11/14/13

Atheists Challenging Nativity Scenes

Nativity scene
Nativity scene (Photo credit: Leonard Bentley)
Austin Cline (About.com's Agnosticism/Atheism page) has a great post up in which he asks whether atheists should challenge nativity scenes on government property during the holiday season. He lists six common objections from those who say we should not do this and explains why each falls short of being convincing.

His list of objections includes the following:
  1. Nativity scenes aren't important, don't merit time, money, resources
  2. Challenging nativity scenes is bad for public relations
  3. Nativity scenes are part of the Christmas holidays
  4. Nativity scenes are traditional
  5. Nativity scenes aren't really religious/sectarian
  6. Nativity scenes are protected by the first amendment
These do appear to be the most common objections. I've certainly heard each of them quite a few times over the years, and I can't think of anything that should be on the list that isn't. I also agree with Austin that none of them should deter us from continuing to challenge nativity scenes and other church-state violations.

For more on the related subject of why atheists might seek to contribute to holiday displays erected by religious groups on government property, I'll refer you to this post from 2010.

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