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Spin Control

Posts tagged: atheists

Happy Solstice from the Capitol grounds

OLYMPIA — This year's version of the “war over Christmas” is pretty tame.

A Nativity Scene and a sign from an atheist organization, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, are coexisting nicely on the lawn in the park to the east of the Capitol and Insurance buildings.

A Menorrah for Hannukah is up in Sylvester Park, about four blocks north, not far from a well decorated Christmas tree.

O’Reilly at war on Washington?

News commentator Bill O’Reilly has been bugged by holiday activities in and around the Capitol for several years, ever since the state allowed atheists to place a sign in the building in 2008.
In a recent newscast,
he was asking a couple of Culture Warrior panelists for an update on the alleged “War on Christmas”, and – in the fullness of time as the Good Book says –  Washington state came up.
“You may recall that the state of Washington, in their Capitol Rotunda, put up an atheist thing, right next to the Christmas tree,” he said. (Fact check: A group of atheists put up the sign, not the state, and it wasn’t next to the tree, it was one level up as was a Nativity Scene.)
So what’s Washington doing this year? he asked Gretchen Carlson and Margaret Hoover. “Remains to be seen whether they’re going to allow Nativity Scenes and atheists to put – ” replied Hoover.
“So we don’t know yet, what the governor of Washington is going to have in her Rotunda,” O’Reilly said.
“They’re going to allow all displays,” Hoover said.
Not exactly. The only thing in the Rotunda is the holiday tree, which is named thus by its sponsor the Association of Washington Business, not the governor. No other displays are allowed inside the Capitol, and haven’t been for a couple years.
The Department of Enterprise Services says it has approved applications for a Nativity Scene near the Tivoli Fountain from Dec. 20 - 26, a banner from the Freedom From Religion Foundation on the Capitol Campus at roughly the same time, and a large menorah on the grounds at nearby Sylvester Park starting Dec. 16 for Hannukah.
So at ease, Xmas warriors.
  

Atheist tree up on Capitol Campus

OLYMPIA — With little fanfare or complaints, Seattle Atheists have erected a decorated tree and a sign on the Capitol campus in honor of not-Christmas.

A tree? As in, a Christmas Tree?

Not exactly. The group calls it “A Tree of Knowledge” — although it’s  unclear if they’re unaware of the Biblical implications of such a title, or co-opting it.

But their tree looks suspiciously like a Christmas Tree, considering it’s about a 6-foot conifer with decorations hanging from the boughs. No toys or angels or smiley snowmen for the atheists, however. Their decorations consist of pictures of famous scientists like Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein, covers for books like “Cosmos” and a small copy of the Periodic Table of Elements. (I know what you’re thinking: These atheists sure know how to trim a tree!)

And, of course there’s a sign. If  you can’t read it on the photo above, it’s reproduced inside the blog.

In case anyone’s wondering, there is no Nativity Scene on the Capitol Campus at this point. The Catholic League was faxed the standard form for campus displays that every group must submit, but the group hasn’t yet responded, Steve Valandra of state General Administration said. So far, the creche remains in the GA vault, awaiting the form or a request to send it back to the league.

Not sure if this qualifies as a salvo in the war on Christmas or not.

 

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

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