Alnilam), and δ Ori (Mintaka)

    Those three stars have been called the three wise-men for a very long time (unknown) before the story of Christ.

    On or about the 23th of December, the three wise appear to be following the bright star in the east…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Orion_constelation_PP3_map_PL.jpg

    The SUNRISE (or birth of the Son) on December 25th, happens to have this scene play out perfectly… the constellation Virgo happens to be behind the sun (the Virgin bears the son).

    This is where solar deities get their common myth from… astronomical phenomena, not a nonsense story without purpose behind it. The purpose is just to communicate solar worship.


    Except you humble yourself as a child you shall not enter in to Heaven. I’ve seen young children accept Christ as there person Saviour, The i’ve seen the elderly.My dad was 56 when he got down on his knees an invited Christ into his life. All the pain he wented thur has passed, I ‘ve forgiven him, The very best person can not escape Hell an enter in to Heaven. Except he be born again.Lonnie Hamilton leader of Hell’s Angles in 1966, prinsoner. Bill Murray preaching the Gospel son of Madlan Murray Ohair athesist, Bill was a devote athesist help in his mother in Austin ,Texas with the Athesist magazine by his own testmonty recieve christ.I heared his life story it was tough.I’ve know a few Athesist Bible in Matthew says not all people will make it, Remerber the Lawyer, the rich man the poor me We have a free choice.TO all Athesis I’ve never bought a lottery ticket. God says in mark what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world an lose his own soul.I have no ideal where those people are that went on before me. God knows. A not believer can not understand Spirtual things wheter he ‘s an Athesist or not the same was true of me i was lost “DOING OWN THING” for my first 27 years.There are so many more things to know about, Than what a non believer can ever know. I’ve met great scientist that exhausted them selves an came to christ. Look at institute for Creation if if you’re smart enough to understand what the telling us an all God says is kneel at the cross, I guess my favorite story was the theif on the cross he repent an believe on the Lord Jesus as his personel saviour .He was not baptised, do you know why people get baptised ,it is not salvation.He did not belong to a church, Jesus said today you shall be with me in Pardise.


    @andrew

    Was that Mr. Maynard?  If so, he is a very sweet man.  If not, there are a lot of other sweet people over there.  In all honesty, I appreciate your efforts to reach out to these folks.  Many of them have very few family that come to visit.

    And I have seen a lot of other people in there who can’t pray, who can’t feed themselves, who can’t wipe themselves, who want nothing more than to die and be done with this world.  And I am reminded that if there truly was a loving god, he or she wouldn’t play such games with the lives of these people and their families.

    I don’t need God to tell me that it is a good thing to go over and see Mr. Maynard.  His big eyes and big smile when I greet him are all the encouragement that I need.


    I was at Hertiage Hall today hoping to encourage some folks. I was encourage whe i walk by a room an saw a man on his knees praying. I didn’t destrube him , i took a walk an came back an spoke with him he sais he was thank God for his food an a place to stay. We had a deep moving talk.


    Ref. the 3 wise men following a star, in the northern hemisphere all stare except Polaris, the North Star revolve in a circle in the celestial heaven in a 24 hour cycle.  To follow a star will cause you to walk in a circle so how wise could the


    Not everyone appreciates the protections provided to all sides by the First Amendment (1A) and fail to recognize the civility and stability that 1A imposes upon the religious majority. Under our Constitution, everyone is free to believe any ridiculous fable that they want, but they have no right to impose it upon the unconvinced or the unwilling, and certainly not by force of law. In return, they enjoy immunity from govt meddling and from any other religions overpowering them. What could possibly be fairer than that? Throw in a completely free ride on our tax dollars and an utter lack of courage by anyone in government to reign in their brazen charlatanry and their flagrantly anti-constitutional political entanglements, it is WAY beyond fair. However, given the violent and privileged past of established religion, and the golden days when they controlled power and wealth and had a license to kill, fair is a serious demotion. Aggressive proselytizing religion is poorly served by the Constitution’s prohibition against Establishment. They don’t like it and it doesn’t look like they consider the matter settled.


    @The Gospel…
    So, three wise men/kings from the East followed a star in the east and ended up in the West. How, exactly, does that work?


    @george
    You just boosted my respect for Mark Herring about 110%.


    About Mark Herring… (why is he even being discussed?)

    How is someone “anti-workers’ rights” if they vote the way a union would prefer they vote?

    Why should an interest group like Virginia FREE dictate to politicians how they should be supporting businesses? Sometimes, I gather, policy can not be (and should not be) written or configured to support ever business interest, but to protect the people FROM business interests.

    Supporting abortion is a “progressive” position… if you oppose it, especially seeing as Mark Herring seems to supports it, you are welcome to, just as he is. This topic isn’t relevant to his ability to govern, or provide sensible governance to the people. Each abortion is a personal choice, for or against it, of the mother.  Whether you are opposing on moral or natural grounds, the fact of the matter is that the mother of the potential child has to live with her decision. On religious grounds, SHE will have to live with her choice, and if you have faith, you know YOU aren’t the arbiter of transcendental matters.

    The Family Foundation is another (probably backed by religious charities) interest group.

    GLBT causes are “progressive” as well. You’re coming off as a neocon just by opposing those points of view without ANY room for progress. These people deserve equal protection, just like you do.

    Thank goodness for sensible progressive politicians… like Mark Herring.

    ALSO…

    What the heck does Mark Herring have to do with the article ON THIS PAGE?


    No one will ever convince me to vote for Dick Black, though. It’s not possible. He’s horrible, an insanely homophobic bigot, and should never be put in any sort of position of power. I can’t even believe some of the things that man has actually said. Please, Republicans, find a better candidate than Dick Black, I’m begging you, anyone but him (well, almost anyone…).


    @George:

    This thread has nothing to do with Mark Herring, but I see that you are going from thread to thread lying about Herring again.  You remind me so much of that compulsive liar, Virginia.  Any relation?

    Sounds like Herring has been ahead of the game and in sync with the Pentagon and other national leaders who recently ended discrimination against gays and lesbians in the military. Thank God for leaders who will stand up for the rights of all.

    Mark is all about family.  He has a beautiful family.

    You must be confused:  The AFL-CIO supports workers rights.  Mark does too.

    You sure abandoned that name, “Virginia” quickly.  Caught up in too much political bottom dwelling?


    @JMJ
    If you didnt want to believe that nonsense, would you believe it?

    @George a.k.a. mandy from ashburn a.k.a. virginia a.k.a. single mom taxpayer a.k.a. ashburn, etal
    Ok, we get it. You want us to vote for Herring’s opponent. If you didnt appear to be such a country bumpkin, you might convince someone.


    The Gospel According to Luke 2

    +++++++

    So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

    8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them,


    Mark Herring is among the most liberal members of the Virginia Senate.

    Mark Herring is anti-workers’ rights. Herring is one of the most anti-worker advocates in Virginia’s history, with a consistent 100% rating from AFL-CIO. From 2006-2010, on the votes that the Virginia AFL-CIO - Floor Votes considered to be the most important in 2010, Herring voted their preferred position no less than 100 percent of the time.

     

    Mark Herring is anti-business. Herring supported the interests of Virginia FREE - Vote Percentage only 50 percent in 2010. He is among the least supportive of Virginia’s business communty. Virginia FREE seeks to foster a well-informed business community that will take the lead in electing legislators who advance free enterprise and responsible, pro-business government.

     

    Mark Herring is a pro-abortion advocate who supports partial-birth abortion. Herring supported the interests of the Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia 100 percent in 2010. In 2009,Herring supported the interests of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia 100 percent in 2009.

     

    Mark Herring is anti-family. From 2008-2009, Herring supported the interests of The Family Foundation of Virginia only 30 percent in votes. The Family Foundation is dedicated to supporting Virginia’s families.

     

    Mark Herring is a champion for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender causes. In 2007, Senator Herring supported the interests of the Equality Virginia 100 percent in 2007. Equality Virginia Founded is an organization that advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Virginians.

     

     

    (source: http://www.votesmart.org/summary.php?can_id=50846)


    Religion, all religions and its practitioners are becoming more viral and dangerous.  We take the presence of religion to be natural, always there but this doesn’t have to be true.  Much of Europe has discarded these superstitions and so should we.  Most religious people have never heard or read a dissenting word on religion and the signs being erected by Loudoun Atheist and others hopefully will make some people pause, think, and just perhaps want to learn more about their belief system.  I am most interested in reaching the young people, to break that cycle of parent to child indoctrination, to choose reason over fables, science over superstition.  You can never know a truth until the false is exposed. 

    Most of us would like to see the court house lawn closed to all religious displays to maintain the separation of church and state.  Personally I don’t mind a Christmas scene off public property but here I see it as an opportunity to say to people, “wait a minute, that was not what science and evidence tells us now”.  The Christmas holiday has its origins in the pagan celebration of the winter solstices as most people already know, and many non-Christian groups have celebrated this time of year for thousands of years before Christianity, and continue to do so. Christ certainly was not born in the winter months as the shepherds were in the fields tending their flocks according to the Bible. This, then and now only occurs in the spring.  So we all should take this time and enjoy the season, spend time with friends and family,  and if we must, garnish it with whatever myths we like, but not at the exclusion of others. 
    The real saviors and heroes among us are our teachers. As Robert Ingersoll once so correctly stated


    @Mr. Wingrove:

    “Now that the atheist community


    @Mr. Wingrove:

    So incredibly well put. So thoughtful on the constitutional issues.  So correct in the anyalysis of the reactions.  I gather a lot of these folks value the Constitution most of the year, but they would just like to set it aside for the period between Thanksgiving and New Years each year.


    On the advice of the Council, I have been advised to refrain from comments that shame the Jedi Order.

    Though comical, my previous statements weren’t made in the interest of bringing about peaceful coexistence between people of differing belief systems.

    As a unifying and peaceful informational gesture, which might be interesting to some of you (no matter what you believe), this is a rare solstice, one with a full Lunar Eclipse. Apparently, this hasn’t happened in 632 years. Enjoy it tonight, if you’re in Loudoun, you will have quite a sight!

    I hope the season finds you well, and may the force be with you all.


    Yep, the signs are up and life goes on. Some might even suggest that this is America at it’s best - opposing ideas battling it out on the town square. Of course, it’s not quite as adorable as it seems. The religious community have always assumed special rights and have received privileged access, all the while confusing free exercise with free speech, taking it for a blank check and assuming it superceded the rights of all others. Now that the atheist community’s right to equal access has been acknowledged, the religious community seems somewhat less enamored with free speech. This fair and balanced approach to opinions on religion has caused some on the religious side to forget their manners, to become belligerent, and to make not-very-thinly veiled ‘second amendment’ threats, reminding us exactly why it is necessary for those in the secular community to challenge religious mythology on the town square.


    Well, gullible ones, the signs are up there now.
    Do you have any cogent arguments in response to their messages?


    @A UNITED STATES CITIZEN

    First off, it’s quite presumptuous of you to think you know what they feel or believe deep down inside. And second, one atheist is hardly a representation for all the rest of us.


    I look at this thread and what do I see?
    A man named Virginia as dumb as can be.
    He farts on himself and screams that it stinks
    Points a finger at Herring, looks at you and

    winks ;)


    I’ve known this atheist all my life and this person has not changed, says one thing believes another deep down inside.

    Thank Goodness is not in this person vocabulary.


    @A UNITED STATES CITIZEN

    They probably also say “bless you” when someone sneezes. It’s a learned habit, don’t fool yourself into thinking there is something deeper in it. Saying “Thank God” is a thing new atheists especially must get used to not saying. It took me a while to shift to saying “thank goodness” as a replacement.


    I look over Loudoun and how she is fairing,
    I see shuttered buildings and tax hikes from Herring,
    And what kind of candidate now shall he be?
    Amazing, a fiscal conservative he!

    I look back on Loudoun, how great she once was,
    With businesses booming and workers abuzz,
    But then came the Dem, and our soul he did sell,
    To Mr. Obama and Emanuel.

    I look over Loudoun, and will she do well?
    Our jobs gone to China and China to hell.
    The Democrat Piper has led us astray,
    The Democrat lawyer has nothing to say.

    I look over Loudoun and how to restore,
    The wealth of the rich and the hope of the poor,
    The dreams of our Children and the peace of our old.
    Republican! Take up this cause of the bold!


    @UnitedStatesCitizen:

    No.


    Atheist, I know one and the funny thing is every time this person hears of an accident where no one is hurt, this person always says “Thank God”.

    That says it all, don’t you think


    @Cursed Seed of Cain
    Atheists don’t “fool” with religion.  Religious people “fool” with us and we reply.  If Christians didn’t try leveraging government to push their dogma, we would be quiet.

    With biology and government, it’s zealots who are doing the pushing.  It’s just that they’re not used to having any real opposition.  That’s why they consider any critique or alternate view to be “insensitive” or an “attack on Christmas”.  Really, they get offended at stores that say “Happy Holiday”, as if Christians are the only ones celebrating this time of year.  Why do you think they push the motto “In God We Trust” over “E Pluribus Unum”, the original motto?  Instead of “From many, one”, they’d rather have “Christians, and those others” as the national motto.


    Merry Solstice, the REAL reason for the season.

    No @Virginia, Jesus isn’t the reason.  Solstice was celebrated for thousands of years before Christians took over the holiday.  That’s why it still has so many pagan symbols in it, just like Easter does.  Oh, you probably still think Jesus is the real reason for Easter celebrations, too.  Sure, bunnies and eggs for Jesus… yeah, right.

    Maybe that’s why the Christians here are so angry and thin skinned.  They hate having people reminded that their holidays are plagiarized.


    Atheists fooling with religious issues is like Fundamentalists messing with biology.  Know when to leave it alone.


    Well, I reckon I do et like a pig durin’ the hollerdays.  Kirsten an others of ye - I shore am grateful for the histoeree lessons.  I wonder if’n you know if them Old Time Pagans pitched a big ole hissie fit when them furst Christshuns a horned in their Solstice Hollerday?  I heared tell them furst Christshuns jest burned some of them thar Pagans at the steak and Druids too and Gnostics too and thar Jew brothers too an a buch more too?  Yep, that thar are what I heared tell and all in the name of that thar sweet lovin’ Jesus feller too.

    Happy Hollerdays!


    *accuracy)


    @IN GOD WE TRUST

    Atheists aren’t pigs. Your arguments lack support (not to mention grammar and spelling accuracy, they’re just stemming from your own personal beliefs which are in no way verifiable and therefore inappropriate for a public setting. You are entitled to believe whatever you want, it’s your right as an American same as me, but people aren’t suddenly “pigs” just because they disagree with you.

    Christmas is a holiday Christians borrowed and renamed, (centuries after Jesus supposedly lived, I might add), and there is little evidence to suggest Jesus was born in December. Christ isn’t the actual reason for this holiday season. Religions much older than Christianity already celebrated this time of the year, Christians just jumped in and made every effort to be bigger and better and louder than the others and now they think they own all of winter celebration. If Christians get to put up displays at the courthouse, we Atheists have every right to as well. Equal representation of ideas, not having one be more or less promoted than the other - that is what is fair, whether you approve or not.


    Actually, that was meant to say “pigs”, not “pis”.


    Pis? Moral degenrates? Really? Did you learn that in church? If so, the people who tell you what to think, have given you some pretty stupid information.


    @In God We Trust:

    Didn’t you mean to say “Merry Christmas, you pigs”?

    Maybe you would set yourself on fire for Jesus. Then again, maybe you would just see him as a dirty hippie.


    To In God We Trust:
    Why are you so full of hate? Pigs? Do you really feel that is the way Jesus would have you treat a non-believer?


    @redneckagnostic

    Name fits you…and yes I would set myself on fire for Jesus, an atheist pig like you would never stand up and fight or die for what they believe in.  Your a coward pig of the worst kind, you and your atheist pigs have ruined this country and it’s moral fiber….Leave Christmas alone and find your own Atheist holiday.  What do you and your pigs get out of spoiling a Christian holiday for those that do believe? 

    Merry Christmas


    Bob, don’t be so territorial and angry. just because i am an atheist doesn’t mean that i can’t appreciate the good aspects of the christian religion. i strive to keep an open mind to appreciate peace, love, joy, kindness, and beauty no matter the source.


    The amount of judgment and hatred displayed by the “Christians” here is amazing. It is not for man to decide who sins and who is righteous, it is for God. “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”


    @Virginia.

    Mark Herring does not support “partial birth abortion” which is a term invented by Christians. Mark Herring supports an abortion procedure which Christians defined as “partial birth abortion.”

    For you to post information like this that is false at worse and misleading at best is unacceptable.


    An atheist writing a letter from God.  Doesn’t sound like someone who doesn’t believe in God, but instead thinks they are God.  From a 30,000 ft. view it looks like they are provoking the very thing they claim to be trying to prevent.  It would be better to have no displays than to allow mockery.  God isn’t after such displays and He doesn’t require anyone to write a letter from Him, especially someone who claims not to believe in Him.


    Mark Herring supports partial birth abortion.


    Back in August, those who wanted the displays to continue on the courthouse grounds were delighted to have the ACLU on their side. Here are some typical comments from this site, in response to those who argued that all displays should be prohibited:

    “If we are to protect individual freedom, we must protect the ability of all to express their opinions, whether we personally agree or not.Allowing freedom isn


    By Victoria:

    “A lot of Christians have been misrepresenting Mark Herring


    A lot of Christians have been misrepresenting Mark Herring’s position on partial birth abortion.

    He does support this procedure, however, only when a doctor can verify it is in the best interest of the patient.


    1785
    To the Honorable the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia  
    A Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments

    We the subscribers , citizens of the said Commonwealth, having taken into serious consideration, a Bill printed by order of the last Session of General Assembly, entitled “A Bill establishing a provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion,” and conceiving that the same if finally armed with the sanctions of a law, will be a dangerous abuse of power, are bound as faithful members of a free State to remonstrate against it, and to declare the reasons by which we are determined. We remonstrate against the said Bill,

    1) Because we hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, “that religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.” The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right. It is unalienable, because the opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated by their own minds cannot follow the dictates of other men: It is unalienable also, because what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator. It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour [sic] of the Universe: And if a member of Civil Society, do it with a saving of his allegiance to the Universal Sovereign. We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man’s right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance. True it is, that no other rule exists, by which any question which may divide a Society, can be ultimately determined, but the will of the majority; but it is also true that the majority may trespass on the rights of the minority.

    9) Because the proposed establishment is a departure from the generous policy, which, offering an Asylum to the persecuted and oppressed of every Nation and Religion, promised a lustre to our country, and an accession to the number of its citizens. What a melancholy mark is the Bill of sudden degeneracy? Instead of holding forth an Asylum to the persecuted, it is itself a signal of persecution. It degrades from the equal rank of Citizens all those whose opinions in Religion do not bend to those of the Legislative authority. Distant as it may be in its present form from the Inquisition, it differs from it only in degree. The one is the first step, the other the last in the career of intolerance. The magnanimous sufferer under this cruel scourge in foreign Regions, must view the Bill as a Beacon on our Coast, warning him to seek some other haven, where liberty and philanthropy in their due extent, may offer a more certain respose [sic] from his Troubles.

    15) Because finally, “the equal right of every citizen to the free exercise of his Religion according to the dictates of conscience” is held by the same tenure with all our other rights. If we recur to its origin, it is equally the gift of nature; if we weigh its importance, it cannot be less dear to us; if we consult the “Declaration of those rights which pertain to the good people of Virginia, as the basis and foundation of Government,” it is enumerated with equal solemnity, or rather studied emphasis. Either the, we must say, that the Will of the Legislature is the only measure of their authority; and that in the plenitude of this authority, they may sweep away all our fundamental rights; or, that they are bound to leave this particular right untouched and sacred: Either we must say, that they may controul [sic] the freedom of the press, may abolish the Trial by Jury, may swallow up the Executive and Judiciary Powers of the State; nay that they may despoil us of our very right of suffrage, and erect themselves into an independent and hereditary Assembly or, we must say, that they have no authority to enact into the law the Bill under consideration.

    We the Subscribers say, that the General Assembly of this Commonwealth have no such authority: And that no effort may be omitted on our part against so dangerous an usurpation, we oppose to it, this remonstrance; earnestly praying, as we are in duty bound, that the Supreme Lawgiver of the Universe, by illuminating those to whom it is addressed, may on the one hand, turn their Councils from every act which would affront his holy prerogative, or violate the trust committed to them: and on the other, guide them into every measure which may be worthy of his [blessing, may re]dound to their own praise, and may establish more firmly the liberties, the prosperity and the happiness of the Commonwealth.

    The entire document can be read here:  http://religiousfreedom.lib.virginia.edu/sacred/madison_m&r_1785.html


    Ah yes, the word of Thomas Jefferson. 

    The problem is, the people protesting this are the same people trying to take Jefferson out of history books in Texas.  Fighting tooth and nail to try and turn this place into a theocracy.


    Yes, and for those who want the Truth, here is a link to a strong letter from Ken Reid, supporting Chrismas holiday displays at the courthouse.

    http://mommylife.net/archives/2009/11/ken_reid_on_lee.html


    Ass a subpart of this, did anyone notice that Ken Reid refused to support a motion at the Leesburg Town Council two weeks ago, that would have used the words “Christmas Tree” and “Marry Christmas” in a Christmas program.  What’s up with that one?


    Darn, InGodWeTrust!  You ain’t goin’ to set yerself on far and die for Jesus over a nativity scene at the Courthouse are ye?  I mean, I cain’t hardly stand you at all, but I don’t want ye to be a harmin’ yerself nor nothin.  It ain’t worth it.  Just find ye a nice Nativity scene on some: 

    PRIVATE PROPERTY!


    “yall would protest” sounds like you need to get back in your pickup truck with your gun rack in the back window and your chewing tabacco handy with your overalls and your baseball cap turned backwards and go back to the hills from which you came.


    the reason i protest christianity is because of the hypocrisy you practitioners exert. you’re supposed to live like christ yet you have extravagant lives, you have it all. if a modern day jesus were to tell you to release all of your material things, yall would protest. ill check back in when you’re all in missions trying your all to improve peoples lives in sudan or chad instead of sitting behind a computer b*tching about a sign. also, if you’re a christian and you respond to this post instead of getting off your rear end and living like christ then you’re living in sin.

    have a nice day.


    MERRY CHRISTMAS PEACE AND GOODWILL TOWARD MEN


    Well aware that Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do; that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world, and through all time; that to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and is withdrawing from the ministry those temporal rewards, which proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct, are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labors for the instruction of mankind; that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, more than our opinions in physics or geometry; that, therefore, the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to the offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which in common with his fellow citizens he has a natural right; that it tends also to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing, with a monopoly of worldly honors and emoluments, those who will externally profess and conform to it; that though indeed these are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles, on the supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency, will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own; that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order; and finally, that truth is great and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them.

    Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

    And though we well know this Assembly, elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, have no powers equal to our own and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable would be of no effect in law, yet we are free to declare, and do declare, that the rights hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.

    —The Virginia Act For Establishing Religious Freedom: written in 1779; passed by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1786


    @Vagany222
    Your question:
    “Why would god let those children go to hell, or even to be dead in the first place?”

    Because all living things die you nutbag. God promised (for those that believe) everlasting life and love for all.  Not here with demons, pegans and Atheists such as you.  Something that you would and could never understand, hell, you can’t even understand that Christmas is a Christian holiday.  The point of this thread you demon is that Christians should have the right to have Christmas decorations for all Christians to see.  We look at your #### on Halloween night.  Hell I even give candy out…..xoxoxox


    Nobody is trying to take anybody’s Christmas. This is not about that at all. And this is not a debate about which of the 350 million religions of this world is the accurate one. It’s not even about which of the 30 thousand christian religions is the accurate one. It is about America, freedom, and the constitution.

    The establishment clause of the first amendment lays out the importance of keeping religion and government separate. This clause is not worded in terms easily understood by the average person. As a matter of fact, to address serious concerns of the Danbury Connecticut Baptist Organization, Thomas Jefferson personally sent a letter in 1802 explaining in more detail the purpose of this clause. He explained that their fears of this being an anti religious clause were incorrect and that it is not anti religious at all. He explained it was meant to put a “wall” between religion and government.

    The Clause itself, and that letter written by Thomas Jefferson that further clarifies the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment in the Constitution has been the subject of many cases in the Supreme Court. It is in this arena that the phrase “Separation of Church and State” was coined and was not used in one case but in a series of cases throughout the years in the Supreme Court in reference to the Clause and the Letter.

    That is what this is about folks. Nobody wants to fight over whether Christmas is the true holiday. The fighting is not who gets the season. Fighting is not the platform of the season regardless of your faith. Preventing that fighting is behind the effort to eliminate all displays at government property, as was Thomas Jefferson’s wish via the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution.


    @JediKnight

    You need serious help to overcome your Starwars years.

    To all the other so called Christians here…..Do you know that Christians are allowed to get angry and upset?  Do you know that most will stand up for what they believe in and even die for that?  I don’t think there is any nice way to let these freaks know that trying to take away Christmas decorations and all the Christmas spirit from Christians is a personal attack.

    For the richest county in America….this county has the poorest of morals.


    IN GOD WE TRUST
    When Caraleisa goes to hell and you’re standing there with your sign, will your soul be holding it, or will you have hands? If hands, will you have an entire body? Why would god let those children go to hell, or even to be dead in the first place?
    Did you ever really think what the afterlife you believe in will actually look like, assuming you have eyes? It’s a FANTASY you moron. You’ll be worm food.


    @Caraleisa
    your remark:
    “I


    Truth
    I agree with Katy Wilson aka Virginia aka ashburn aka Mandy from ashburn aka single mom taxpayer, etc: They should keep their labels: conservative christian republican party. That’s where the ignorance and mental disfunction belongs.


    Wow, lots of vile acrimony from the crisschins.


    @ CARALEISA

    ~ The only real blind person at Christmas-time is he who has not Christmas in his heart. ~
      Helen Keller

    No one threatened you, just the suggestion of cross burning proves your a biggot…..However, you as an Atheist make me sick,you and your Pegan friends try to take Christmas joy from the hearts of Christians…Cant you find your own holiday like Halloween or something? 

    Mkelley…luv your poem!


    Nolabels.org is just an attempt by the left to disguise the fact that they are still the same liberal (just like Reid, Pelosi or Obama) and they have refused to learn anything from the past election.  I think I’ll keep my label!


    @Virginia:

    There you are again, spouting invective and falsehoods that you refuse to back up with evidence.  This is the third time you have been asked to produce even some minimal shred of support for your lies.  There is a reason you don’t provide it.  You can’t.  It is not there.

    It is political bottom feeders that pervert the political process.  Want to reform government and be done with devisive cynics like “Virginia?”  Go to:

    www.nolabels.org

    No Left.  No Right.  Forward


    It is troubling that Mark Herring and Stevens Miller would support this attack against Christianity under the guise of free speech.

    I was watching the news lasy night and learned that a terrorist organization had said they are planning to attach the USA specifically, specifically on Christmas. Recently, members of this organization, living among us in our community, were arrested to planning terrorist activities designed to kill Americans riding the metro.

    Can anyone tell me why a terrorist organization would want to attack the USA specifically, specifically on Christmas?

    Can anyone tell me why Supervisor Stevens Miller permitted anti-Christian organizations to line up and attack the manger scene, Christmas and Christianity with hostile words and messages, under the guise of free speech, under the guise of not wanting a local governing board to seem like it was endorsing Christianity on Christmas which has already been declared by our government to be a national holiday? Can anyone tell me why Mark Herring is supporting this anti-Christian initiative with his silence?


    Twas the month before Christmas*
    *When all through our land,*
    *Not a Christian was praying*
    *Nor taking a stand.*
    *See the PC Police had taken away,*
    *The reason for Christmas - no one could say.*
    *The children were told by their schools not to sing,*
    *About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.*
    *It might hurt people’s feelings, the teachers would say*
    * December 25th is just a ’ Holiday ‘.*
    *Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit*
    *Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!*
    *CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod*
    *Something was changing, something quite odd! *
    *Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa*
    *In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.*
    *As Targets were hanging their trees upside down*
    * At Lowe’s the word Christmas - was no where to be found.*
    *At K-Mart and Staples and Penney’s and Sears*
    *You won’t hear the word Christmas; it won’t touch your ears.*
    *Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty*
    *Are words that were used to intimidate me.*
    *Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen*
    *On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !*
    *At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter*
    *To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.*
    *And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith*
    * Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace*
    *The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded*
    *The reason for the season, stopped before it started.*
    *So as you celebrate ‘Winter Break’ under your ‘Dream Tree’*
    *Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.*
    *Choose your words carefully, choose what you say*
    *Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS ,
    not Happy Holiday !*
    Please, all Christians join together and
    wish everyone you meet during the holidays a

    MERRY CHRISTMAS

    Christ is The Reason for the Christ-mas Season!


    I’ve been a lifetime resident of Loudoun County for almost 50 years.  Nothing surprises me these days.  Things started getting bad when Dale Polen Myers was in office and now we can proudly call the the folks in Ashburn the “Most Offensive in the Nation”!  Good Job!  I think I would rather have it when there were just farmers and fields; I really don’t care for what has taken over there today.

    As I grew up, on the Western (and yes, the “Blessed” side of this county), there was always a Nativity Scene in the Court Yard and if someone had a different belief they didn’t look at it and waited for it to come down on the day after New Years.  No one got their panties in a wrinkle, and we all respected one another.  If you hate Christians would you kindly move back to wherever you came from or atleast wait until after January 2nd to put whatever you want up at the Courthouse?

    Merry Christmas & Peace, Katy


    Happy Holidays is not an attempt to “ruin Christmas”, frankly, if you lose your “peace that passes understanding” that easily, you should probably review your priorities.

    Happy Holidays is simply an attempt to wish joy to all of the many diverse religions that celebrate during this time of year.  From Hanukkah, to Yule, to Christmas, to Kwanza.  It is supposed to be a way to wish joy to all of our community, without making assumptions that everyone is just like us.

    So, my dear friends, dive into that love (you know the one that Christ spoke of?  The one that got a whole chapter dedicated to it?)pull your heads out of your…winter caps…and wish peace and good will to your fellow man.

    Personally? I say “live long and prosper”. =-)


    Appeasement and political correctness: Look where it’s gotten the American way.

    We now are racist if we speak out against our government, against any religion, against a difference of opinion and so forth.  Appeasement and political correctness have destroyed simple joys in life and it has also run its ugly head here at the Leesburg Court House.

    America was founded on Judo-Christian foundations and not any other basis. All Americans should raise their voices to protect these values instead of allowing a select few to run shot gun over the rest of us. Without our voices appeasement and political correctness will kill America.

    Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. Be safe in all your travels during the remainder of the year and have a safe and happy 2011.


    @Virginia:  Just as I predicted - you are incapable of substantiating your untruthful comments about Herring or anyone else.  However, you are skilled at repeating the same unsubstantiated mantra of a political animal willing to distort his opponent’s record with lies and obfuscation.  You represent the politics that all Americans loathe no matter their political party.

    Can you produce a quote to back up anything you have said?  Or are you hoping like most politicians - to keep throwing things out there in hopes that they will stick?  Show us the evidence for your comments if you have it.  We are waiting. :)


    The purpose of the American Constitution is to guarantee freedoms, not take them away.

    Herring and Stevens Miller and the Liberal Left have used the national holiday of Christmas as an occassion to remove all expressions of Christmas from the public forum. Herring is hiding this implicit contradiction under a guise of interdenominationalism.

    This is troubling.

    Is there something wrong with celebrating Christmas at Christmas? Since the state has declared Christmas a national holiday, is there something wrong with placing a manger scene on public property or the courthouse lawn? It would seem on its face that this is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, since it is Christmas, and those who wish to celebrate


    The purpose of the American Constitution is to guarantee freedoms, not take them away.

    Herring and Stevens Miller and the Liberal Left have used the national holiday of Christmas as an occassion to remove all expressions of Christmas from the public forum. Herring is hiding this implicit contradiction under a guise of interdenominationalism.

    This is absurd and troubling.

    Is there something wrong with celebrating Christmas at Christmas? Since the state has declared Christmas a national holiday, is there something wrong with doning a manger scene on public property or the courthouse lawn? It would seem on its face that this is a perfectly reasonable thing, and those who wish to celebrate “Jedi-ism” with some display alongside a manger scene at Christmas on the courthouse lawn and jokers. And it seems that lawmakers like Stevens Miller and Herring who attempt to resolve this issue by supporting a total ban of eveything, including Christian symbols during Christmas, are essentially attacking Christmas.

    Now Herring claims to be a Christian. So does Obama. I suppose the two men are that type of Christian who is also everything else.

    Do you suppose this is what our Founders and elected predecessors intended when they established Christmas as a national holiday?

    I suppose, in establishing Christmas as a national holiday, they intended there to be no such public displays of Christmas during Christmas. There could only be private ones. If there were one manger scene, then let’s just shut the whole thing down. This must have been their intention.

    The problem with the Liberal Left is they cannot think, even in the simplest of ways.

    We need good legislators here in Loudoun.

    Vote Dick Black for Senate, and vote Republican.


    @Virginia:  you seem to be channeling Joseph McCarthy.  Perhaps all of our elected officials should have to pass your religion test.  Oh, that was the whole point of the Constitution - preventing such things.

    Lots of flame-throwing people like you bowed out of this discussion when asked to quote Stevens Miller or Mark Herring to support their false statements about them.  So, let’s see what you have got.  Miller was trying to protect the Courthouse grounds from the circus that is appearing and he never singled out mangers.  Herring has never commented because it has been a BOS/local courthouse issue.  He has no vote in the matter.

    Herring is a Presbyterian - probably not good enough for you since you seem to know how everyone should believe.  But then again it is none of your business anyway.

    The fascinating thing is that had Stevens Miller’s vote been the majority vote, this thread wouldn’t even exist and people would simply enjoy the thousands of Christmas decorations adorning private properties all over this County.  All of this whining over a Courthouse location. Given your comments and those of many others, I don’t think it is Christians blowing a gasket.  It is just old fashioned partisan politicians bent on finding an angle.  Completely bizarre and selfish really.

    But still, I wish you a very Merry Christmas.


    Humanism seeks to get rid of Christianity, to absorb it into itself.

    Mark Herring is a humanist.

    I guess that also makes humanism the religion of tax and spend liberals.


    Humanism is a religion.


    Mark Herring, Stevens Miller and Obama have adopted positions which are against Christianity.

    All of them are ambiguous on which religion they follow. They seem to follow all religions.

    Three years ago, Obama was Christian. Last year, he did not go to Church. This year, he was raised as an ardent Muslim. Today, he says he leans to the West.

    What religion is Herring?

    It is troubling that the Liberal Left attacks the federal holiday of Christmas with public displays of everything.

    This is like insisting on having public proclamations of the greatness of Ghandi, on Martin Luther King Day, then saying there should be nothing so everyone is equal.

    I will never get over the logic of the Liberal Left and the Democrats today. Their brains are made of mush.

    I believe in Christ and in Christmas and I believe Christmas is an excellent holiday.

    Christmas is the Holiday of Holidays.

    Supervisor Stevens Miller voted to prohibit a manger scene. We should all feel sorry for him.

    How troubling.

    At a time when so many of us are finding it hard to even purchase gifts for our children this Christmas, he takes a stand against the Christ child at Bethlehem.


    @caraleisa:  I don’t want to be too forward or anything, but, well, if you aren’t already a JediKnight would you consider going to JediKnight School for the Spring Semester?  I think I am going to get in and it would just be cool if there was somebody there that I knew at least kind of sort of and you seem really smart and all.

    Anyway.  Think about it.


    @ InGodWeTrust - Let’s see. One more time. We atheists have fought for the right for you Christians to have your creche, and we simply want others who also celebrate this holiday season to be able to participate. YOu, on the other hand, have been threating me and calling me all sorts of names because you wish to prevent equality for all. Now, you threaten me with a gun? What sort of Jesus do you follow? Not the one I’ve heard tell about.

    Let’s say it all together now… Equality means everyone gets a seat at the same table. Or water fountain… or bus.

    I find the KKK abhorrent. I find the mindset that anyone is better than anyone else abhorrent whether it comes from skin color, nationality, sexuality or belief. 

    I’ll continue to fight for YOUR right to have your creche, IGWT. But I won’t allow you to force me into second class status, no matter what your color or temperment.


    @JediKnight!  Dude, I knew it!  I knew you had to be OIF! 

    And two things:

    First, thank you for defending our Constitution and our right to speak our minds about the proper uses of the courthouse grounds through your military service.

    Second, how can I join the JediKnights and fight for the Constitution, Free Speech, integrity and justice with more people like you?


    I went to college, drank a ton of beer, slept with a bunch of extremely beautiful and intelligent women, surfed in Hawaii and Australia, taught modern naval warfare science at the Naval Post-graduate school in Monterey, CA,  hiked the Taquesi trail in Bolivia, took in a play in Vienna, Austria twice, helped establish a fund for a little boy in Panama City, Fl who was dignosed with a rare bone disease, and finally had two awesome boys who love me more than Luke Skywalker.  Merry Xmas and kiss your katana for me Jedi Warrior!


    I happen to be an honorably discharged US Army veteran with several medals, I served in both OIF and OEF… I defended the Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic. I wielded an M16 and an M9, I also have close-quarter knife combat training (Sayoc Kali), and from time to time I practice various kendo techniques with my katana.

    What, exactly, have you done? @ThereIsNoJediInXmas


    You don’t seem like a Jedi Knight to me.  When is the last time you wielded a sword or weapon and actually defended your country or your honor.  A Jedi of the Poser degree is what I yield ye.


    @Truth, yeah, I’ve noticed correcting spelling only enrages people… but that was a gross misuse of the brain that this “God” supposedly gave InGodWeTrust.

    @InGodWeTrust

    The power of the dark side has seduced you. The usage of ad hominem attacks and veiled threats is a clear indicator of the dark side’s hold on you. Fight it. Do not succumb to hatred. Do not give in to the anger.  You assume that the suffering I spoke of is YOUR suffering.  Your hatred (nutbag, biggot[sp?]) causes other people suffering… and it is that suffering that will eventually be your own undoing.

    Know these are the words of a Jedi:

    “The courthouses of our grand republic should remain religiously neutral, as to promote a fair and equally accessible system that all people or species, regardless of religious belief or lack thereof, can receive unbiased dispensation of justice… throughout the galaxy.”


    And, umm, it is spelled, b-i-g-o-t


    @InGodWeTrust

    Blessed are the peacemakers and Love your neighbor as yourself.  Jesus is purported to have said these and many other loving/forgiving things. He never told anyone to put up Christmas trees and creches.  And he certainly never instructed anyone to act in the manner that you are acting.

    Maybe just try to be more like Jesus at Christmas.  It could do your Spirit good.


    @jediknight

    Are you kidding me?  Inflicting fear?  really? I can be angry and not suffer…nutbag.  The only darkside here is you bunch of biggot atheists that want to take away beautiful Christians displays from a public place at Christmas time.  The only Darkside here is you and your nutbag friends.

    Merry Christmas and God bless you and your atheist biggot friends!


    Merry Solstice!

    The REAL reason for the season


    @In God We Trust (black one) [huh?]

    You have turned to the dark side with that last comment…

    The right to bear arms, doesn’t give you the right to threaten your neighbors with a display of firearms with obvious hostility.  Inflicting fear upon your neighbors is not civil…

    Fear is the path to the dark side… Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.


    Caraleisa…..

    If you were my neighbor I might need to turn to the “right to bear arms” clause in the constitution.

    Merry Christmas and God Bless you!


    @ TruthtoParanoiacs

    Let’s say it together…ready…set….go….

    Christmas if for Christians! (didn’t want to blow out another eyeball)....so I small cased it for the control freak.

    Damn right I’am angry….there should be no 80 posts here…nothing on the courthouse yard at Christmas except Christmas decorations….all others can pick another day for their religious beliefs.  The can put up their crap on another day.


    Caraleisa….what’s this #### with “blow a gasket” and “blew out an eyeball” ??  Blacks on the bus??  Nothing blown out here, just can’t believe your stupidity….CHRISTMAS IS A CHRISTIAN HOLIDAY…ALL OTHERS CAN STAY HOME OR NOT PARTICIPATE…...I am so glad your not my neighbor…you would feel you have the right to burn a cross in my front yard…nutbag.


    Whew, I think InGodWeTrust just blew out an eyeball! I see that s/he is one seriously charming person I would love to have as my next door neighbor… no doubt anything I did would receive a screaming, abusive and vulgar ranting. Come on, does anyone think that someone who writes like this actually keeps it only to this one topic?

    Louis A - regarding picking a different day. Thanks for at least asking a question. First, there are Humanist ads run all year round. They’re expensive though, so you won’t see a ton of them at any time of year.

    As for picking a different day - well, Christians have coopted the entire month plus - from Thanksgiving through New Year as belonging to them- to Christians only. It’s not about one day, it’s about some six weeks! That’s precisely why so many other groups should be represented - nearly all theologies and non-theist groups celebrate at this time of year. Do you mind seeing a menorah alongside the creche? What about Santa? Santa Claus is a completely, totally secular concept and actually is contrary to the ‘holy nature of the nativity’. But, that doesn’t bother you, does it? So, what is it about non-theists making a statement - just like the statement made by Christians, that really is so upsetting? You pretty much ignore the menorah - because you are USED to it. You haven’t got a problem allowing Jews equal rights (well most of you don’t) because they fought hard to be a part of the holiday time. We are doing so as well.

    I celebrate the secular aspects of Christmas with my family and friends. I send holiday cards, and put up a lovely tree in my home. I support and respect the rights of others to celebrate Christmas (or Hannukah, or Kwaanza, or whatever) at the same time as I celebrate the holidays… the DATE isn’t what we’re celebrating, it’s the closeness with family, the joys of sharing, the pleasures of being with friends that we also love~ so why can’t YOU accept our right to enjoy the time, too?

    That’s really what this is about. It’s NOT about denying Christmas at all. It’s about being ‘allowed’ to enjoy ourselves, too. And it is going to happen, because our Constitution guarantees that we are also allowed to celebrate our own beliefs.

    This is no different than permitting blacks on the bus. We intend to ride as well. We believe that everyone can fit on the bus and that no one, NO one, has the right to demand a the bus of the state be turned into their own private limousine. We’ve all got the right to vote, and the right to celbrate as we see fit.


    @InGodWeTrust:  seems like you are an angry sort.  There would be no reason to even have this discussion if people would understand that their various holidays do not need to be played out on the Courthouse Grounds. My goodness, there are thousands of houses and businesses all decorated up for Christmas throughout this County. There is no shortage of Christian displays. Frankly, I think these diplays are very pretty (sometimes a little tacky too).

    However, I just don’t want to see one more display on the Courthouse grounds - not from any faith. 

    Think about it. Maybe you would consider joining us in our effort to make the Courthouse grounds off limits to religious displays on any kind.

    And Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours.


    his comment from Embrey:

    “I


    TO ALL THE Atheists, Jews, Mormons, Hindus, Monks, etc….. CAN YOU PLEASE FIND ANOTHER DAY BESIDES December 25th to deface???????  Bunch of Pigs….Take this thread down….makes me vomit….IN GOD WE TRUST, THE DOLLAR IN YOUR FRIGGIN POCKET!  You have the right to do and say what you want, but no on Christmas…..pigs.


    Atheists -

    Why is it that Christmas is the only time of the year when you suddenly find your voices with the intent of disparaging an event that brings so much joy to others?  Why don’t I see Humanist ads on Metro buses in July?  You have the right to believe (or not) whatever you want, but such actions just strike me as the work of lonely, bitter people.

    Merry Christmas!


    There are many false prophets!


    Dear Neighbor,

    It is with sadness that I say thank you for sharing this link.  Truly, it is a reminder of how hateful some people can be.  This church behaves in this way in the name of Jesus. 

    Blessed are the peace makers. . . and may Peace infuse us all in the New Year.


    “That


    I’d like to use this forum to thank followers of all religions for their continuous open-minded support of a brilliant young atheist. This week’s Time Magazine chose Founder of Facebook, and atheist, Mark Zuckerburg, as the Person Of The Year.


    God, I love this Country!  Even the Free Speech and Religious Expression of us Redneck Commie Freaks is protected by our Constitution.


    @IN GOD WE TRUST

    Before Christmas existed, the holiday was called “Saturnalia”... Technically, the holiday is a celebration of the “winter solstice”. When I greet people, or suggest a greeting to others, I offer… “Happy Solstice!” as a perfect alternative.

    “In God We Trust” wasn’t on the dollar until February 12th 1964.
    https://ustreas.gov/education/fact-sheets/currency/in-god-we-trust.shtml

    Yes, thank you Christians for starting America.  Your forefathers’ strong commitment to the high-minded ideals of secular government are commendable, and deserve yours and our (atheists) admiration and respect… however, don’t kid yourselves… “Christendom” literally ran the entire western world… didn’t atheists throughout antiquity suffer severe persecution at the hands of bloodthirsty Christian mobs?

    Please keep your view of history in perspective.  If Christianity wasn’t the only game in town back then, you might start to have a case…


    My goodness, “In god we trust”, you might blow a gasket! Calm down… and then try to answer two questions.

    1. Which group is advocating that ALL beliefs be represented?

    2. Which group wants it all to themselves?

    What did Jesus teach us about sharing? Heck, what did your kindergarten instructor teach you about sharing?

    The answers to the two questions: The ATHEISTS want everyone represented, the Christians want ONLY christian symbols to be permitted.

    I know who I respect here.

    Now, go have a cup of decaf and ponder the concept that the United States of America is a nation of MANY types of people and MANY beliefs.


    CHRISTMAS….TAKE THE FIRST WORD “CHRIST” IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT…..GET OUT OF AMERICA, Go over to Iraq, Iran, Congo, lets see what your rights are there.

    “In God we Trust” on our Dollar and in the hearts of out boys dying in the Middle East! 

    Get out of American or Shut the Hell up you bunch of Commi Freaks!


    There is no better test for the soundness of the constitutional separation of church and state than discussions like this. Right here, Right now. Following the constitution would prevent such fighting—and that’s exactly what it was designed to do.


    Why is religious display deemed OK in one state but not another?

    Published: Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 5:12 AM

    Besides the gatherings of families and friends, office parties, overeating and bowl games, the year


    I believe that Halloween is a Pagan Holiday.


    Jenelle Embrey:  You do not get it.
    Merry Christmas.


    @InquiringMindsFoolofRubbish

    I have to pose a counter-argument…

    Which is sadder, the fact that people like you eagerly anticipate skin flicks from herpes-ridden Paris or trashy-as-a-hollywood-redneck Kim, or the fact that you think people don’t deserve to breath because they hold a specific religious view?

    Pathetic…

    May the force be with you, InquiringMindsFoolofRubbish… you need it.


    Which is sadder, the fact that there is such thing as a “Jedi community” that sucks precious oxygen from the rest of us, or the fact that neither Paris Hilton nor Kim Kardashian had a new skin flick released this past year? What is this world coming to after all?


    @JediKnight: 

    MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU AND WITH OUR TROOPS


    “Seeing even more of it on the County Courthouse grounds along with Jedi Knights does not make Christmas even more meaningful.  In many ways, it detracts.”

    You have successfully understood the message and purpose of the Jedi display.

    I’ve spoken with Eric, and he says the display was “toned down”. It will consist of a poster, and a positive message from the local Jedi community that is supportive of our deployed “peacekeeping” troops.

    “May the force be with our troops… this holiday season.”

    He said the display will have no mannequins and no proselytizing for the Jedi order’s ideology.


    @Done:  your post is so honest and genuine.  Thanks for putting it out there.  I would gently propose that rather than building a pond at the courthouse, we simply leave the display of religion off of the courthouse grounds.  I can drive anywhere in Loudoun County and see stunning displays (and sometimes tacky displays) focused on the Christian Christmas.  Seeing even more of it on the County Courthouse grounds along with Jedi Knights does not make Christmas even more meaningful.  In many ways, it detracts.

    Happy holidays to you and yours.

    And, Nate, enjoy your time off work if you have as much.  I hope you do - as I appreciate your willingness to push me and others.


    Truth: Me too, you made me look it up. That can be our Christmas gift to each other, although I’m an atheist. Yeah, as far as I can tell, “ashburn” aka “mandy from ashburn” aka “single mom taxpayer” meant the opposite, or nothing at all. Happy holidays!


    I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I do see both sides of this problem.  On one hand, you have non-Christians espousing their right to equal access and for the government to not play favorites.  On paper and logically, that sounds like a fair sentiment.

    However, the rub lies with the fact that this government was founded mostly (not all) by people who happened to be Christian.  That continued through hundreds of years of America’s existence.  It’s really only in the last 40-50 years, that other people’s beliefs (or non-beliefs) and their places in our society, have come out of the background.  I don’t know if it was because until that time, they were scared to, or if it’s strictly a number-thing: more and more non-Christian Americans. 

    I’m middle-aged, and I happen to be Christian.  I have seen my religion change dramatically, from when I was younger (I’m middle-aged).  It has been attacked from within and from the outside as well.  There’s nothing worse than a bad leader (like a bad cop), to put a sour taste in people’s mouth and to be an easy target for mass-stereotyping (see Priest’s problems).  Now we have the courthouse yard issue.  Again, I’m don’t feel compelled to choose a side on this, but I can see why some people would be defensive.  It’s a tradition and a way-of-life for many, that is being challenged and in some cases, mocked. 

    I think for the good of the County, they should dig out the courtyard, and put a nice pond there.  Add some ducks and benches.  Put this yearly-fight to rest once and for all, and let all of us be civilized Americans.


    Darn! Nate, you are right!  I looked it up again and then realized that I was led astray by “Ashburn.”  I think he/she misused heterodoxy and then I didn’t read the definition correctly.

    Thanks for setting me straight!  Maybe I can still learn a thing or two thanks to thoughtful people like you.  Thanks for helping educate me.  Merry Christmas, my friend!


    Hey Nate,

    I was responding to “Ashburn’s” use of the word heterodoxy and honestly, I had to look it up!  Given the definition, I think I responded appropriately, but then again, I am a bit of a Redneck!


    @Truth
    I think you mean the opposite of heterodoxy (orthodoxy).


    @Wingrove: clearly you fail to understand the unique interface between Christianity and the Constitution of the United States which clearly states that Nativities should receive the premium corner of courthouse grounds during the Christmas season.

    And, more importantly, thank you for elevating the discussion far and beyond my own cynical comments. I very much appreciate your thoughtful constitutional analysis.  The happiest of holidays to you and yours.


    A couple more inconvenient facts -
    The Constitution places at least 2 prohibitions on religious practice that do not apply to any other of our rights. Article Six prohibits any religious test for public office. And, of course, the First Amendment prohibits official religion. SCOTUS has solidly reinforced that fundamental Constitutional principle.

    Further, this country and our government are what the Constitution says they are. And the Constitution provides NO governmental role for religion. It prohibits it. That some continue to ignore and deny it doesn’t change that. It only makes me wonder why they hate the Constitution.  Any collaboration between religion and government is anti-constitutional and obscene. It is destructive to our rights and antithetical to personal freedom. History shows how awful that collaboration can be.

    And, if history has a lesson for us, it is that no one - no one - likes having some onter person’s religion shoved down their throat. Anyone with an ounce of empathy should get that and sould recognize that religion does not have a blank check to ride rough-shod over other people’s rights anymore. At least not in this time and in this country.


    Mr. Wingrove, Bravo!!!

    Well put. Unfortunately, too many people either fear change so much, they are willing to sacrifice everyone’s rights—including their own—to ensure an illusion of stability, or they create an interpretation of “separation of church and state” to promote their version of “America.” Consequently, I’ve concluded that religion is by nature exclusionary, which is inherently at odds with the reality of the diverse nature of our society and culture. As cliche as this argument sounds, everyone needs to realize that by enabling government to promote their own religious agenda, they are actually sacrificing their own protections against this club being used on them.


    Responding to waya’s suggestion that the Constitution does not provide freedom FROM religion: Sorry, waya - you are just plain wrong.

    Freedom of religion does not mean that I have to pick one. How would that work? And who would enforce that? No, waya, It actually means you are free to believe what you want and so am I, but that you have no right to force it upon me and certainly not by force of law. It means that I do not have to believe any Bronze-age superstition under any circumstances described by the Constitution. Certainly you must recognize that there is an inescapable implication here - that I am under no requirement to be forced into any religion and that I can, indeed, be free from your religion.

    Or maybe you were trying to say that no one can prevent the adamantly religious from doing anything they want. But, that argument is not difficult to dismantle.

    Ironically, waya, total unchecked “freedom of religion” is not provided for in the Constitution (in fact, that phrase isn’t even in the First Amendment, but whatever).  You merely have the right to “free exercise” of your beliefs on religion, as do I and as does every other citizen of the US. And if every citizen has equal rights under free exercise, then we have another implication to deal with - that your free exercise stops where mine starts.


    Wow - so much misinformation and so little time to correct it. The best place for religious displays is on religion-owned property. That way everyone still gets their “free exercise” and everyone’s Constitutional rights are respected. Including those people who find governmental collusion with a particular religion to be abhorrent. There is almost 2000 years of history to instruct us how bad of an idea that is.

    The Atheist displays are a response to the fact that the county has traditionally provided privileged access to the Court House grounds for the Christian community. This is clear favoritism and endorsement of religion by government. This access was unavailable to anyone else until last year. Even now, that access is grudgingly provided to “unpopular views” only so that the county can continue to allow christian displays without getting sued. Ask Del Gaudio. As for free access for the rest of us, we still only have that access during the christian holiday. It isn’t that hard to puzzle out who the county is favoring.

    It all begs the question: If government gives christians favoritism and privileged access to the grounds, where else do they receive special treatment? Is christianity a club which is favored and endorsed by government? And if christians are favored, then do non-christians receive less favor or unequal treatment from the government? Anyone who is not a member of the club recognizes that favoritism for one group implies disfavor for another. That is exactly what the Founders sought to prevent.

    The Atheist displays promote separation of church and state, fair and equal treatment for all citizens regardless of their views on religion, and points out that the rights of atheists are exactly equal to those of the most ardent non-atheists.

    We are certainly not trying to destroy christmas. We encourage everyone to continue their family traditions and have a good time. But we wonder how that entitles christian churches to use the Court House grounds as a billboard for their religion. The government should not be used as a forum for recruitment.


    @Ashburn:

    Great leaders including Jesus, Ghandi, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Martin Luther King, etc - they all fought heterodoxy.  By doing so, they threw off the yoke of British imperalism, reformed Judaism, ended slavery and Jim Crow.

    Just because it is current heterodoxy doesn’t make it right.

    Thank god for those who stand up to heterodoxy.


    @Q:  you are right.  Mandy can’t back up her comments.  I don’t think Mark Herring has ever commented on this.  It has been a BOS/Courthouse issue.  As for Miller, he voted his conscience and demonstrated guts rather than political expediency. He wanted to protect the courthouse grounds from Jedi Knights and a circus atmosphere.  He never singled out mangers therefore Mandy can’t back up her comments with even one quote from him.


    Mark Herring and Stevens Miller spoke out angrily against manger scenes visible in public. They did not support heterodoxy.

    This is something that is essentially an attack against Christianity. That


    Alby, I’d love to see Jerry Falwell and Jimmy Graham discussing the ‘sameness’ of their God(s) with Osama bin Laden, that would be a hoot.

    The people who wrote the parts of what have become the Bible, they also thought the world was flat, no? Wasn’t that the general thought before 1400’s or so? Come on, the Bible is full of great stories and lessons, a terrific guide about how to live a pretty well-meaning life, but that’s where it ends regarding accuracy. Can’t we just leave it at that?

    And your 2.1B claim is just bunk, because there are larger groups who think differently, and that doesn’t make them right just because of their numbers. I’d expect more from you than that, Alby.



    @Mandy - okay throw some (more)gas on the fire.  What EXACTLY did they say, AND when did they say it?  Are we supposed to just take your word?  And define “angrily”.  And was it “in public”, or in “public (read Governement) property ?  BIG difference !


    Mark Herring and Stevens Miller spoke out angrily against manger scenes visible in public.

    That’s pretty troubling.


    Erv,

    Thanks for bringing us back to topic with a very thoughtful comment.  I apologize for taking the conversation away from the story at hand.


    TruthtoParanoiacs - Muslims, Christians, and Jews all believe in the “same” God. We all just have different Prophets we follow.


    It mystifies me why people are so quick to let government control their private lives. I drive along the streets of Loudoun County and see that private citizens have no difficulty expressing their feelings about the holiday season; decorations are diverse and celebratory. Private property options for decorations and expressions are virtually unlimited, so why do we feel the need to have government be responsible for something so personal?

    It’s like the situation with marriage. Many people see marriage as a distinctly religious or personal institution, but are way too quick to give up its definition, its meaning and control, to government when it comes to differing views on same-sex relationships.

    Not only does the Courthouse holiday display emphasize the divisiveness of “religion” among people who espouse the opposite, but it is emblematic of our self-contradictory willingness to sacrifice our rights to the government, actually putting secular government over personal religion for many.

    Why?


    Directly to my point, Alby.  Thank you.  Very good marketers, the Christians. Just tell people who have a very natural fear of death that they can go live in eternal bliss after they die. A masterful gimmic to be sure. Plus early on, they had little problem looking beyond the teachings of Jesus and killing off a lot of the competition.

    And don’t get me wrong - I love Jesus.  I just struggle with how his beautiful and socially responsible teachings have been perverted over the ages.

    In the meantime, I guess about 4.2 billion people are wrong because they believe their own all powerful god is stronger than your omnipotent god.  Perhaps they should just arm wrestle and declare a winner.


    @Alby, while I appreciate your defense of religion, I don’t think that a bandwagon fallacy is necessary.

    @Truth, it could be argued that atheists deny the existence of a higher authority because the allow their morality (or lack thereof) to dictate their theology (or lack thereof). 

    The logical conclusion of atheism, or any worldview that denies the duality of metaphysics, is nihilism.  To pretend otherwise is inconsistent and insincere.


    2.1 Billion People can’t be wrong. Call me when the Atheists have numbers like that behind their faithlessness.


    Q:  It could be argued that Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and others were stellar marketers marketing their new brand of religion.  Meanwhile a modern day atheist might well be much more objective about the incredible teachings and life of a most remarkable human being who’s accomplishments with regard to reforming Judaism could be revered even if he wasn’t deified.

    I’m not saying I know the answer.  I am just saying it could be argued.


    @Truth - I am aware of the time-lapse, but the words from disciples like John and Luke, have more weight when it comes to things like this, than one who is a present-day atheist.


    @Q:  and I agree with you as well, but people have been putting words into the mouth of Jesus from Day 1.  The earliest Gospel was written more than 30 years after he died.  The Gospel of John was written about 60 years after he died.  The ancient manuscripts all show different versions of the scriptures.  If God was going to inspire all the ancient scribes, he/she should have inspired them to all write the same things.


    Janelle, I find it insensitive, that as an atheist, you would pen a letter “from Jesus”.  Why couldn’t you have just penned it from yourself ?  Regardless of what you believe or don’t believe, to put your words into Jesus’ mouth, is disrepectful to Christians.  And yes, I do agree with your sentiments, but it should also not be exclusively aimed at Christians, but instead, at all humans.


    I am ashamed of this town and the people in it.


    “Jesus, as every Christian knows, was born in the spring, some believe in March, but know one knows the exact date.”
    I think you are confusing the date of the annunciation with the date of the nativity. Luke’s gospel is pretty clear on this. But you are absolutely right that no one knows the exact date. Not even all Christians celebrate it on the same day. And it doesn’t matter.

    “The Constitution was written with one of the purposes being freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.”
    It says neither. Just that government cannot establish religion or prohibit free exercise thereof. What the Founders meant will never be truly known. They’re dead. Look it up.

    “[disagreeing with statues of Christ] is sick.”
    No. Many Orthodox Christian churches, unaffected by western influences, prohibit such depictions. Others find the forcing of the white race on Christ to be offensive. Doesn’t matter. It’s just art—venerate it, or not. If you hold it to be higher than art, you are worshiping an idol. That’s sick.


    Dear Christians:

    Many of you are upset that folks are taking my name out of the season. I don’t care what the day is called. If you want to celebrate my birth, just get along and love one another.

    If your town doesn’t allow a scene depicting my birth then get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small nativity scene on your own lawn. If all of my followers did that there wouldn’t be any need for such a scene at town square because there would be many of them all around town.

    Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks was. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15:1-8.

    If you want to give me a present in remembrance of my birth here is my wish list.

    1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way my birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell me all the time.

    2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don’t have to know them personally. They need to know that someone cares about them.

    3. Instead of writing the president complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, write and tell him that you’ll pray for him and his family this year. Then follow up as it will be nice for them to hear from you again.

    4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can’t afford and they don’t need, spend time with them. Hold them in your arms and remind them that you love them.

    5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive them.

    6. Someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless. Since you don’t know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile. It could make the difference.

    7. Instead of stressing about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren’t allowed to wish you a “Merry Christmas” that doesn’t keep you from wishing them one.

    8. Support a charity, especially one that takes love and good news to those who have none.

    9. There are individuals and entire families in your town who not only have no


    Mr. Operative, you miss the whole point of the discussion and debate.  It is about Free Speech and Religious Expression. It seems you want to limit these rights to Christians and Jews.  It doesn’t work that way.  Now if everyone would simply agree to practice their Free Speech on private property, this really wouldn’t be an issue.  For instance, Nativities and Christmas Trees, I wonder if we possibly might be able to see these somewhere else if they were not on the Courthouse grounds?  Then we wouldn’t have to see the Jedi Knights competing with the Three Wisemans for a view of the Little Baby Jesus in the manger.


    I happen to think a story that begins with a baby born sans pro-creation is off to a non-sensical start…but that’s just me, maybe.


    Upon a recent visit to Leesburg, I joined a group of old friends at a local event and dinner afterwards.  As we exited the dinner I made note of the Courthouse Green and the issue of displays rose to the top of conversation.  I quickly discovered Leesburg was not immune from the controversy that so many communities across or nation face.  So many years have passed since the days of my youth when I walked the streets of Leesburg.  Long gone are those days of a quaint town few outside the reaches of Loudoun County were aware or truly appreciated.  It saddens me deeply to learn of such discourse over something that should be a point of diversion from all that is negative around us.   
    It astounds me that so much can be made of what display may or may not be placed on a Courthouse Green.  People become so caught up in these types of issues that the old saying


    If anyone wants to know why this became a mess in the first place, please read this letter to the editor

    http://www.leesburg2day.com/articles/2009/12/15/opinion/letters/alet198houston121509.txt


    This is so ridiculous, in a failed attempt to be “politically correct” the Courthouse lawn is now littered with non-senseical messages.  But up the manger, a menorah and a well decorated christmas tree and call it a day.  Good grief, enough already.


    In conclusion, anyone wasting two minutes out of their day to even bother with constructing any type of display is just a big fat loser!!  Get a life, get a girlfriend, get a dog, get a personal massager.  Just do something more with your sad little pathetic lives.


    wel if the muslims wanted to celebrate their religion by placing a statue of Muhammed on the courthouse lawn during Ramadan, i really wouldn’t hav a problem because it their beliefs and religion not bitterness and hate. If its a religious display; allow it otherwise dont


    Well, gee, Paul S.  If Reason is not going to prevail at some point during our existence, what is the alternative that you propose?


    Truthtoparanoiacs, ah, I do remember that now about creating the image of Muhammad, so that was a bad example. But hopefully everyone got my point. Thanks.


    I was driving by the Courthouse recently and saw the sign that says “Let Reason Prevail.” I hadn’t realized Reason had to ‘prevail’ against anything—used to think the ‘war on Christmas’ was just a myth.


    Christmas is essentially about poverty. It is about the truth that finding ultimate meaning in life does not depend on anything material, just as Christ (the King of Kings) was not revealed in glory, but in a humble setting.

    Let us remember this at Christmas this year.

    And let us vote Republican in the next election!

    Merry Christmas.


    Bamboozled,

    I am no scholar but I have read enough of the New Testament to know that Jesus never encourged people to go into a spending frenzy to purchase gifts on his birthday.  He also didn’t instruct people to put up manger scenes on the courthouse grounds.  He really wasn’t much of a capitalist at all and would find the spending frenzy quite revolting I think.  He would much rather us give our money to the poor than buy video games, fruit cakes, and candy canes for our kids.

    And you are just plain wrong, Miller voted to prohibit any displays on the Courthouse grounds.  He didn’t think it was stately to have the Jedi Knights out there standing over the manger scene along with the Wise Men.  Go figure.

    Lisa M., I agree with you, but bad example about the Prophet Muhammad display. Muslims (and you and me) could get killed for creating any image of the the Prophet.  It is against the rules - big time.


    Bamboozled, it is not sick. It’s supposed to be the law. Separation of church and state. No one is saying religious displays should be banned. Of course not, it’s Christmas. And I’m Christian. But the displays should be reserved for private and religious property, not government property. Would we allow Muslims to display a statue of their prophet Muhammad on the courthouse lawn during Ramadan for example? Where do we draw the line? It sets a bad precedent to allow any religious displays of any kind on government grounds. But display them proudly on church and private property.


    Stevens Miller spoke angrily against displays of the Christ child at Christmas.

    That’s sick.

    He says crazy things like Christmas hi-jacked pagan events.

    I am concerned about the Board of Supervisors.


    The Constitution was written with one of the purposes being freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.  Freedom to pursue religion in the form you wish, not freedom from religion for each person.  Look it up…. 
    Today’s society has fallen so far from God that we allow people to mock a christian holiday….but what if they wanted to mock another religion?  They would be considered Racist, etc….  Saddens me that such a mockery is made of religous displays.  A Jedi display next to the Nativity?  Really?


    Winter Solistice celebrations were held this time of year long before Jesus.  It was the Christians who hijacked a pagan holiday.  Jesus, as every Christian knows, was born in the spring, some believe in March, but know one knows the exact date.


    The Courthouse is property of the people. Just as a school can be used for church services, the courthouse grounds can be used for religious displays.


    Supervisor Stevens Miller voted to prohibit a manger scene.

    How sick.

    At a time when so many of us are finding it hard to even purchase gifts for our children this Christmas, he takes a stand against the Christ child at Bethlehem.

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