It is December. We are approaching the dark days of Winter, and on the 25th a celebration of the Savior's birth, although He was not born in December, nor did He make a proclamation to celebrate a day of birth for Him or anyone else. But it's also an opportunity for atheism to sound its horn in a court of law and to try to bully Christians and government to take down its manger scenes.
The liberal fells this is tantamount to a statement of preference of one view of religion by the government over another, and also raises a question of how money is spent (subsidies). So let's look at subsidies. And then secondly, the claim that the land belonging to a municipal government cannot be used displays of this sort.
Let's start with the NEA and Piss Christ.
Taking a look at the NEA and Piss Christ, we just as easily furnish examples that government has subsidized expression that touches upon religion and yet takes a very hostile stance toward it.
As far as what Western democracy represents, it does indeed represent a system that once acknowledged disestablishment, and inasmuch as we want it to continue honoring that tradition today, a government which represents all people can fund neither a sectarian expression, of Presbyterians, for example, or that of those hostile to Christianity, such as a segment within the NEA.
But more than that, the arts really should not be funded by government at all. We see no benefit in subsidizing the output of an artist whose work the common market has disesteemed as so worthless that he cannot support himself, and neither does the true artist who produces a beautiful object need our support. The idea of "funding the arts" is such a confusion of terms and uniting them together to suggest that if you oppose it, you are a Neanderthal and backwards. This is Orwellianism at its finest.
Another principle is that of the land that is used for the display. This here is construed by liberals as the admission of the government of a preference for a religion over others.
That though is not how I see it at all. A Nativity scene set upon government grounds isn't itself an expression on the part of the municipality to support the mythology of a particular faith tradition. I don't view the funding of NEA a declaration of partisanship by the government. But a crucial difference is the NEA received government money, and the Manger scene did not.
Because of the nature of old towns in the US, which have a designated downtown area, with many old shops, that are perhaps decades or over a century old, and in these small communities the downtown area serves as a gathering place on festive occasions for the town to come together to be united in purpose, that if the prominent land is the property of the government, the citizen might likely use this plot to display a message or scene such as is beneficial to the community.
And I support the right of the general taxpayer to make use of that prominent piece of land.
Many objections will say, "But what about Muslims? Since the Muslims cannot use this land, then we should not allow anyone to use this land."
This is only a presupposition and is not allowing the person to answer for himself. The one offering the "question", which is a statement in disguise, is telling you that you are a bigot and you are opposed to a Muslim display.
I am not opposed to a Muslim display. Although the Muslim display should abide by the same basic rules any other display should follow.
The presentation of a child laying in hay is inherently innocuous.
If a Muslim wants to present a display such as is wholesome to the religion and the host culture then that display should be heralded and I think the ordinary citizen will be pleased with it. Yet some displays from cultures where that religion predominates are not wholesome displays, and rather involve cutting off heads and placing them on stakes and other very bloody things.
I'm not suggesting that is the message a Muslim would portray. I think he would portray another message, such as one that would paint his religion in a positive light and in a way that highlights its contribution to culture. This would meet my ready approval, and I imagine only a very few would deny.
So my overall contribution to the debate is the ordinary citizen should be able to make a statement, that it can be made on public land, but it can't be made in a way that marginalizes other segments of society nor should a privilege that is extended to one party be denied to another party on any other basis.
The vestiges of religion and Deism that still find their way into our society are found when prayers are given before an opening session of the Congress, in the ideologies of the organizations which our government funds, and the specific targeting of a Nativity scene is an uneven policy targeting religion in society which to me represents harassment.
No liberal I know of expressed concern about how government spends its money in the aftermath of Piss Christ. That the ordinary liberal is more satisfied with taxpayer money going to a display of a Crucifix sitting in a jar of urine than to see the wholesome image of a baby in a manger, fully reveals to me the extreme hatred native to the American liberal, so that tax money should go to seeing a good man reviled in human filth, and the innocent Christchild taken away to a government dungeon or landfill, to never be seen again.
(But what did we expect, when in the aftermath of Roe v. Wade, the American liberal is responsible for the deaths of over fifty million infants and far more when all the tally is counted. Even more so, when we are reminded of the words of Professor Singer, who personally considers Jesus at the age so displayed as not yet old enough to be protected with the right of life, suggesting a mother has the right to kill her child up until the age of three.)