It’s unusual to find a public official with the guts to stand up to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, one of the premier anti-Christian hate groups in the country.
The litigious FFRF, which often uses threats of legal action to get its way and to suppress public displays of Christianity or Judaism, probably thought it had won its fight in Texas when it was allowed to put up a counter-Nativity display in the state capitol.
The display, billed as a “Winter Solstice” exhibit, made light of the Christian story of the birth of Jesus, featuring a group of Founding Fathers and Lady Liberty looking at a copy of the Constitution in a bed made of hay.
That was too much for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who fired off an official complaint and demanded that the State Preservation Board remove the display.
Abbott’s letter lists point-by-point why the display was deemed offensive and not appropriate for the Capitol.
Abbott wrote: “First, far from promoting morals and the general welfare, the exhibit deliberately mocks Christians and Christianity. The Biblical scene of the newly born Jesus Christ lying in a manger in Bethlehem lies at the very heart of the Christian faith. Subjecting an image held sacred by millions of Texans to the Foundation’s tasteless sarcasm does nothing to promote morals and the general welfare. To the contrary, the Foundation’s spiteful message is intentionally designed to belittle and offend, which undermines rather than promotes any public purpose a display promoting the bill of rights might otherwise have had. The Board has allowed and should continue to allow diverse viewpoints to be expressed in Capitol displays. But it has no obligation to approve displays that purposefully mock the sincere religious beliefs of others.”
If atheists ever have anything positive to contribute to public life, they should be allowed to put up a display in the same public spaces Christian groups use, but since atheists have no official holidays or even doctrine, the best they seem to be able to do is to attempt to one-up and criticize Christians.
The only reason the FFRF exists is to harass Christians and discourage them from ever participating in the larger community, using the tactics of fear and legal intimidation.
There is little practical difference between the FFRF’s treatment of Christians and the KKK’s treatment of blacks, except that the FFRF usually enjoys the support of the courts.
It’s refreshing to find a governor who can see through the FFRF’s act and call the display what it really is.