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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Touchy Topic Tuesday- Skeleton Santa Nailed to Cross: Freedom of Speech?

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Touchy Topic Tuesday: Skeleton Santa Nailed to Cross: Freedom of Speech?

Last week, I read  this article Atheists Display Skeleton Santa Nailed to a Cross on MSN.

In short, the article is talking about how an Atheist mother and her son put a Halloween skeleton dressed in a Santa Suit up on a Courthouse lawn- the catch? He's nailed to a cross.

Of course, it's appearance immediately stirred discussion about Freedom of Speech.

Some say it's a work of art, representing the turn of Christmas from love and family and Faith to commercialism and greed.

Others see it as a personal offense on Christians themselves. In fact, quickly after the skeleton was displayed, one woman dismantled it because she thought it was offensive and crass.

Me? I agree- offensive and crass, for sure- and, I also believe it was INTENDED to be offensive and crass, rather than a social commentary made by someone who was deeply hurt by the over abundance of commercialism amid a holiday meant to be religiously based.

You see, the people who put it up were Atheists. This matters, incredibly, because the very definition of Atheist is a person who does not believe in a God or a religion to any degree. Atheists, IF they celebrate Christmas (and I imagine that most of them do, since it's just such a prominent holiday throughout the world and celebrated my many, MANY religions, including many of them that aren't even Christian at all.) do not celebrate it for the reason of Christ's birth. They very well may celebrate it in the spirit of love and family and generosity, but it is not, IN ANY WAY, a religious celebration for them, and therefore, would really mostly be based ON the very commercialism this pair is commenting on.

The problem I have with this speaking out is not that there is a skeleton Santa. I DO agree that, in many cases, commercialism rules Christmas (I am actually okay with that, but it will be discussed in next week's Touchy Topic Tuesday)  and you find commentary on this EVERYWHERE you look. However, I find it distasteful that a pair of people who do not believe in a God or a religion, or least of all Christ, who this holiday is entirely ABOUT, feel the need to lecture those of us who DO celebrate Christmas because of our deep seated religions, and to tell us that we are doing it incorrectly, that our hearts are not in the right place, nevermind that they, themselves, are not celebrating it for "the right reasons."  They don't have a rotted soap box to even stand on.

I am a big supporter of Freedom of Speech. Which is why, if it were me, I would ignore the thing, and walk away. Having a belief in the FoS, though, does not mean I can't have an opinion. When it comes down to it, if they're going to ban religious Nativities because they're "unconstitutional", and force religious opinions on those who do not desire them, then something like this should not be allowed either. Because it's religious commentary in addition to being social commentary. And if I, as a Christian am denied the right, then that same right should not be  handed to someone else simply because they are NOT Christian.

How do YOU feel about this "Christmas" display? What would you do? How would you react, and how would you explain this to a child?


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beth said...

It seems to me that the people who preach tolerance and open-mindedness seem to extend those gifts to all but Christians. Every faith is politically correct EXCEPT the ones that follow Christ. I have said it before and now again, Ignorance and hate doesn't have claim on any theological belief/political party or Ethneticity . Being closed minded isn't just a Christian's birthright. And Atheists don't have ownership on being open-minded. Being "Open-minded" does not mean, "I accept All as long as they believe as I do", as well as being "discerning" is not a definition for being "Close-minded". Bah humbug on hate that is universal.

Michael Ann said...

Wow. I think your assessment of the display is spot-on. If it were put up by Christians as a commentary about the commercialism of Christmas, I'd say "bravo" actually. But since it was put up by Atheists, what are they trying to say? I don't get it. It seems to me then they are just being nasty.

I also believe in the freedom of speech and so, I think they have a right to that display BUT, like you said, Christians should also have a right to display a Creche. It was public property right? That is totally hypocritical.

How would I handle it? Same way as you. Just ignore and then discuss with my kids if they saw it. Just openly and honesty, what I thought it meant, and since my kids are teens, I'm sure they'd have an opinion too. Actually a pretty great opportunity for discussion!

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