Berkley Nativity scene charter amendment has been defeated.

It seems the residents of Berkley, Michigan—or at least the ones that bothered to vote Tuesday—felt the charter amendment to force the city to display a Nativity scene in front of City Hall was a bad idea. The proposal failed to pass with 55% voting against it versus 45% voting for it:

There won’t be a nativity scene displayed on the Berkley City Hall lawn this year, after voters rejected a fiercely debated ballot proposal Tuesday.

“Well, the people spoke,” said Bob McCoy, 52, of Berkley who served as the finance chairman for the group Berkley Citizens Vote Yes to Christian Holiday Display. “I’m pretty disappointed.”

McCoy said he was surprised the measure failed. He said the fight to put the nativity scene back on city property wasn’t about religion but about celebrating the season.

“Christmas is a national holiday,” he said.

I disagree, this measure was always about promoting religion and the people behind it made that pretty clear in their statements and with the website they set up. There’s no logical reason why you can’t celebrate the season just as well with the Nativity sitting a short distance away on church property. It’s still in full view of the public, it’s no longer being watered down with secular symbols, and there’s no reason Christmas can’t be enjoyed just fine without having it sit where it doesn’t belong. The fact that Christmas is a national holiday has no bearing on the issue especially considering that, technically, the U.S. actually doesn’t have any National Holidays:

Holidays of the United States vary with local observance. Strictly speaking, the United States does not have national holidays (i.e. days where all employees in America receive a day free from work and all business is halted). The U.S. Federal government can only recognize national holidays that pertain to its own employees; it is at the discretion of each state or local jurisdiction to determine official holiday schedules. There are eleven such “Federal holidays”—ten annual and one quadrennial holiday. The annual Federal holidays are widely observed by state and local governments; however, they may alter the dates of observance or add or subtract holidays according to local custom. Pursuant to the Uniform Holidays Bill of 1968 (taking effect in 1971), some official holidays are observed on a Monday, except for New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. There are also U.S. state holidays particular to individual U.S. states.

OK so that’s being a bit nitpicky I’ll admit, but the point remains that simply because the government gives its employees the day off for what is—technically—a religious holiday (and even that is debatable these days) that doesn’t mean it should be promoting the religion in question with displays on public property.

19 thoughts on “Berkley Nativity scene charter amendment has been defeated.

  1. Congrats to Berkley.  Maybe, just maybe, people are finally growing a collective pair about telling these Dominionist @$$hats to pound sand—and on their own dime for a change.  The way things were going, I was almost expecting Kansas to give the Phelps clan a travel account. 

    I’ll say one thing in McCoy’s favor, though:  He seemed to take the “will of the people” at face value.  Just about any true theocon would blame the Vast Atheist Conspiracy.

  2. Ya, it scares the hell out of me, Webs.

    Not as much as the fact that the working poor whom are most abused by politics of our current President (and his party) are ignorant enough to be the ones keeping him in office.

  3. Yes, it still scares me, too, although I have to admit that I was surprised by the 45/55 split.  After Christmas doesn’t actually come to a screeching halt this year, maybe next time the spread will be even wider.  But, after all, nearly a quarter of this country still thinks that Dubya is doing a good job.  So I don’t get my hopes too high.

  4. Les: CubicleGirl, this is SEB, you don’t have to censor your cussin’ here. We’re used to it.

    And wherever it passes through the ATT network…

    “Your Profanity.  Delivered.  To the NSA”

  5. CubicleGirl, this is SEB, you don’t have to censor your cussin’ here. We’re used to it. grin

    Actually, I just like the way words look in print when you make the appropriate character-substitutions:  @$$hat, bull$#!+, etc.  Just a dorky preference, not prissiness—I have quite the reputation for cussing at work, trust me…

  6. Not as much as the fact that the working poor whom are most abused by politics of our current President (and his party) are ignorant enough to be the ones keeping him in office.

    That has always been a riddle to me, Mrs. SEB.  How do the Republicans do it?  Is it that “I’m just a regular guy” act?

    As long as we’re cussin’:  one of my Q3 player names, back when I was online a lot, was DryHumpedByJesus.  Despite (or maybe because) of the fact that Q3 is basically trying to blow the heads off your opponents with rocket launchers and plasma guns, some players took offense at my screen name.  I don’t quite understand why, seeing as my other name was even worse…

  7. “I’m just a regular guy”

    Yep In 04 political commentators noted it was the “good ol’ boy” factor that works for Georgie boy.  Americans seem to want a regular Joe in the Whitehouse, someone you can invite round for a Bar-B-Q and a beer, Kerry was always on an uphill struggle because he never came across as one of the guys.

    It’s almost as if Columbines are trying to take “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” to it’s logical extreme- “Just cuz ur well educated with degrees from Harvard, Yale and Oxford dunt mean you know more than me an’ Cleetus”.

    Friend of mine blames Nixon- Yanks dare not trust another clever president.  The problem actually seems to surface much earlier. Early in the Civil War command in the both armies could be a nightmare: If you’re fighting for Democracy, rights etc, why should someone else have the power to order you around.  Officers found themselves having to do what the men wanted, rather than what the men needed.  There were even elections for C/Os, so you had to stay popular.  Jewish and Catholic officers were often voted off.

    Bill Bryson also notes this “We’re equal attitude’ causes problems for Doctors, as patients have a nasty habit of learning medicine from adverts, and demanding to be given the latest miracle cure.  Who needs Med school when you have cable!

  8. Sorry, cubiclegrrl, it’s really offensive.  I don’t want any Catholics busting a gasket. I’ll email it to you if you like.

    Btw- my skin in Q3 was “Grrl” with Klesk’s head, if that tells anyone anything…

  9. DryHumpedByJesus makes my gaming nom de plume — Dead God — seem downright proper in comparison. I have simply got to know what the more offensive name is!

  10. Okay, okay.  By popular demand, and with apologies to any nice Catholics out there:


    Actually, it shouldn’t offend, since it’s simply a description of what must have happened at Jesus’ birth, if Mary was a virgin.  In fact, it’s downright pious, when I come to think of it…

  11. LH: Bill Bryson also notes this “We’re equal attitude’ causes problems for Doctors, as patients have a nasty habit of learning medicine from adverts, and demanding to be given the latest miracle cure.

    It works both ways.  My father in law is disabled due to injury – problem is, it’s not a “traditional” type of injury, so the regular regimen of physical therapy actually hurts him and worsens the condition.  He found a doctor who recently wrote about it and realized it was his condition, and he’s finally found therapists to try that method, which is working.  Problem was, however, trying to find doctors and therapists who would pay attention, since it is a new treatment.  He actually had one doctor tell him point blank: “I’m a doctor.  I don’t read books, I write them.” 

    My father-in-law was referring to a book written by a MD and not an advert, but the attitude (from ANY educated professional) of “I have a degree and you don’t, so you know nothing” is not acceptable. 

    And just to clarify, my point is that both sides can cause problems.  I’m in NO way defending hypochondriacs brainwashed by “ask your doctor what the hell our snake oil does”. 

    Since I’m so far off topic anyway, if you’ve seen the side effects for the “restless leg syndrome” medicine, I’d rather have restless legs.

  12. Why should anyone be upset about the use of the name Jesus in an online name?  After all large numbers of Spanish speakers have Jesus as part of their name.  It doesn’t automatically follow that Jesus is a reference to THAT Jesus.

  13. I am new to this site and enjoy it quite a bit. I am a fiercely faithful Christian, however I agree with most of you here. Displays of religous beliefs are fine in public. When those displays involve government property, money, etc. it opens the floodgates. Where will it stop? If Christians have displays for their holidays, why shouldn’t other groups? It’s not practical and it’s not right. The point about having the display in the church yard is dead on! That’s where it belongs. We need less government in our lives, and we definitely do not need government passively endorsing a religion by allowing their displays on PUBLIC land.

  14. Sorry.. but one more thing.. these r-tards that give emotional arguments or get upset about Jesus in a name are a little over the top. I think maybe peeps from some extreme viewpoints tend to give the wrong impression and make it easy for hate-filled nonbelievers (not ALL non, just the hate-filled) to paint all Christians with the same brush. Just as some Christians paint all non-Christians with the same brush using the extremes as examples. So .. umm.. lighten up, Francis! As hard as it is for some to believe, enlightened Christians fail miserably quite often, but we really do try to love our neighbors 😀 Sad that some are so cynical that they find this impossible to believe.

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