by Al Bloomfield
Thursday December 29, 2011
PITMAN, NEW JERSEY – Like an annual bad wind, Ebenezer Scrooge arrived to try to ruin Christmas with his, “Bah, humbug!” In the 21st-century Mr. Scrooge invariably takes the form of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. It is a radical far left atheist organization that endorses a flawed interpretation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution referencing the separation of church and state.
Members of Pitman Borough’s fire department put up the annual “Keep Christ in Christmas” banner across the main road of Broadway which belongs to the Knights of Columbus Council # 6247. A Pitman atheist glimpsed the sign going up and saw red. The atheist – like some petulant child – decided to tell. This anonymous troublemaker contacted the Freedom from Religion Foundation. They in turn complained to Borough Mayor Michael Batten demanding that the banner represents government endorsement of one religion over another.
There are several problems with this proposition. Christ and Christmas are indelibly linked. You can’t have the Ed Sullivan Show and say that it’s about Martha Stewart. It was a variety show hosted by Mr. Sullivan, not a cooking show hosted by Mrs. Stewart. Since Christ and Christmas are inseparable the only solution would be to outlaw Christmas. To some extent, certainly in a de facto sense, that’s what these atheist groups are trying to do.
But a more substantive observation is that the “Keep Christ in Christmas” banner was not on public property. The banner was attached on one side to a privately owned bank and on the other side to the Verizon pole. The banner may hang over a government road, but it does not sit on a government road. Even if it did in (and it does not) Broadway is a county road. The borough of Pitman has no jurisdiction over the road. Since the banner is not on public property there is no endorsement of religion by a government body. Next time the Freedom from Religion Foundation should verify the facts before engaging public officials.
Sources of information for this report included Fox News and NJ.com.
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