Saturday, December 21, 2013

MT Schools, FL Reject Atheist Anti-Christmas Demands

After allowing several "holiday displays" in the Florida Capitol, including a Festivus pole and a chair of spaghetti with eyeballs next to the Christmas Nativity scene, officials said "no" to an homage to Satan.

In Montana's Flathead Valley, three high schools defied threats from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) by holding their "holiday concert" at a Mormon church.

For background, read how the Obama Administration is Using the Military to Attack Christmas

And also read the latest news of the secular rebellion against Christmas.

-- From "Florida rejects request to install Satanic display" by The Associated Press 12/19/13

The Department of Management Services emailed The Satanic Temple on Wednesday, telling the group its proposed display of an angel falling from heaven into an open fire was "grossly offensive."

Co-founder Lucien Greaves says the group asked what was offensive, acknowledging they might be willing to alter the display, but they didn't get a response Thursday.

Several groups have been allowed to put up displays in the Statehouse rotunda because the area is considered to be a public forum.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Florida Rejects Satanic Temple Holiday Display Application" by Jessica Palombo, WFSU (Florida Public Radio) 12/19/13

The rejected Satanic Temple display is a 3-D depiction of Satan falling from heaven into hell accompanied by a Bible verse recounting the fall.  It also said “Happy Holidays from the Satanic Temple.”

Freedom from Religion Foundation lawyer Andrew Seidel says the state has shown an unconstitutional preference for Christianity.

Seidel’s group has a Winter Solstice banner on display at the Capitol. That’s alongside a Flying Spaghetti Monster, a Festivus pole and the nativity scene that started the debate.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Satanic Temple considers fight over display" by Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida 12/20/13

Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the New York-based temple, said in an email on Thursday that he was "genuinely surprised" the Department of Management Services "would place itself in such a seemingly awkward position" by refusing to allow the temple's display.

However, before filing any legal challenge, Greaves said his group is giving the department a short time to clarify the offensive nature of the display and to see if some compromise could be worked out.

The state agency had recently approved two Christian nativity scenes, a pole made of empty beer cans, banners from atheists and a shredded pile of paper that is supposed resemble the deity of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

The ACLU said it has yet to hear from the temple, but it would like to hear from any group "wrongfully denied" from being able to put up a display in the rotunda.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "ACLU opposes Montana high school choir performances" by Dax VanFossen, KAJ-TV18 (Kalispell, MT) 12/5/13

While these performances are taking place at a religious venue, Assistant Superintendent of Kalispell Public Schools Dan Zorn said the school choirs perform at many venues all across the Flathead Valley.

Zorn said the student choirs from both Glacier and Flathead High Schools do numerous performances throughout the year, and at no time are they being partial to one group or another, nor are they teaching the students religion.

"We're not promoting religion, we're not supporting any religious belief here," Zorn said. "We're taking advantage of an opportunity for our kids to perform, regardless of the religiousity or I guess the religious underpinnings that might or might not be in place."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "School Choir Holds Christmas Concert at Church Despite Atheist Complaints" by Katherine Weber, Christian Post Reporter 12/6/13

Dozens of student members of the Flathead, Glacier and Whitefish high school choirs performed their annual "Peace on Earth Community Christmas Celebration" at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kalispell Thursday. They will be performing a second time Friday evening. School officials decided to go through with the performance despite recent complaints from the ACLU and FFRF which argued the concert was an unconstitutional violation of the separation of church and state due to public school involvement with church activity.

. . . Kalispell Superintendent Darlene Schottle wrote in a formal response to the ACLU that not allowing students to voluntarily participate in the concert could also be seen as a constitutional violation of the right to freely express one's religion. "One could interpret that by denying district students the opportunity to participate because of the Christian theme of the overall event might be in violation of the second half of the establishment clause, 'prohibiting the free exercise thereof.' Students may 'opt out' of assignments and/or activities that might conflict with their belief system to assure that the district is not placing them in a situation they might find uncomfortable."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Atheists Sue to Bring 'Goofy' Jesus Down in Montana