No Nativity Scene on Private Property!

28 10 2009

nativity scene

Why are Christians, who make up 85% of the U.S. population, increasingly beleaguered and marginalized in our own country?

Send an e-mail of protest to the city government of Warren, Michigan!

H/t Christian GiovanniWorld member Steve!




Privately sponsored scene victim of ‘separation of church, state’

Drew Zahn – October 26, 2009 –

John Satawa’s family has displayed a nativity scene on a street median in Warren, Mich., virtually every Christmas season since 1945, but following an intimidating letter sent by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, Satawa’s county has put stop to the 63-year-old tradition.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation proclaims its purpose in the letter to the Road Commission of Macomb County was to “protect the fundamental constitutional principle of separation of church and state.”

But Satawa contends there’s nothing unconstitutional about his privately owned and maintained Christmas display. With the help of the Thomas More Law Center, Satawa has filed a case in U.S. district court asking the judge to declare the county’s crèche rejection unconstitutional instead and order officials to permit its display.

Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Law Center, commented in a statement, “Every Christmas holiday, militant atheists … use the phrase ‘separation of church and state’ – nowhere found in our Constitution – as a means of intimidating municipalities and schools into removing expressions celebrating Christmas, a national holiday. Their goal is to cleanse our public square of all Christian symbols. However,” Thompson continued, “the grand purpose of our Founding Fathers and the First Amendment was to protect religion, not eliminate it. Municipalities and schools should be aware that the systematic exclusion of Christmas symbols during the holiday season is itself inconsistent with the Constitution.”

The story of the nativity scene began in 1945, when the congregation of St. Anne’s Parish was established in the Village of Warren, and a set of Christmas statues was donated to the Catholic church for a nativity display.

The statues were too large to display inside the church, the lawsuit explains, so some members of the congregation thought it would be a good idea to display the statues and a manger in the center of the village during the Christmas holiday season.

Satawa’s father, Joseph Satawa, using donated lumber, built a manger for the crèche, and obtained permission from the village president to display the scene on the median between Mound and Chicago Roads.

Though the years, local businesses and citizens have donated materials and labor to erect and refurnish the nativity. It has been a Warren tradition for 63 years, still spearheaded by the Satawa family, and it has graced the same street median every year, save for 1996, when construction prohibited its display.

But in December of 2008, the Freedom from Religion Foundation sent the county a complaint letter. It read, in part,

“When the county displays this manger scene, which depicts the legendary birth of Jesus Christ, it places in imprimatur of the Macomb County government behind the Christian religious doctrine. This excludes citizens who are not Christian – Jews, Native American religion practitioners, animists, etc., as well as the significant and growing population that is not religious at all.”

Citing a selection of Supreme Court cases, the letter concludes, “There are ample private and church grounds where religious displays may be freely placed, including, presumably, St. Anne’s Parish, where this display clearly belongs. Once the government enters into the religion business, conferring endorsement and preference for one religion over others, it strikes a blow at religious liberty, forcing taxpayers of all faiths and of no religion to support a particular expression of worship.”

After receiving the letter, the county road commission demanded Satawa remove the nativity scene because he had not obtained the appropriate permit.

When Satawa applied for the permit in anticipation of the upcoming 2009 Christmas season, he was denied and told by the county that the nativity scene “clearly displays a religious message” in alleged violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

The Thomas More Law Center, however, contends the Establishment clause should protect the nativity, not forbid it.

The lawsuit points out that private displays of the community’s history and tradition are currently permitted and constructed on the median in question, and that the county is discriminating against the private nativity display based solely on its content, not its constitutionality.

“The United States Supreme Court has long held that all public streets, which includes public medians, are held in the public trust and are properly considered traditional public forums for private speech,” commented Law Center attorney Robert Muise in a statement, citing his own legal precedents. “Moreover, the Supreme Court has also stated that ‘private religious speech, far from being a First Amendment orphan, is as fully protected under the Free Speech Clause as secular private expression.’

“Consequently,” he concluded, “by restricting speech because it is religious expression, the Road Commission is imposing a content-based restriction on private speech in a traditional public forum in clear violation of the Constitution.” Specifically, the lawsuit contends, the county’s prohibition of the private nativity scene “lacks a valid secular purpose, has the primary effect of inhibiting religion and creates an excessive entanglement with religion in violation of the United States Constitution.”

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Gerald Rosen, chief judge of the Eastern District of Michigan.



20 responses

28 10 2009

Not even past Halloween yet… When does the Official Bash Christmas Season begin? I thought it coordinated with the shopping season, though it seems to begin sooner each year.

I had a discussion with my son on the way to school this morning about this subject. There was a news report about the Penn State T-shirt mini-controversy on the radio that he hadn’t heard about. I gave him the gist on that story and he just shakes his head in disgust and asks, “What will they try to ban next?”

I’m sure this is not a novel idea but I have a theory about some Atheists: I consider them to be as deeply religious as a devout Christian, Muslim, or Jew. They “don’t know” either, but they hold a strong belief in the non-existence of God and try to spread their belief in much the same way that other religions spread their own beliefs. The level of hypocrisy is astounding however, in that they adamantly and fervently deny how beholden they are to this “non-belief.” And then, almost as though to authenticate the values argument for strong religious beliefs, they spew hatred and vitriol toward those who do believe, highlighting their own lack of a moral compass. And to top it off, they like to feign outrage over [some] religious symbols [you rarely see Atheists messages on buses in Iran] simply because they’ve been unable to symbolize their own believe in nothingness.

This is so typical of the left’s mindset. I think they feel this inherent guilt or diminished self-worth and the way to cope with their “always being picked last for the kickball team” is by yelling and screaming at the top of their lungs that they’re better than the rest of us and then taking their ball and going home. Nanny nanny, boo boo. They know they’re no more intelligent and have no concrete answers, so they dismiss the questions and try to diminish those who ask. They want so badly to prove that they are important, they shrug off anything greater then themselves. The earth’s atmosphere, governance, religion- all used to denigrate others for the effort of self-promotion.

You live a juvenile lifestyle, progressives. It’s time to grow up.

28 10 2009


“Not even past Halloween yet… When does the Official Bash Christmas Season begin? I thought it coordinated with the shopping season, though it seems to begin sooner each year.”

Actually, it seems Christianity is under attack 24-7-365. It’s high time that more people stood their ground and told these religion haters to leave us the hell alone.


28 10 2009

I posted this exact same article yesterday.

Looks like the (anti-Christ)ian Christmas-haters are getting an early jump on things this year.


28 10 2009


It’s nice to know we steal from the best! 😉


P.S. I know Eowyn had no idea that you had posted this, so this has got to be a coincidence.

28 10 2009


Gio is right:

It was a coincidence. I had no idea you also posted this article on your blog. Great minds, etc… 😉

28 10 2009

Her’s a link to contact city. I sent email and told them they were a bunch of commies…..guess I could have been a little more subtle, but wasn’t in the mood………..seems latly turning the other cheek has taken a back seek. I sorta like the direct approch latley. Sick of playing nicey nicey……….nobody else does. Time for a dose of their own medicine.

28 10 2009

Separation of church and state was in a letter. It’s not in the Constitution:

28 10 2009


Most of us here know that it was simply put in letter form by old Ben, but that seems to be lost on liberals. Every time I argue with a liberal about this issue they claim, or try to claim, seperation of church and state is most definately in the Constitution. Then when you ask them to point it out in the Constitution they fall back on their SOP, they call you names.

Liberals… silly people!


29 10 2009

So true, Gio. Liberals change the rules to fit their needs. If we still disagree they call us names. Must be that “hope and change” plan. LOL

28 10 2009
Tom in NC

You know if these damn atheists hate Christmas so much I want to know why they don’t work on Christmas, if nothing else have them digging ditches, busting big rocks into little rocks, or cookin/serving meals in a homeless shelter on Christmas Day. Don’t want to celebrate the Lord’s Birth, then get your butts to work and don’t complain, it’s just another day in your twisted self-centered egotistical pathetic lives.

28 10 2009

Amen, Tom!!!

28 10 2009

I feel a little sad for atheists. How can you go through life thinking this is it? They’ve got nothing to look forward to, nothing to enjoy while they are here, they just want to take things away from others. I’ve also noticed that they don’t tackle Islam or any other religion. Just Christianity. It’s like taking the Lord’s name in vane. You never hear anyone saying buddha dammit or allah dammit. Sounds to me like the truth hurts them and they are just lashing out.
I also heard an interview with the unbelievably intelligent Bill Maher the other day. He’s an complete Christian basher, basically saying anyone with faith is a weak minded moron. Of course he thinks everyone that is not a liberal is a moron. Here’s a link (I hope you all don’t mind) to a clip of Maher saying that Americans are stupid if they don’t want government health care. It’s at about the 2:00 minute mark.

Jocaasbe (Dave)‘brien&hl=en&emb=0&aq=0&oq=bill+maher+on+conan#q=bill+maher+on+conan+o%27brien+health+care&hl=en&view=2&emb=0&filter=0&start=0

29 10 2009

jocaasbe, That’s always been my arguement…….how do they get thru the day with no faith. I really feel sad for them. I mean that is my biggest joy in life. When ever things are bad or down I swear somehow a little chat with the Big Guy alway and I mean alway seems to turn things around……..Amazing.

28 10 2009

You’ll have to high light that full link. It posted broken.

28 10 2009

Just remember jocaasbe, the ones who don’t believe only get what they can on Earth. We who believe will get the riches of heaven. We should pity them.

No way can I listen to or even see Bill Maher. I have a complex against him and others. That’s why my TV remote has a mute button. 🙂

28 10 2009

I have a question??? Did Jusus not walk on this Earth??? Did a man named Jusus not get killed on a cross???? Do they not have PROOF that this man did exist and walk the dirt streets… Was their not a carpenter named Jusus??? They do have scientic proof that he did exist, Right?????? So let’s remove religion…..Let’s remove that he was a Virgin birth…. Let’s remove his ressurrection….. And Let’s even remove that he was born A Son Of God….
What are we left with???? A great MAN and man who would still be worth celerbrating!!!!! Even if he did not die on the cross FOR ME AND YOU he did die on that cross for HIS people and followers…. Again a GREAT MAN and WORTH celerbrating….
We have no problem celebrating Washington, Abe, Martin and all of these are Great men but these men did nothing compared to Jusus THE MAN…. Why does celebrating Jusus have to be tied to religion, from a States stand point? I think until anti-christ believers can PROVE he was not “ALL THAT “, A great man of his time, EVERYONE, States included has a right to celebrate his birth…If a school can not celerbrate a man, who’s rules are lived by many across the World, then stop ALL of it….. Why are children and teachers given this time off???? State workers should be working on these days If they fall on a week day, just any other day???? Why is Congress closing down for the Month of December?????Seems many want the perks without paying the piper… Or even the existance of the piper…..

28 10 2009

Well said, Velenda!

I too am baffled at what atheists and anti-Christian haters think we’re celebrating at Christmas time, for which they, like the rest of us, get holiday/vacation time off.

But then, it’s too much for us to expect them to be logical or to make any sense. This kind of visceral animosity is beyond reason. It’s a psychological and spiritual disorder.

8 11 2009
booga loooga

Booga loooga’s comment is deleted by Giovanni World’s west coast editor because her command of the English language is severely challenged. How else can one account for her resort to obscenities and vulgarities, such as the f-word?

As for Booga loooga’s diatribe against Christianity, what happened to the famous self-proclaimed liberal “tolerance,” “open-mindedness,” and pro-“diversity”?

Rats, I keep forgetting. They’re all lies!!

17 06 2010
Chris Smith

I hope that everyone that agrees that this manger should have been allowed to stay up would be fair and allow a any other “scene” or monument to be place in the same PUBLIC area. For example…. Lets say a Devil worshipers symbol of their faith. One day you will all relize that the PUBLIC domain is for everyone not just for certain beliefs or groups.

21 09 2018
Art Z. Fartzche

What part of “public median” do you not understand? If someone used public land to build a mosque or some other Muslim display, you Christian whack-a-doodles would be apoplectic. Stuff your hypocrisy where the sun doesn’t shine.

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