The Town of Loomis has partnered with a local church to use public property to host a potentially Christian-themed holiday event.
The event is being promoted by the Town as an official event, according to reminders at recent Town Council meetings, on their meeting agendas, and in the local paper.
In addition to the lighting of an official city tree, a "non-religious" puppet show is scheduled, run by members of the church. Prior to complaints, the event was called "Christmas in Loomis" and featured a live manger scene.
From their most current description: "... Free hay rides, ornament making, face painting, hot apple cider, cookies and popcorn will be available. Entertainment includes a puppet show, dancers, children’s choir, live music and caroling. For more information, call town hall at 652-7939."
One of our members in Loomis became aware of this event while attending a meeting. She addressed her concerns (of potential Establishment Clause violations) with the city attorney who agreed this might be crossing the line.
Within days, the puppet show was redescribed as "non-religious" and a number of church supporters from the community voiced their displeasure at a recent city council meeting. "Christmas" was removed from the title of the event, and the "live manger scene" is no longer in the description.
What You Can Do
While on paper, this event doesn't violate any law, we need to be there and make sure they keep the event secular.
Freethinkers in the Loomis area (including Rocklin and Roseville and from all over Sacramento) are encouraged to attend this event to be witness to whatever might unfold. If you can, bring a video camera.
If you happen to spot any news articles or promotional information about this event, please post or link to it here for everyone to see. Capture everything in case this goes to court.
More details will be posted as we learn more, including the start time of the event, a program, and potential dining options for those who attend. RSVP and stay tuned.