Religious Groups in Santa Monica Call For Changes After Atheists Win Majority of Places Set Aside For Holiday Scenes

Religious folk in California are outraged after learning that atheists won the right to 14 out of 21 spaces for holiday scenes. The city has a lottery system and, while God may not have favored them, fate did in selecting two atheists with claims to over two dozen spaces.

Only three spaces remain for religious messages. Hunter Jameson, a spokesman for various churches, cried foul and alleged that the atheists were working in tandem. Since Jameson represents a collection of churches working in tandem, that may not seem such an outrage.

For 57 years, churches were free from competition for the spaces in the park for nativity. Now, they use a lottery system to be fair to everyone — leaving it to God or fate — depending on your views.

One of the winners is Damon Vix, who last year posted a sign quoting Thomas Jefferson: “Religions are all alike — founded on fables and mythologies.”

Jameson has demanded a “local preference” rule for residents of Santa Monica to push out atheists who live outside the city. The city attorney wisely rejected that effort.

Of course, St. Monica would understand. She was prohibited by a local bishop for continuing her practice of bringing “certain oratories, erected in the memory of the saints, offerings of porridge, bread, and wine” to public places for the faithful. Essentially denied a permit because it was used as an “occasion of gluttony.” Ultimately, Santa Monica was named by 18th century Father Juan Crespí who found a little spring (now known as Serra Springs) and named it Las Lagrimas de Santa Monica (“Saint Monica’s Tears”) for the tears that she shed for her impious son, Augustine.

If that does not offer solace, there is also the fact that the Nativity Scene occurred after Mary and Joseph were displaced from the Inn. Yet, a miracle occurred. Somehow this all fits . . .

Source: Boston as first seen on Reddit.

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34 thoughts on “Religious Groups in Santa Monica Call For Changes After Atheists Win Majority of Places Set Aside For Holiday Scenes”

  1. @anon: I’m not sure it’s the precise message they intend.

    Maybe our message is, “their ain’t nuthin’ there, folks.”


    A few more details in what seems a poorly written piece. Note how the name of the atheist changes about halfway through from Vix used 6 times, to Dix and remains that way for the rest of the article, another 6 times. If they can’t get the guy’s name right, who knows what else they got wrong.

    Santa Monica claims federal laws mandates how they do this, but the article doesn’t go into details.

    I think the atheists still come off poorly, not only are they a bunch of shifty guys that change their names, but they asked for 18 spaces, are only using 9, and seem unwilling to let the rest go to anyone else. Their right, and it certainly sends a message, but I’m not sure it’s the precise message they intend.

  3. Thanks Jay, I think you help prove my point,

    “A bunch of observers of the old ways STILL use the tree for THEIR religious purposes. Teh Christians use the Tree for THEIR religious purposes too.”

    It’s a religious symbol.

    Celebrate it in the public square with other symbols at appropriate times from other religions or kick them all out.

    But don’t pretend it’s not a religious symbol.

    But have the Christians managed to cram their opinion … Ask 99 people out of a hundred what the tree is called: it’s a _Christ_mas tree.

  4. “We do not call it a Seasonal Tree, or a Pagan Tree, or a Druid Tree.

    It is called a _Christ_mas tree.

    The tree that people put up now has nothing to do with pagan/druid/alien religions. It may have had that connotation originally, but no more.”

    First of all, you’re wrong. Many observers of the old ways still bring in a tree for its original intended purpose as we do not observe “Christmas.” I find it hilarious that you think that though, the Christians also think that they have managed to cram their opinion down everyone’s throat. They haven’t. Those of us who read and are capable of cognitive thinking and know the truth are STILL not changing our ways because the Church told us too, our tree is referred to as a “celebration tree.” You and anyone else are free to call yours whatever you want to, but it isn’t a Christmas tree just because you or anyone else says so.

  5. @Anon, here’s the thing with Santa and Christmas trees. They are what you want them to be, they’re neutral symbols I suppose.

    Those of us who know the traditions of their origins can keep them that way, pagan religious symbols.

    Those who some how imbued them with christian religious iconography, well they can delude themselves.

    Those of us who just think it’s cool to have images of a jolly fat man with a beard who wears red and white and reindeer and decorate a fir tree, well who cares; that’s pretty much my view.

    The nativity scene is and always will be christian because there’s no getting away from what it depicts, the fabled birth of Jesus in a manger surrounded by 3 kings and 3 shepherds, a combination of the contradictions in the gospels.

    As for feasting, not a christian thing really barring the last supper. They should celebrate Christmas with loaves and fishes.

    As to christmas, Xmas, happy holidays. All have christian religion connotations. X is from the Greek for Christ. Holidays is a joining of Holy Days. So rather than try to figure out a new Atheist greeting I just don’t care.

  6. As an Atheist I do aesthetically pleasing Christmas scenes, minus angels and baby Jesus of course, but ones which celebrate the best and oldest traditions of Christmas. Yule logs, decorated evergreens, giving presents, feasting and so on. Ones that told the story of Christmas.

    I wouldn’t bother with overt Atheist messages. No one likes to be preached to.

  7. Santa Claus has nothing to do with Christianity. He/it is a secular idea that, as Tony C. suggested above is borrowed from pagan mythology. St. Nick has his own day on the calendar.

  8. @anon: Santa is a jolly old elf, remember? The whole elfen mythology is early pre-Christian Germanic Pagan; Santa Claus is a Christian rip-off of the story of the god Odin and his flying horse: At Yuletide (the last week of December), if children left their boots by the fireplace filled with food for Odin’s flying horse (carrots or straw) then Odin in thanks would replace the food with toys.

    The equivalent function was assigned by Christians to Saint Nicholas, according to the Christian mythology, a generous gift giver. And certainly the “Santa” part of the name is for “Saint.”

    But, I will take your point, the government has no business promoting either fantasy or religion.

  9. If the process allows anyone to bid on the spaces, then everyone has an equal shot at getting a space. It sounds like sour grapes from those who lost out on getting a space. I have an idea. If you want to put a nativity scene up for Christmas, put it on your church property. It doesn’t belong on public property.

  10. Tony,

    We do not call it a Seasonal Tree, or a Pagan Tree, or a Druid Tree.

    It is called a _Christ_mas tree.

    The tree that people put up now has nothing to do with pagan/druid/alien religions. It may have had that connotation originally, but no more.

    I understand and find amusing the theory that Santa Claus has more to do with Coca Cola than Christmas, nevertheless, it is a symbol of Christmas not a symbol of the Season or a symbol of Malls.

    And damnit, I think it’s fine to celebrate them, and to either display them in public OR kick them the hell out.

    I just don’t think it’s fine to pretend they have nothing to do with religion.

    And if I want to talk about slipper slopes, I’d say I am more worried about Santa Claus becoming some slippery slope non-religious symbol and THEREFORE the government deciding he’s okay to display, than the government deciding he is a religious symbol but displaying him now, while giving Jews, and Muslims and Buddhists their access at other times is not an establishment of religion.

    And I agree with Mike, and actually with Gene H as well. Especially wrt to Indiana Jones. I wish they had made a sequel to Temple of Doom, it would have been nice to see what happened.

  11. Tony said, “I do not think the Christians use of pagan symbols is coincidental at all; I think they just repurposed a bunch of stuff that had been proven to work.”

    In fact, the RCC is well known for their history of purposefully co-opting the symbols of indigenous religions to “ease the transition” of their predatory proselytization.

  12. Clearly a sign from god, for sure! The pastors need to get a move on proselytizing. Obviously they have not been prosselling enough this season. Shame on them! If they had prosselled correctly there wouldn’t be any atheists. Then all that’s left is to kill off every person who’s in a non-approved religion. Problem solved!

    P.S. Uruguay has one of the highest populations of atheists in the world and it has no natural disasters. Is there a pattern here?

  13. “More on topic, I don’t think the use of public lands for private displays of any sort – religious or secular – is appropriate. ” (Gene)

    I totally agree with this statement and particularly like the use of the word “appropriate”

    In a town just west of us a lighted sign is prominently displayed on the lawn of one house every Christmas season. It is Tex’s favorite light display … the sign reads BAH HUMBUG

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