Oh atheists. While I will never completely understand your decision not to believe in some sort of God or higher power or anything bigger than our mere little selves, I 100 percent respect your right to choose that path in life. So why oh why can't you do the same and lay off this nativity scene business? The Santa Monica area synagogues and churches who set up displays in Palisades Park for over 50 years aren't hurting anybody.
It's counterproductive, and only makes everyone cranky at a time of year when we should be feeling joyful. While you may succeed in finding a law that will effectively ban all religious symbols and displays from public spaces, you'll never really win this game in the end and here's why:
1. You aren't going to make Christmas or Hanukkah go away. (Bah your separation of church and state argument -- we know that's what the real intention is here.) But it's never. gonna. happen. NEVER. So deal with it.
2. You are coming off looking shallow, mean, and spiteful, like the spoiled neighborhood brat who always got pissy when everyone voted to play kickball when they really wanted to play tag. No one ever liked playing with that kid.
3. The displays aren't going to convince someone who isn't religious to suddenly convert or defect from your ranks. There's no priest hiding behind the manger with a portable baptismal font ready to christen you unawares. It doesn't work that way. But if you did decide to join, we would forgive, forget, and accept you with open arms. We're good like that.
4. Many of the past nativity scenes from area churches represented historical scenes from the Bible, such as Joseph and Mary (on a donkey) riding into Bethlehem, or a scene from Herod's court. Whether you believe Jesus was the messiah or not, many of these events are recorded history.
5. You're just jealous we get presents and you don't. Yeah, it sucks to be you this time of year.
6. Your kids might actually enjoy them. Like it or not, your little atheists will probably attend school with other children who are being raised in a faith, whether it's Jewish or Hindu or Muslim or whatever, and they are going to have questions. This is a very non-threatening way to teach them about this stuff. They need to get used to it sooner or later.
7. You're winning anyway! Atheism is the only "religious category" that's actually on the rise in the United States -- almost all other religions are in decline or staying the same. You know how the coach taught you not to celebrate the goal when you're already pummelling the other team 10-1? Yeah, like that.
8. You don't have to walk through or drive past this portion of the park. You have the freedom to travel any which way you want so you don't have to look at anything you don't want to. Isn't this country great?
9. People are going to continue to put up displays in their yards. I would if I lived next door to you in Santa Monica. A big old honking one with lights and sounds. And I'd leave it up 'til Easter.
10. You are waging this war in Santa Monica, ironically. "Santa" translates to SAINT, by the way. That's a Christian term in case you didn't know. I guess that's next on your list. You better get going, you've got a long way to go.
I know I'm forgetting some reasons -- what?
Image via Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee