In the Book of Genesis, the tree of knowledge was a tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9) from which God directly forbade Adam to eat (Genesis 2:17). In Philadelphia, religious advocates would prefer that it not be seen, let alone touched. The tree of knowledge is an atheist display showing books (including the Bible) as part of secular humanist values. The tree has been vandalized and hit with a series of harassing demands. These include that the 18 foot tree be cut down to ten feet — since no display can be higher than the Christmas tree. Officials also declared that the creche won a “first come, first served” status — allowing them to move the tree to a less visible spot.
Frankly, I am not sure why it is so important for atheists to put up the tree which is not part of any celebratory tradition and seems merely intended as a retort to religion. However, I have a greater problem with the harassment of a protected form of speech.
The display was designed by Margaret Downey, president of the Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia (FSGP) and is festooned with laminated book covers. It is the continuation of our holiday tradition of litigation leading up to the celebration of the birth of Christ. For a prior column on the season, click here.
For the full story, click here.