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Posted by on Nov 23, 2014 in local, nativity, separation of church and state | 1 comment

New Luzerne County Courthouse holiday display

2014 Luzerne County Courthouse holiday display

2014 Luzerne County Courthouse holiday display

This year’s holiday display on Luzerne County Courthouse grounds includes both religious and secular symbols.

Five years ago, in December of 2009, upon first becoming involved with separation of church and state issues, I contacted the American Civil Liberties Union’s Pennsylvania chapter when I had seen a Christian display prominently featured at the Luzerne County Courthouse. Following some uproar, particularly from local citizens, a more inclusive display was erected in 2009.

This year, in 2014, Lzuerne County officials have correctly followed the 2009 inclusive display with another inclusive display. Kudos to them.

While I would like for there to be no religious symbols whatsoever on courthouse grounds — a complete separation of religion and government — I understand that this is not the current legal reality [religious holiday displays can be placed on government property provided there are other items making the display inclusive] and am happy Luzerne County officials, this time around, are adhering to the law.

Both secular and religious individuals wonder why issues like this are important. Why focus efforts on holiday displays and not larger issues like tax laws allowing unfair religious exemptions? My focus is particularly local, in the Northeastern Pennsylvania area, and ‘smaller issues’ like these are important to challenge because people appeal to these ‘smaller issues’ when defending the bigger issues a la ‘well, you see, there is no such thing as separation of church and state because governments place nativity scenes on courthouse lawns.’

It is nice to see that, years later, the ACLU and I have more than likely left a lasting impact and changed things for the better.

As always, feel free to comment below.

  • Atheist Avenger

    But what will you do now? =( You gotta find something offensive, or we’ll lose steam. We gotta stick it to the thei-tards (theists + retards, because ALL religious people are neanderthalic retards haha, get it?). We must search this slave minded country for instances of zealotry. What will happen if you become too complacent? Do you really want to be the Uncle Tom of the atheists? I mean seriously, Vac. You were going hard against every form of Christian privilege, and then you write this happy pappy bullshit? You’ve lost your edge! Did the atheist feminazis cut off your fuel jewels? (They might as well be theists with their retarditry.) But anyway, this is supposed to be constructive criticism. You either fight as an atheist, or you’ll end up becoming a theist. We don’t need a happy token atheist who will keep our oppressors smiling. We need you to be the 2009 Justin Vacula. The Justin Vacula who didn’t care how big or small the offense was, he solved it! The Justin Vacula for atheists of Generation Y and Z. The Justin Vacula that we deserve, and the one we need right now. They’ll criticize you. But you can take it. Because you’re not their hero. You’re an advocate. A vengeful rebel. An Atheist Knight!