Why is it that so many Christians are anti-social bigots? It’s not a question of whether they are, it’s a question of why they are. Here is yet another city having to fall in line with the Constitution and Christians are getting upset with that.
This year, Loudoun County leaders hoped to avoid yet another season of controversy and media attention over the placement of holiday displays on the Leesburg courthouse grounds.
But the focus on Loudoun’s infamous annual debate has only heightened in recent weeks after local atheists presented readings from Charles Darwin on the public property — and county Supervisor Kenneth D. “Ken” Reid (R-Leesburg) referred to the the group as “terrorists” for their continued opposition to religious displays on the grounds.
As has happened in so many other places, unhappy Christians were getting their panties in a twist because other people wanted their rightful place and representation. So the county reached a decision:
With the goal to end the resulting uproar, the Board of Supervisors voted this year to approve a county-funded holiday arrangement and ban all other unattended displays.
But attended displays are still permitted under the policy, and an application from a local atheist group was approved. On Nov. 16, the group set up a tent with banners and a podium, and more than a dozen volunteers handed out information to passersby and read from the work of Charles Darwin, according to Rick Wingrove, the Virginia director of American Atheists.
Good. The County would put up their holiday display, and if others wanted to have a display it had to be attended by someone from the group hosting the display. No more unattended displays. The rule applied to everyone equally.
Apparent County Supervisor Kenneth D. “Ken” Reid had a problem with this, referring to atheists as “terrorists”.
But the rhetoric surrounding the sensitive issue reached a new pitch Monday when Reid was quoted referring to the atheists as “terrorists”in an article in The Washington Times.
“None of the religious organizations in the county have had any problem with what we’re doing,” Reid said in the Nov. 26 story. “It’s strictly this group of terrorists. They’re fanatics who basically want to stamp out religion in all public life and property.”
The comment drew sharp condemnation from local Democrats and atheists.
On Tuesday, Evan Macbeth, Chairman of the Loudoun County Democratic Committee, said the group strongly objected to the use of the word “terrorist” to describe any peaceful protester.
“In a post-9/11 world, ‘terrorist’ is among the most incendiary terms one can use,” Macbeth said in the statement. “To use it in a casual manner, to describe a fellow citizen who disagrees with you on matters of politics or public policy, is irresponsible and offensive.”
Reid said Wednesday that he regretted using the word “terrorists” and apologized to those who may have been offended.
“My use of the word ‘terrorist’ was a poor choice of words and the Washington Times did not tell it in full context,” Reid said in an e-mail. “My comments in the Times were directed specifically at the atheist groups that have been relentlessly pursuing their goal to remove all religious holiday symbols from the courthouse lawn, not ALL atheists or non-believers.”
So apparently not all atheists are terrorists, just the ones who insist on upholding the Constitution and keeping public places religion-neutral. Reid’s apology was not an apology at all.
Just because Christians are terrified of equality and fear those who would insist on neutrality in government does not mean atheists and secularists are terrorists. If a religious group wants to put up their religious holiday displays, they can put them up on church grounds or other private property, not property paid for by all taxpayers. Public property and government property is not the place to put up religious displays promoting one or another religion.
As has long been understood from the First Amendment, government cannot favor one religion over another, NOR favor religion over non-religion. Government is not anti-religion, but must remain religion-neutral. It is really not a difficult concept, yet some want to insist on having special privilege for their religion and get upset when others ask for the same privilege.