MANASSAS, Va. — The Freedom From Religion Foundation erected a banner next to a nativity display at Nelson Park in Manassas.
The group posted this to our site:
A FFRF Winter Solstice banner has been placed by a local FFRF member next to the crèche scene in Nelson Park in Manassas, Va. FFRF received a permit from the city for its “Let Reason Prevail” banner to counter the religious exhibit. It will be displayed through Dec. 31.
FFRF’s 7½-by-3-foot banner states: “At this Season of the Winter Solstice, LET REASON PREVAIL. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth & superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”
FFRF wishes that the time will come when it won’t have to put up its banners in this manner.
Nelson Park is located near the intersection of Sudley Road and Grant Avenue.
The group regularly posts a similar banner in the city each year, and the FFRF group obtained the proper permits from the city to erect the banner, said Manassas spokeswoman Patty Prince.
The city may only restrict time, place, and length of the display of banners through the permitting process. The city cannot control the content of a banner, other than to ban profanity on banners, added Prince.
Let’s see, which side do I chose…how about none?
My first question is, why is there a manger scene on public property? There are churches all over Manassas City with wonderful religious scenes. For instance, Saturday night, St. Thomas Methodist, right across the street, had a living, drive through stations of the nativity. I went. It was great. Lots of cold Christians out there doing their part to live out the season.
I am not going to go howling off in horror if there is a Christmas Tree displayed. I won’t keel over if I see an angel, an elf, or other signs of Christmas displayed in the public square. But I think going the manger route just should be kept to people’s private property or church property. It’ just a matter of respect and what you really expect other people to pay for.
Now, as for the FFRF, perhaps the words “Religion is but myth & superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds” i a harsh statement. It is their right to believe that, of course, but a public display stating that religion is myth and superstition? I suppose it accomplishes it’s purpose, regardless of who is offended.
All this could be solved by keeping religious displays out of the public square. Stick to trees, Rudolph, Santa, or elves. Those are Christmas Icons, not religious symbols. while,
Meanwhile, the City could stop the situation by controlling what goes in Nelson Park, equitably. They certainly exercised their control when the reproductive clinic was the object of demonstrations, both pro and con.
My guess is that no one really minds. It gives people something to grumble about on both “sides.”