Re: “No legal danger for Gig Harbor’s baby in manger,” (TNT, 1/22).
Roger Byron of First Liberty leads the town down a treacherous path in his recent op-ed. The U.S. Supreme Court has said that holiday displays consisting solely of nativity scenes, like Gig Harbor’s in the past, are unconstitutional.
Allowing a nativity on public property signals that the government prefers Christianity, at a time when there are more non-Christians than ever, including 39 percent of Washingtonians.
Gig Harbor should refrain from adding a Santa alongside its nativity to belatedly attempt to legitimize its endorsement of Christianity, as First Liberty would have the town do. This “solution” is an obvious pretense to continue promoting Christianity.
One option is to create a public forum in the park to allow anyone to put up a winter display. Alongside the nativity, the Freedom From Religion Foundation would put up one of our winter solstice displays proclaiming “may reason prevail,” and noting that religion is “but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”
Or, we could leave the theological divisiveness off public property, each celebrate the holidays personally as we see fit, and let our communal spaces remain neutral on the subject of religion.
(Madeline Ziegler is a legal fellow with the Freedom from Religion Foundation.)