Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wisconsin Does This Right

While Oklahoma struggles with non-Christian religious groups wanting to erect their own holiday displays on state grounds, the state of Wisconsin shows how to do it right. Wisconsin doesn't restrict anyone from putting up their own holiday displays, and the current crop includes a Festivus pole, a nativity-like scene featuring Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin, and a Flying Spaghetti Monster display set up by a college atheist group. This is in fact exactly how religion should be dealt with in the public square, by allowing all voices to be heard, whatever their beliefs (or lack thereof). There are essentially two ways to do secularism - either allow everything, or ban everything. And my contention is that the former is by far the best option.

The secular displays join traditional Christmas items such as a 30-foot balsam fir tree encircled by a toy train set, and they have been part of the capitol holiday displays since a 1984 lawsuit failed to remove the Capitol Christmas tree, halt a menorah lighting and end an annual nativity pageant.

“We would prefer to keep our capitol secular,” said Sam Erickson, AHA president. “But if the state decides to turn it into an open forum, they have opened the floodgates. We hope everyone takes advantage of this opportunity to advertise their own viewpoints, no matter how silly.”

The group’s display features movie poster-style artwork depicting the Flying Spaghetti Monster, saying “he boiled for your sins,” and urging onlookers to “be touched by his noodly appendage, before it is too late!”

The Poor Oppressed Christians who are offended by the very existence of other religions will never get it, and their demands for appeasement know no bounds. Telling them to go stuff it is really all any government can do, short of declaring Poor Oppressed Christianity the official state religion and driving all others, even reasonable Christians, underground. And fortunately for the rest of us such a thing would be a blatant constitutional violation.

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