Sacramento Freethinkers Atheists & Nonbelievers (FAN) Message Board › need suggestions for how to deal with government Xmas celebration

need suggestions for how to deal with government Xmas celebration

Janet T
user 8714228
Loomis, CA
Post #: 85
I just found out our town council is, as always, sponsoring a holiday tree lighting event on town property, but this time they've added not only a church puppet show about a star being born but also a living nativity scene! I am flabbergasted, and need to know how to proceed to nip this in the bud. I contacted the mayor to let her know, as she is also non-religious. Any boilerplate letter that could be sent to the town attorney? I know it will have to be nipped legally as the council won't want to roil religious waters so soon after a contentious election.
Thanks to all who respond!
David D.
DavidDiskin
Lodi, CA
Post #: 161
Hi Janet! You could certainly contact the Freedom From Religious Foundation. They have all kinds of templates and the legal-backing one would need for this kind of situation.

It might be better to talk to them first, arrange a meeting, something like that. Ask if we can have our own display. Then if they say no, go with the legal stuff.

Which city is this?
Janet T
user 8714228
Loomis, CA
Post #: 86
Thanks, David. I will contact them today. It's Loomis.
David D.
DavidDiskin
Lodi, CA
Post #: 162
Some of the students at Sierra College (we have a secular club there) are interested in this as well.

Gary Alexander has already told them about it.
Janet T
user 8714228
Loomis, CA
Post #: 87
Oh wonderful! I joined the secular student alliance at Freethought Day and plan to attend some meetings at the college. Couldn't remember what day though...

I spoke to the town attorney last night, showed her the tree lighting poster with all the religious goodies, and it didn't take her 10 seconds to say she'd nip it in the bud today. I will follow up though to make sure, and keep everyone posted. Thank you, David!

BTW, our wonderful freethinking town council member lost re-election yesterday, and a Mormon won. Please pray for our little town. :) We'll need gobs of divine intervention or Loomis will be lost to development interests.
GaryA
GaryA
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 35
Sorry to hear about your election turnout. Please keep us posted on the holiday decor.
Anyse J.
Anyse
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 110
Janet,

What a bummer! However, fortunately, the divide between church and state is still in effect in the US. Go for it! Get the others here who signed on in Loomis and Sierra College to get involved and to start protests as soon as you learn that things will not change as promised by your prior person . . . . .

I love the "pray" for Loomis comment and the need for so much divine interventon. Your own work will be divine as well, of course with a more secular meaning. LOL!
Janet T
user 8714228
Loomis, CA
Post #: 89
Thank you, Anyse! I appreciate the support. I thought town staff was going to be taking down posters around town, but I found three yesterday and removed them. No further communication from the town attorney. For some reason, the tree lighting is on the council agenda Tuesday night. The mayor says it's just to tell the public about the event, but it concerns me. If the public gets wind of the issue, the Christian/tea party contingent will scream bloody murder at the changes. Julie is coming with me to the meeting and will speak if necessary. If we get blindsided, I'll spread the word for further action.
Anyse J.
Anyse
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 111
Your strategy seems sound. You must weather the storm, no matter what, for it is the promise of future fruit!
David D.
DavidDiskin
Lodi, CA
Post #: 166
I thought town staff was going to be taking down posters around town, but I found three yesterday and removed them. No further communication from the town attorney.

It's entirely possible that while the attorney knows this is a legal issue, he/she has been instructed by the council to let it happen anyway despite the risks. You need to email the attorney (find the address on their website) and get it in writing that you are notifying them of this violation and expect a response prior to Tuesday's meeting.

The tree lighting is on the council agenda Tuesday night. The mayor says it's just to tell the public about the event, but it concerns me. If the public gets wind of the issue, the Christian/tea party contingent will scream bloody murder at the changes.

It would be a violation of the Mayor to use his/her official position at an official government meeting to promote a religiously-inspired event. Make note of this in your email to the attorney, and tell him/her that you'll be there at the meeting on Tuesday, with a video camera, to make sure it doesn't happen. Mention you have the full support of the secular community behind you including groups such as Americans United for Separation of Church and State (au.org) and the Freedom From Religion Foundation (ffrf.org).

See if some Sierra students can go with you to the meeting and express their displeasure. It's way better to have more people speaking, and they have to give them their 5 minutes of time at the start of the meeting if they fill out the speaker request card -- even if they aren't Loomis residents (though it's better if they are). One of the comments should specifically ask, 'If you're going to announce and support the Christian holiday event, can our secular holiday of HumanLight expect the same support and recognition from the city government?" And if so, we'll do something in Loomis.

Trust me, it's way better to tackle this now before, as you say, the Tea Party catches wind of this.
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