Christians in Berkley Michigan try to force nativity scene on City Hall.

Here in Michigan in the Detroit suburb of Berkley there’s been an ongoing attempt to subvert the Wall of Separation because some True Believers™ are upset that the City Council did the right thing in moving the city’s nativity display off of public property and onto private church property to avoid a lawsuit from the ACLU. It seems Berkley has had a nativity scene on display for years, but without any additional holiday decorations such as a Santa Claus or Jewish menorah which the courts have ruled are necessary to keep such a display Constitutional. The City Council had two choices: Water down the scene with additional non-Christian decorations or give the nativity scene to the downtown churches to display solo. They made the better of the two choices in my mind in part because it allows the display to be downtown without being water down and in part because I’ve always thought the argument that including other decorations was a pretty fucking weak attempt to allow something that shouldn’t be allowed. The Detroit News had an article on the dispute back on the 15th which read in part:

Leading the charge for a civic display in Berkley is Georgia Halloran, a 37-year resident angered by last year’s decision by the Berkley City Council to remove the figures from City Hall property and turn them over to the Berkley Clergy Association to display at local churches around the town of 15,500 residents.

Halloran and other residents collected 952 signatures to force the question to a vote on Nov. 6. She sees passage of the initiative—which would amend the city’s charter—as Berkley’s chance to stand up to the American Civil Liberties Union, which told the city the display violated the law.

“I’m tired of these organizations coming into a small-town community and threatening us with lawsuits and the city rolling over,” Halloran said. “We are celebrating a national holiday. We are not promoting a religion. The government isn’t supposed to be hostile toward religion.”

So the True Believers™ got their panties all in a twist and have managed to get a petition on the November 6th ballot to force the city to reinstate the nativity in front of city hall. They’ve set up a website full of misleading information to try and persuade folks to vote for what is clearly an Establishment Clause violation that’ll just end up in an expensive lawsuit with the ACLU that they’ll probably lose which is just stupid when they could avoid the whole fiasco with what is a very reasonable compromise.

Fortunately there’s a group of folks out there actively campaigning against the charter amendment and they too have a website: Citizens for Religious Freedom and they appear to have a fair amount of support of their own. Additional today’s editorial in the Detroit Free Press advocates Berkley residents to vote NO on the proposal:

The decision made solid sense then, and on Nov. 6 citizens should insist the choice stand now by voting NO on a charter amendment that would require the city to display a nativity scene on public property.

There ought to be equal distaste for the amendment’s demands as there was among some for the city’s bow to the ACLU.

Both smack of inflexible strong-arming. Beyond fumbling with the charter, the proposal overreaches, going so far as to set the dates of the display and the minimum requirements of which holiday figures to include, namely Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Noticeably absent is any mention of Santa Claus.

Georgia Halloran makes the claim that this isn’t about promoting a religion, but if that’s true then why all the fuss over where the nativity is displayed? If not an implied government endorsement then what is it she thinks is gained by having the nativity on government property? How is the display diminished by having it on private Church property where it’s still in full view of the public, but no longer gives the impression of government endorsement? There answers to both questions won’t be found on their webpage because they don’t bother to address them. One is left to conclude that implied government endorsement is exactly the goal in mind.

29 thoughts on “Christians in Berkley Michigan try to force nativity scene on City Hall.

  1. Your course is clear, Les.

    Make a bunch of buttons that say “Bring Back Christmas!” and sell those fuckers for $1.50 a pop (you could probably get $3.00)

    Remember, the Chinese symbol for christian shenanigans also means opportunity to fleece some people who really deserve it.

  2. Depicting the true, historical account of the holiday my ass.

    Speaking of which, I’ve updated my avatar in anticipation of x-mas. Cute little Beary Bear. Those of you who watch TV will know who he is.

  3. I too am one of those people that love Christmas. The sooner the place gets decked out the better. I do agree that the Nativity Scene would best be held at a Church. However… Last year the at Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle WA, they decked the airport out for Christmas, and who bitched and complained and threaten a lawsuit. ” The Jews ” and we are talking Christmas Trees. They would have no part of it. I am not Christian. But the Holidays are hard to beat.

    I agree with some of thinking of America’s Founding Fathers. Screw the Jews….They are a pest wherever they land.

    “They (the Jews) work more effectively against us, than the enemy’s armies. They are a hundred times more dangerous to our liberties and the great cause we are engaged in… It is much to be lamented that each state, long ago, has not hunted them down as pest to society and the greatest enemies we have to the happiness of America.”

    (George Washington)

  4. I see that anti-semitism is alive and well.

    Based on this and other comments he’s made, it is apparent that Paul is as much of a crank as Moloch. Time to expand my Ignore list.

  5. Les, Les, Les:  You just don’t get it, do you?  Any effort to prevent fundies from ram-rodding their beliefs down everyone else’s throats is a flagrant, egregious violation of their First Amendment Rights.  If they can’t force everyone and everything to conform to their world-view, that faith is in mortal danger.  The First Amendment was obviously written to stop their fellow citizens from bursting the soap-bubble. 

    See?  Doesn’t it all make perfect sense now?

  6. You beat me to the punch, chief. 

    Given the traditional role of Jews as moneylenders (back before the Fuggers and Medici tribes made it respectable by bankrolling Holy Roman Emperors and becoming Pope and all), I can see how the anti-Semites would read “Jew” into “black gentry”.

    Still doesn’t make it right, of course.  But, then, any excuse serves a bigot just as well as a tyrant…

    (Btw:  I totally read Paul’s post as being tongue-in-cheek, so I’m not accusing him of anti-semitism.)

  7. I am not against anyone, except the people that are against putting up a Seasonal Christmas Decorations. And threatening legal action.

    And no I am not against the Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhist, Until they get in my face. 
    The Article that I took the quote from comes with many other various opinions, from other various people.

  8. Whatever. Don’t let the oven door hit you while you’re throwing the Jews in your face inside, you Nazi.

  9. Um, Paul: IIRC, “” is a blatantly racist site.  I ran across it by accident when Googling the DC Mall crime spree before vacation last year.  Wanted to boil my computer in bleach afterward.  Hateful stuff—should have been called “Skinheads for Jesus” for truth in advertising.  I think that Snopes has a better shot of being the last word on the subject.

  10. Paul – Generally don’t generalise – or insert the word ‘some’ before i.e. some jews, some xians, some jedi… not that the category necessarily had any effect anyway, you’d be better of saying ‘some people’ in cases where it’s completely unrelated to the category

    Some people are nice…
    … and some people are asshats

    Which religion they are is more like a layer on top of that – it isn’t the cause of either asshatedness /kindness itself because people interpret + believe what they want to

    Sadie – I havn’t seen a provokative comment from Moloch for quite a while now, he’s either run out of ammo or trying a new approach. Ignore list is a bit harsh, it bars people from the oppertunity to regain your respect

  11. Based on this and other comments he’s made, it is apparent that Paul is as much of a crank as Moloch.

    Always assuming Paul isn’t a sock puppet. Nah, there’s enough of them to go around.

    Time to expand my Ignore list.

    I’m grateful to Les for implementing this feature.

  12. cubiclegirl, After some research I am inclined to agree with you about the site, the content is questionable. ( I apologize ).

    It would be fair for me to say that I am not in sympathy with any type of religious extremist thought. That includes the Nazi’s by the way. However I do not disagree with “everything” that Hitler is on record of saying. I also do not disagree with “everything” that the Rockefeller’s say either.

    I was in Seattle when they took down the tree’s. I thought of it as a get together between Ignorance and Intolerance.

  13. Wow, I didn’t even know there was an ignore feature. That’s awesome. Buh-bye Paul. Yay!

  14. cubiclegrrl- after reading your comment I had to go check out the christianparty site.  If anyone here is feeling unnaturally optimistic about the lovingkindness of the human race, they should go to christianparty – that will bring you back to earth.

    There’s a Punch cartoon from WWII showing a couple at breakfast.  The husband is throwing the newspaper to the floor, the wife is saying “But dear, even Hitler can’t be both scum and dregs”.

    But the christianparty people manage to be both scum and dregs: fundies, antisemites, and white supremecists to boot.  Check out (if you have a strong stomach) their poll on exiling blacks.  Barfogenic.  (for elwed: kotzogen).

  15. Nice people

    Until the Nineteenth Amendment is repealed, Christian women are invited to sign the following proxy statement, file it with their local county recorder, and fax the signed statement to 866 721 5995:

    “I, as a submissive woman of God, and of sound mind, do hereby give my vote to this man of God: __________________ to exercise for the glory of Yahvh, our Creator. I make this statement publickly as an example for other godly women to emulate, and for the edification of the world through which we are passing.

    I make this statement bona fide dei gratia, for Christ Jesus my Lord. Amen.”

    Signed: _______________________

    Sponsored by: Women for God’s Law

    I expect you do be sending this first thing tomorrow Mrs SEB, Sadie, GeekMom, CubicleGrrrl et al.

  16. I expect you do be sending this first thing tomorrow Mrs SEB, Sadie, GeekMom, CubicleGrrrl et al.

    Yeah, I’ll get right on that, LH.  It’s on the “To do” list after “Train the cat to have a glass of red wine and box of dark chocolate bon-bons waiting for me after my long, tiring day at the office.” ‘S’matter of fact, why don’t I just have the cat take care of filing and faxing that statement while I’m at it?  I’m sure it’ll be done anytime now…

  17. Sweet! Thanks Zilch and Last Hussar for drawing my attention to that treasure trove.  That 19th amendment statement in Hussar’s post particularly-it’s getting emailed to every woman I know, particularly the christian ones.  I know the non-believers will enjoy the joke-I wonder what those with a wholesome, godly sense of humor will make of it.

    Women denying themselves suffrage.  Wow.  I suddenly feel that I understand suicide cults, virgin sacrifices, and conservatives just a bit better than I did before.

  18. Bahamat,

    Ignore list is a bit harsh, it bars people from the oppertunity to regain your respect

    You are making a critical unfounded assumption with this statement. Try to guess what it is.

  19. That reminds me, I’ve been meaning to figure out the code necessary to put an ignore option right on the comments. I’ll have to make a point of doing that sooner rather than later.

  20. The two assumptions – i’m guessing:
    – They might’ve never had the respect in the first place
    – That it is harsh (subjective)
    – That they are people?
    – That they stay on the list permanently

    Nevertheless, you get what I meant – that it’s not providing a second+ chance so long as the commenter is listed

  21. Wow….it’s amazing how some Christians will completely ignore the more important issues in the world (the homeless, the hungry, the poor…) and push an insignificant issue like this…

    Makes me sad.

  22. It’s not only the physical issues some of them ignore… the effects they have on the mindstate of others closer to home through emphasising fundamentalism and that pain=good, pleasure=bad.

    Anyway I spotted another assumption I made – that it necessarily does bar them, because you might meet that person elsewhere

  23. You should never force your beliefs on anyone. I feel they were in the right to put it back on church property.

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