Magazine article Church & State

Christmas Display Dissenters Are 'Terrorists,' Says Va. Town Official

Magazine article Church & State

Christmas Display Dissenters Are 'Terrorists,' Says Va. Town Official

Article excerpt

A member of the Loudoun County, Va., Board of Supervisors doesn't think much of people who oppose the display of Christian holiday symbols on government property. In fact, says Ken Reid, they are "terrorists."

"It's strictly this group of terrorists," Reid told The Washington Times. "They're fanatics who basically want to stamp out religion in all public life and property."

Reid's comments came in response to an ongoing flap in the county over holiday displays outside the Loudoun County Courthouse in Leesburg, Va. For the past few years, county officials have been grappling with what types of displays will be permitted on public space.

In 2009, Loudoun's Courthouse Grounds Facility Committee decided not to allow any displays outside the courthouse, including a creche that had been displayed there annually.

Creche fans didn't like that idea much and pressured the committee to reverse the decision. A few days later the decision was overturned. County officials said all sorts of displays would be welcomed and allowed people to erect messages on a first-come, first-served basis.

But that didn't satisfy the backers of the Nativity scene, either. They were especially dismayed in December of 2011 when many of the displays were offbeat or critical of religion. Although two Nativity scenes were displayed on the courthouse lawn, other displays included a sign reading, "Celebrating our Constitution: Keeping Church and State Separate Since 1787," a sign depicting the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a display asserting that Jesus Christ, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were all mythical and a skeleton wearing a Santa suit nailed to a cross. …

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