In Christmas wars, it’s all or nothing

AP This Dec. 4, 2011 photo shows avowed atheist Damon Vix in front of the display he set among other, … Continued


This Dec. 4, 2011 photo shows avowed atheist Damon Vix in front of the display he set among other, traditional holiday displays in Palisades Park in Santa Monica, Calif.

In the angry eyes of Christians in Santa Monica, Calif., Damon Vix is the atheist who stole Christmas.

Vix is blamed for the city’s decision to ban all private displays in Palisades Park, ending a tradition of 14 Nativity scenes erected by church groups in the park every December for the last 60 years.

The Santa Monica Christmas controversy began several years ago when Vix decided to counter the crèches by posting a sign with a quotation mistakenly attributed to Thomas Jefferson: “Religions are all alike – founded upon fables and mythologies.”

Other atheists joined Vix to demand space, forcing the city to set up a lottery to divvy up slots in the park.

Tensions mounted in the community last December after atheist groups flooded the lottery pool and won most of the available space. Many of their displays were vandalized.

In June, frustrated city officials tried to end the holiday war by banning all private displays in the park. Churches fought back with a lawsuit. But last week they lost round one when a federal judge allowed the ban to take effect.

The dueling displays in Santa Monica are the latest example of a growing trend across the country: Atheists are employing a new strategy to challenge the presence of religion in the public square. Wherever religious messages are allowed in public parks or government buildings, atheist groups are increasingly demanding equal time and space.

Of course, Damon Vix and many other atheists would prefer to see all religious symbols banned from public property, even when privately sponsored, as a violation of the Establishment clause of the First Amendment. In their view, a Nativity scene on public property sends a message of government endorsement of religion.

But the U.S. Supreme Court sees it differently:

Although government may not promote a religious message, the court has ruled that private religious expression in a public forum doesn’t violate the Establishment clause as long as other expression is allowed on equal terms.

In other words, Santa Monica may constitutionally allow churches to erect Nativity displays in the park if, and only if, the city allows other groups to display their message.

The only other option open to city officials is to shut down the forum for all non-governmental expression, which is precisely what Santa Monica has decided to do.

Savvy atheists have figured out that the best way to beat them is to join them: Counter religious messages with anti-religious messages – and government officials have no choice but to allow all or nothing.

The strategy seems to be working. A few years ago, for example, Washington state barred all nongovernment displays in the Capitol building after atheists groups put up signs mocking religion next to religious displays in December.

Meanwhile in Arkansas, it took an order by a federal judge to force the state to allow an atheist group to erect a “winter solstice” display next to a Nativity scene sponsored by a private group at the Capitol. Similar conflicts over competing displays have broken out in cities and towns across America.

Beyond the angry rhetoric, both sides in this battle have made valid – and valuable –constitutional points:

Religious groups have established that the First Amendment separates church from state, but not religious expression from public spaces. Whenever government creates a public forum, it can’t bar purely private religious expression.

And atheists have established that the First Amendment creates a level playing field. If religious groups get space in public parks or government buildings, then so must other groups get space – including in December.

So now that we all understand that a right for one is a right for all, maybe it’s time for atheist groups to declare victory and stay home for the holidays. Let Christian groups set up Nativity displays in public spaces unanswered in December – and save the atheist messages for another time of year.

Yes, I understand why atheists want to make sure that religion isn’t privileged by government in the public square (as it has been for much of our history). But at some point (and Santa Monica has surely reached that point) in-your-face tactics become counter-productive and needlessly divisive.

After all, whether we celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice or none of the above, we can all benefit from a more civil and peaceful public square.

Charles C. Haynes 
 is senior scholar at the  
Freedom Forum First Amendment Center 
 and director of the
 Religious Freedom Education Project 
at the

 in Washington.

Written by

  • Drew95

    No impartial person who has gone though any public Holiday display or event could possibly think that Christians have a privileged position. At one recent US Federal Government funded event they talked about the influence of every idea on “winter holidays” the only group excluded were Christians. In fact one nice you woman accidentally referred to a large, ornamented indoor evergreen tree as a “Christmas Tree” and caught herself and quickly looked around in fear as if she might be fired on the spot! I think Atheists are doing just fine in getting the State to act with discriminatory bigotry to block Christians from public space, while allowing all other ideas fee access.

  • itsthedax

    Well, good. No religion is entitled to the free use of public property or any other taxpayer funded resources.

  • bullet-504

    Oh the poor, persecuted Xians who have the entire world celebrating Xmas with them, their paid time off, kids home, family visiting and the entire capitalist establishment catering to all their (stolen pagan) traditions. Oh why oh why won’t those nasty atheists just let the government endorse and subsidize their most important fairy tale just like they do all the rest of the year?


    And as for Mr. Haynes: I’m glad you finally noticed. Just like Andy Dufresne, I guess now we’ll start sending TWO letters a week.

  • Secular1

    Drew95 there is no room for any religious dogma in teh public square, any more than Harry Potter has a place in the public square.

  • DavidJ9

    Drew95 is feeling sorry for the fact that Christians cannot use the government to oppress others. Of course the supposed Christians who want to do this have made it clear that they hate what Jesus taught.

  • xexon

    I have no religion. Eventhough I’m rather well educated on most of them.

    I really don’t mind seeing people celebrate their respective holidays. It breaks up the boredom that exists in all societies. I like to see my brothers and sisters around the world happy and having something to make them so.

    Keep your religions out of government and schools, we’ll get along just fine.


  • larryclyons

    Funny how so many of hte so-called Christians forget their own Bible:

    Matthew 6:5-8
    5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
    6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
    7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
    8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

    It would seem that these displays directly contradict their foundational document.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    I’m amazed that the atheists are missing some important points here:

    First, I don’t see how ANY group (up to this point) can claim that they have been denied the right to freely share their beliefs in public. I’ve seen some VERY STRANGE gatherings at least since the 1960s. That being said, the real reason for the “counter Nativity” displays is exactly that, to counter the Nativity beliefs of others. And in the process, at least in Santa Monica but I’m sure in other places as well, they managed to create an environment where now NO ONE can use the public square. I love the photo of the happy atheist (above) smiling with pride over his accomplishment. That’s a smart outcome pal! Congratulations!

    Secondly, public places are paid for by tax payers. Christians pay taxes. They have as much right to use public squares to exercise freedom of speech as any other tax payer. In this case, they use it to help foster the celebratory atmosphere of the Christmas season. And the happy atheist (above) just HAS to add his contrary opinion as a contribution. Can everyone say “wet blanket?”

  • cricket44

    He has the right to be a wet blanket. Those who don’t like it have the right to ignore it.

    I’d rather see displays from everyone be celebratory of the capability of the human spirit to find light and hope during the darkest part of the year but if someone chooses spite, that’s up to them. They absolutely have the right to put it there.

  • Secular1

    AFM, & SinVA, you are whining today, because you cannot get away with unchallenged playground. We are there to educate people how stupid, ignorant and your crap is, It is just that it is CRAP,

  • malusk03

    Let’s go back to the righteous ways of our Pilgrim and Puritan Fathers and ban all public celebrations of Christmas, whether on public or private property. Problem solved.

  • itsthedax

    Let us dream of a day when American christians are no longer an oppressed minority. Someday they will be able to erect their churches and practice their religion. Someday they will be able to wear the symbol of their faith and pray to their god without fear of arrest. Someday, christians will have equal rights in this country! I say to you, someday this country will have a christian president!

  • Catken1

    “Cricket celebrates the rights of all kinds of people, even the “right” to murder children. ”

    So do you, as long as it’s the children who die because your body belongs to you, and because your body parts may not be co-opted without your consent to support those poor, innocent, doe-eyed little babies who need your support to live, not even if all they need from you is a mere pint of blood.

    Murderer. Hateful, cruel murderer who insists on keeping the selfish right to own your own body and determine who may use it, even if that costs another person their life. Shame on you. If you were a Good Person, you’d accept your duty and give yourself over to government to be treated as a thing, a means to someone else’s end. Unselfish good people put babies’ innocent lives over their selfish right to say no to a blood or kidney donation, don’t they?

  • Catken1

    “Secondly, public places are paid for by tax payers. Christians pay taxes. They have as much right to use public squares to exercise freedom of speech as any other tax payer.”

    So do atheists. And an atheist has as much right to put up a sign expressing his belief that your religion is mythology as you do to put up a sign expressing your belief that anyone who doesn’t believe in your God’s avatar’s human sacrifice deserves to burn eternally in horrible agony.

    But of course, Christians can’t possibly put up with other people’s contrary opinions. You’ve had center stage and exclusive use of the public spotlight for so long, you don’t remember that sharing isn’t persecution – rather like the only child who’s suddenly asked to share with a new brother or sister, and doesn’t know how.

  • utopia27

    Literal word of God much? or only when convenient?

  • AgentFoxMulder

    “…an atheist has as much right to put up a sign expressing his belief…” (catken)

    Again, WHO IS QUESTIONING THIS? As I’ve said, up to this point, any cook with something to say could stand in the public square and say it. UNTIL NOW, that is, since the atheists are getting EVERYONE kicked out of the square.

    @Secular: I’m not whining. I probably should be crying but I’m too busy laughing at the absurdity of it all.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    Atheists, PLEASE STOP WHINING AND MOANING about how you don’t have a voice. This entire forum caters to your position. You now have the INTERNET and SOCIAL MEDIA at your disposal. Bill Maher is on your side. I suspect that mankind now has more freedom to express our self-important nonsense than at any other point in history.

    Oh, the bad news is you have to share all of these forums with people who disagree with you. Try not to get us all kicked out of the DIGITAL public square if you please.

  • alert4jsw

    So now that we all understand that a right for one is a right for all, maybe it’s time for atheist groups to declare victory and stay home for the holidays. Let Christian groups set up Nativity displays in public spaces unanswered in December – and save the atheist messages for another time of year.

    Imagine how this would have sounded in 1965, when someone told the black students at a school, “Okay, you’ve made your point that you can attend the prom with the white kids. Now why don’t you just declare victory and stay home, and let the white kids have their dance, and raise your issues other time?”

    In other words, you’ve made your point so just “declare victory” and stay home, allowing us to continue to exclude you from the celebration you won the right to attend.

    Sorry, but no.

    That misses the whole point that what we call “Christmas” is not and never has been exclusively a Christian holiday. It was celebrated the world over as the return of the sun long before Christianity was a figment in anyone’s imagination. And through much of its history, various Christian sects have frowned on an celebration of what they considered a pagan rite. This was even true here during our colonial period.

    The winter solstice is celebrated by many, for varied reasons. Christians are certainly welcome to join in that celebration for their own reasons, but they are NOT entitled to invite themselves to the party, and then demand that no one else can attend.

    The courts have it right. If there is a celebration on public land, it is open to everyone on an equal basis. Or the community can choose to not have the celebration at all. If Christians want to put up their Nativity scenes, creches, or even one of those pagan trees to the exclusion of any other display or message, there are more than enough churches to accomodate them.

  • harmonie555

    Christians are and have always been the majority in this country, nor have they ever been ‘oppressed’ in the common sense of that word. They have and always have held more than equal rights in comparison to other religions. We have never had a non-Christian President.

  • harmonie555

    You are correct that Christians have as much right to advertise teir beliefs in public forums, but they do not have greater rights to do so than any other religious group. What Christians, as well as other religions, neeed to learn is to share and play nicely in the same sandbox.

  • harmonie555

    So ccnl123, we are picking and choosing again what sentences and phrases were the words of Jesus 2000 years after the fact? The Bible is a work of Man, written by men based upon mens’ conception of what they think Jesus said. There was no transcription of Jesus’ words made at the time they were spoken. There are only the recollections of self-serving men told to them by other men, written in many cases hundreds of years after Jesus’ death, then translated and rewritten many times by many people. Yet we are to believe they all got it right and what we see today is a prefectly accurate iteration of his words?

  • Sadetec

    When the displays were overwhelmingly a Christian message, the practice lasted for decades. A year after they switched to becoming overwhelmingly non-belief and secular messages, the practice is banned.


  • dcrswm

    People like their ghost stories.

  • dcrswm

    I don’t want to see your silly superstitious beliefs on land my taxes go towards funding. Put your nativity scenes up on your property and be done with it.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    Because the atheists started a food fight in the cafeteria and now we all have to eat at our own desks.

    The christmas and Hanukkah season the displays of the Nativity and Menorahs lasts about 1 month. During that time Christians and non-christians enjoy typically enjoy the traditionally festive holiday season. Atheists have 11 other months to make their points with their displays but they seem to have an uncontrollable urge to dampen everyone else’s mood. So they decide to turn an otherwise festive season into a heated debate. In an effort to maintain the peace during the holidays town governments err on the side of equality for everyone via no displays for anyone.

  • dcrswm

    So lets just institute “Equality free December” that’s what the christian right would like anyway.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    Now we all have to celebrate Vixmas. It is a holiday of nothingness in which no one has a right to say anything. In fact, no one wants to for fear that it will start an unending debate about how we really have nothing to celebrate.

    Thank you crumudgeonly old Saint Vix.

    “Have a no-frills, buzzkill Vixmas. It’s the athiest’s time of year.”

  • AgentFoxMulder

    By the way, that last line is sung to the tune of “Holly, Jolly Christmas.” Boy, I hope that last word makes it past the filters.

  • PhillyJimi1

    Oh wow! Bill Maher is on our side! That is like trying to bring a fire cracker to nuke fight.

    I’ll tell you what we have on our side the US Constitution. We all have the right to believe or not believe what ever we want. But no one person or group has the right to impose their beliefs on others even if they are the majority.

    You do have the right to express your voice. I would gladly die defending your rights to voice your views even though I think they are wrong. So I’ll continue to whine and complain and be a thorn in your side and people who think like you do because it is important and it is called progress.

  • PhillyJimi1

    Dumbest idea ever! Thanks for diminishing my hope in humanity.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    Now we all have to celebrate Vixmas. It is a holiday of nothingness in which no one has a right to say anything. In fact, no one wants to for fear that it will start an unending debate about how we really have nothing to celebrate.

    Thank you crumudgeonly old Saint Vix.

    “Have a no-frills, buzzkill Vixmas. It’s the athiest’s time of year.” (Sung to the tune of “Holly, Jolly Christmas.”

  • itsthedax

    Yes, Mulder. christian churches can’t use tax-payer funded resources unless everyone else gets to as well, so christmas is ruined.

  • itsthedax

    Yes, harmonie, I know.

  • Yankee Mike Bravo

    “no one has a right to say anything.”

    You have the right to say pretty much anything…as long as you do it on your own land. The Supreme Court has even said you can use public land to further your religion, as long as others have the same opportunity.

    What you can NOT, NOT, NOT do is to use the government to spread your–and ONLY your–religious message.

  • alert4jsw

    Actually, hopefurgeson, that is exactly what I would hope would occur. I certainly don’t speak for all atheists, and like dcrswm, I think most religious beliefs are superstitious nonsense.

    But my point is that “Christmas” is not just a Christian holiday, and if public property is going to be made available for holiday displays, it must be available to everyone. If public property is made available for holiday displays, Christians are certainly welcome to put up their displays regardless of what I might think about their beliefs. But they don’t have the right to claim exclusive use of that property for their displays.

    In most cases I’m aware of, the atheist do simply “peacefully put up their solstice displays.” The violence comes from those who think they should have the exclusive right to use public property for their particular displays. And while it is usually some “offended” believer who tears down a solstice display, the atheists are somehow blamed for it.

    For example, in Loudoun County, Virginia, last year some woman took it upon herself to destroy a display that she found “offensive” to her Christian beliefs. Unfortunately for her, it turns out that the display was erected by some Christians who were protesting the commercialization of Christmas. The atheists had nothing ot do with it (although the press coverage didn’t go out of its way to disabuse people of that mistaken idea).

    If Christians wish to put up religious displays without any “competition” from us heathens, there are plenty of churches in every community that would probably be happy to accomodate them.

  • northernprairiefire

    How can any rational person argue that people who are not religious should give up their right to compete with religious types during the holiday. Why not point out that for a growing number of folks (especially young people raised by conservative Christians …see the latest data on this), Christianity is about as real as Harry Potter. Christians no longer call the shots… get used to it.

  • northernprairiefire

    too dumb to understand irony,,,

  • gonnagle

    The underlying assumption seems to be that Christmas is a Christian holiday. While its name has Christian origins nothing could be further from the truth. This time of year has been celebrated since before Jesus was a gleam in God’s eye. Christianity stole the holiday 1500 years ago and it has only been recently that the holidays become more secular meaning that more people can celbrate this time and bring us all together in a celebration of our common humanity. To try and perpetuate the myth that this is Christian only celebration is divisive and contrary to the very Christianity that the author espouses.

  • leibowde84

    You are wrong. The Winter Solstice is celebrated by every culture … but Christmas is a Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus. Hannukah is the celebration of God’s help in keeping a candle lit for eight days straight for the ancient Jews. They are not the same holiday. Why can’t the government be constitutional and call it the holiday season instead of the Christmas season. It’s not offensive to me at all, as a Christian, but it is offensive to every other religion.

  • leibowde84

    CHRISTMAS is not the same as the WINTER SOLSTICE idiots!!!! It is a religious holiday and should be treated as such. The establishment clause of the US Constitution forbids the government to support the establishment of a unified religion. If the government celebrates Christmas, the holdiay celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, it is definitely supporting Christianity as a unified religion supported by the government. This is not and never will be OK. Just call it the “holiday” season. Who cares?!

  • gonnagle

    Are you trying to say that the early church didn’t co-opt the feast of saturnalia for their own purposes? Add to that all the other pagan based symbolism associated with our modern Christmas and it is obvious that Christmas has multi-theistic origins. That is its unifying feature. To try and make it for only one belief is divisive and just a little bit selfish.

  • Catken1

    “CHRISTMAS is not the same as the WINTER SOLSTICE idiots!!!! It is a religious holiday and should be treated as such.”

    So is the Winter Solstice, to some.

  • Catken1

    “It is a holiday of nothingness in which no one has a right to say anything.”

    Um, the atheists aren’t taking away your right to speak, just asking for the same themselves. Or is it either “we Christians get ALL the speech and ALL the attention and ALL the cookies,” or “no one gets ANYTHING and no one has ANY fun and no one gets to talk at ALL” in your brain?

  • Catken1

    “Because the atheists started a food fight in the cafeteria and now we all have to eat at our own desks. ”

    OK, so because the atheists asked for free speech rights too, and the authorities decided to shut EVERYONE down rather than give them equal access to public space, it’s suddenly the atheists’ fault rather than the authorities’?

    If your holiday has real worth and value to you, you shouldn’t be threatened by someone else expressing a contrary opinion.

    And if you’re not allowed to use public space and public money to propagandize for your holiday anymore, because the authorities have decided that that’s preferable to allowing atheists to have equal access, what’s stopping you from using your own space and money and time to celebrate and speak and display your Nativity scenes and all? Or are you just going to pout and sulk, go home and draw the blinds and give up on your holiday just because you can’t get government to do it all for you? Can’t you do some celebration on your own initiative?

  • Catken1

    “So why not peacefully put up your solstice displays and enjoy them, and let Christians celebrate the holiday “as unto the Lord.” ”

    Why not? Because when we try, the authorities decide suddenly that no one gets any space at all, because letting non-Christians have equal access is somehow “offensive”.

  • Catken1

    Sure, if Christians will stop whining and moaning about the “War on Christmas” and how Persecuted and Abused you are and how you can’t POSSIBLY celebrate your holiday any more because you don’t get to monopolize public space or public attention for your own exclusive celebration. When churches and homes everywhere display Nativity scenes visibly and prominently, when bumper stickers freely lecture us all on the need to “keep Christ in Christmas”, when Christian carols play loudly and repetitively at malls (I love Christmas carols, don’t get me wrong, but most malls appear to believe that there are only three or four of them in existence, and play those over and over), when you need fear no government intrusion into your worship or celebration at home or in church, when indeed you and your kids very likely get a free day off to celebrate without having to use up a sick day or vacation day to do it (sometimes a whole week, particularly for kids), you have no earthly business claiming persecution.

  • Catken1

    ” UNTIL NOW, that is, since the atheists are getting EVERYONE kicked out of the square. ”

    Ah, so because the authorities had rather shut everyone down than let anyone express a view that might be contrary to Christian privilege, it’s all the atheists’ fault for daring to express their views.

    Yeah. So when your child’s teacher says, “Well, we had been writing essays about what our kids are thankful for, but your child was thankful for God, and I didn’t want to hear anything contrary to my own atheist opinion, so I cancelled the whole project,” you’ll scold your child for getting the project cancelled, by putting a “wet blanket” on his/her teacher’s opinions?

  • Catken1

    Not that I’ve seen any teacher do this, by the way. Indeed, the walls are papered at my son’s school with such “I’m thankful for…” papers, and a good number of them ARE thankful for God and Jesus and other religious figures, and they are up there with the rest. (My son was grateful for his kindergarten and first grade teachers, his parents, his friends, and, sigh, Angry Birds.)

  • Catken1

    No one’s stopping you, Hope. You just can’t use everyone’s public space and public money without allowing equal access to other groups, too, including those who say things of which you may not approve.

  • Joel Hardman

    The church co-opted earlier winter solstice celebrations…and made them religious.

  • Catken1

    No, the church did not “make them religious.” They were already religious. The church made them Christian.
    Christianity is not the only religion in the world, and its celebrations are not the only ones worthy of the term “religious”.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    Evidently you haven’t read the article very carefully. In some towns (like Vix’s Santa Monica) NO ONE gets to display their beliefs.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    The origin of Christmas is irrelevant to this topic. It does not matter which holiday it is, or when and how it originated or when it should be celebrated. The article is about yet another instance of someone getting all worked up about people celebrating their faith.

    The establishment clause is a non issue as the Supreme Court has made a clear decision here.

    No one has denied that atheists have a right to use the pubic square to voice their beliefs, opinions, positions (whatever). Mr. Vix could have allowed Christians to celebrate a holiday. But where others set up a menorah or a nativity scene as an expression of celebration, Mr. Vix (like so many atheists) sees them making some kind of apologetic argument that MUST be answered. It really appears to be more of a neurosis on the part of the atheists who can’t seem to understand that not everyone is looking for a debate.

    Some times we just want to celebrate.

  • Catken1

    ” Mr. Vix could have allowed Christians to celebrate a holiday. ”

    How did he stop you from celebrating?

  • Catken1

    ” In some towns (like Vix’s Santa Monica) NO ONE gets to display their beliefs.”

    Because Santa Monica authorities have determined that they’d rather shut down the whole thing than allow atheists to have their displays. That’s on Santa Monica, not on the atheists.

    If your child’s class held a gingerbread house decorating party, and your child put a cross on their house, and the teacher decided to cancel the party rather than allow one student their religious expression, would you scold your child for spoiling the party for everyone? Or would you blame the person who actually DID cancel the party rather than allow free speech rights for everyone?

  • Catken1

    Oh, and I bet even in Santa Monica, there are plenty of Christians openly and visibly displaying their beliefs. “Not being allowed to use public space and public funds to put up your displays” is not equivalent to “not getting to display your beliefs.”

    Has Santa Monica banned one single person or one single church from putting up a Nativity scene or a cross or other religious display on their property, clearly visible to everyone? Have they interfered with anyone’s church services, or told you you may not have a Christmas tree in your home, or a party for your friends and family, or gift exchanges, or prayer meetings, or whatever you like?

  • Catken1

    Give you a hint. It wasn’t he who said there would be no more “celebration” on public property with public funding. It was people who would rather shut down all displays and all celebrations on public property than allow any views to be displayed of which they disapprove.

    And no one has taken away your private celebrations or your private displays at all, anywhere in America.

  • Catken1

    Oh, and no one is stopping you, anywhere, from celebrating and displaying your celebration and your decorations openly on your own property, with your own money and time. Celebrate and worship as you like.
    But if you have to use public space and public money to celebrate, you have to do so on equal terms with everyone else.

    And if the authorities shut down your access to public space for your celebration because they don’t want to allow someone else to have the same rights as you to use that space and speak THEIR minds, then the AUTHORITIES are the “killjoys”, not the atheists who have simply asked for the same thing you have.

  • itsthedax

    Gee, Mulder, you mean that no body at all gets to put up decorations, or nativity scenes, of celebrate christmas at all??!! Nobody gets to put up a tree of exchange presents??? No churches can hold services??? Why that’s terrible!!!! I thought you were just being hysterical and spouting hyperbole, but you were RIGHT! This is the WORST CHRISTMAS EVER!!!!

    Or, did you mean that the government of Santa Monica decided that publicly funded spaces should not be used for religious purposes?

    Cheer up. Maybe Santa will get you a grip for christmas.