Earlier this year we wrote about a letter atheists sent to Baxter County officials concerning a Nativity scene that has graced the courthouse lawn in Mountain Home for years.
This year, rather than stand by their legal ability to celebrate Christmas with decorations that are religious in scope, the Baxter County Quorum Court unanimously decided to put a disclaimer up alongside the Nativity stating the display was the work of private citizens.
Under the resolution, the quorum court approved placing the nativity scene on the lawn, accompanied by a disclaimer on a sign that states:
“During the Holiday Season, the County of Baxter salutes liberty. Let these festive lights and times remind us that we are keepers of the flame of liberty and our legacy of freedom. Whatever your religion or beliefs, enjoy the holidays. This display is owned and erected by private citizens of Baxter County.”
The irony is I believe this disclaimer is more likely to add to the controversy than subtract from it. If one private group is able to put a Nativity display on the courthouse lawn, I would expect other private groups to allege they should be able to put displays on the lawn as well.
We have already seen this at the State Capitol Building in Little Rock: Atheists successfully argued in court their “Winter Solstice Display”should go up alongside a privately-owned Nativity scene on the capitol lawn–even though the atheists’ display has almost nothing to do with Christmas and very little to do with the Winter Solstice.
We keep saying it: Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. It is also an official holiday in this country. Why would our government be free to recognize Christmas as a holiday; give its employees time off from work on Christmas day; put up decorations commemorating Christmas; but not even mention the very event Christmas celebrates? It’s ridiculous.