Group demands county remove nativity scene

Posted by : admin | On : December 6, 2011

The center of the nativity scene on the Henderson County Courthouse lawn.

(UPDATE: Added text of letter from Freedom From Religion Foundation at end of story)

(UPDATE 2: Adds quotes from Freedom From Religion Foundation Co-president. Rewrites for clarity.)

By Michael V. Hannigan

ATHENS – The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Wisconsin, sent a letter dated Dec. 1 to Henderson County commissioners saying the nativity scene located on the courthouse lawn is illegal.

“We request that, as the Henderson County Commissioners, you take immediate action to ensure that no religious displays are on city or county property. Please inform us in writing of the steps you are taking to remedy this First Amendment violation so that we may notify our complainant,” reads the letter.

According to the letter, the complainant is “a concerned area resident and taxpayer” of Henderson County. The resident is not named. The FFRF claims to represent 800 Texans.

Commissioners did not address this issue in open session today, but afterward a majority of the court told The Malakoff News they had no intention of moving the nativity scene based on the letter. Not all commissioners had the opportunity to comment.

For now, County Judge Richard Sanders laid down the county line when he said, “They are going to have to make us move it.”

One commissioner did point out, however, that this could be a no-win situation for the county. Depending on how far the FFRF wants to push this, he said, the county could be forced to chose between taking down the nativity scene and provoking a vast majority of the residents to anger, or spending tens of thousands of dollars the county doesn’t have to fight a lawsuit.

The letter outlines the FFRF’s legal reasoning for wanting the nativity scene removed: “The Supreme Court has ruled it is impermissible to place a nativity scene as the sole focus of a display on government property.”

According to FFRF, the fact that the nativity scene is not actually owned by the county is not relevant. The nativity scene and all the secular decorations on the square are displayed by the Light Up Athens Committee.

“When the county allows this manger scene to be created, which depicts the legendary birth of Jesus Christ, it places the imprimatur of the county government behind the Christian religious doctrine,” reads the letter.

After being told the county does not own the nativity scene Tuesday, FFRF Co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor told The Malakoff News that allowing an outside agency to use public property to display the nativity scene “opens up a public forum.”

Gaylor said that everyone has to have access to the public forum, which would require the county to have a permitting process in place. That way, someone with a different religious belief would have equal access to the Courthouse Square.

Gaylor said the FFRF would be sending open records requests to the county regarding permitting for the Christmas display.

Carol Morton of the Light Up Athens Committee Tuesday confirmed there is no permitting process. “We always have permission, but have never had a permit,” she said.

According to Gaylor, the Henderson County nativity scene is one of 12 the FFRF is currently working to eliminate. Last year, the foundation targeted more than 35 locations, she said.

She said the FFRF doesn’t normally go to court over nativity displays “because the law is clear.” She said the relevant Supreme Court decisions came in 1983 and 1989.

“This (the Henderson County nativity scene) is clearly in violation and they need to change it,” Gaylor said.

Text of letter from Freedom From Religion Foundation:

PO Box 750
Madison, WI, 53701
December 1, 2011
Dear Commissioners,I am writing on behalf of a concerned area resident and taxpayer, as well as other Texas members of the Freedom From Religious (sic) Foundation (FFRF), who object to the erection of a nativity scene on Henderson County property. Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization based in Madison, Wisconsin, with over 17,000 members across the country, including over 800 in Texas. Our purpose is to protect the fundamental constitutional principle of separation of state and church.

It is our information and understanding that a large nativity scene is on display at the Henderson County Courthouse and that it is the only seasonal display on the grounds (see photo enclosed). It is unlawful for the County to maintain, erect, or host this nativity scene, thus singling out, showing preference for, and endorsing one religion. The Supreme Court has ruled it is impermissible to place a nativity scene as the sole focus of a display on government property. See Allegheny v. ACLU of Pittsburgh, 492 U.S. 573 (1989); Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668 (1983).

In County of Allegheny v. ACLU of Pittsburgh, 492 U.S. 573 (1989), the Supreme Court held that a county government’s creche displayed in the county courthouse was an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. The Court stated,

“Lynch v. Donelly, confirms, and in now way repudiates, the longstanding constitutional principle that government may not engage in a practice that has the effect of promoting or endorsing religious beliefs. The display of the creche in the county courthouse has this unconstitutional effect.” Id. at 621.

The court further determined that the placement of the creche on the Grand Staircase of the county courthouse contributed to its illegality because “no viewer could reasonably think it occupies this location without support and approval of the government.” Id. at 599-600. Moreover, the Court found that the nativity scene “sen[t] an unmistakable message that [the county] supports and promotes the Christian praise to God that is the creche’s religious message.” Id. at 600.

It is irrefutable that the creche is a religious, Christian symbol. See Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. at 711 (Brennan, J. dissenting)(stating that the creche is a “re-creation of an event that lies at the heart of the Christian faith”). Allowing the display of an inherently Christian message on government property unmistakably sends the message that Henderson County and the City of Athens endorse the religious beliefs embodied in the display.

When the County allows this manager scene to be created, which depicts the legendary birth of Jesus Christ, it places the imprimatur of the 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 portion of the U.S. population that is not religious at all (15% of adults), including complainants and taxpayers in Henderson County. As the Court said in Amancio v. Town of Somerset, “[To] insist that government respect the separation of church and state is not to discriminate against religion, indeed it promotes a respect for religion by refusing to single out one or two creeds for official favor at the expense of all others.” Amancio v. Town of Somerset, 28 F.Supp.2d 677, 681 (D. Mass. 1998).

There are ample private and church grounds where religious displays may be freely placed. Once the government enters into the religion business, conferring endorsement and preference for some religions 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.

We request that, as Henderson County Commissioners, you take immediate action to ensure that no religious displays are on city or county property. Please inform us in writing of the steps you are taking to remedy this First Amendment violation so that we may notify our complainant.

Stephanie A. Schmitt
Staff Attorney

(The Malakoff News did not get a copy of the enclosed photo.)


Comments (341)

  1. […] had been a source of controversy since it was erected in front of the courthouse last December, an ongoing battle between a variety of groups on which the Malakoff News has reported extensively.Greene eventually did file suit, but when doctors told him about his eye condition, he decided that […]

  2. […] in my career to break a few fairly big stories, and last December when I broke the story about the nativity scene controversy I knew I had a big […]

  3. […] been reported from coast to coast. Early in December the FFRF demanded that Henderson County remove a nativity scene from Courthouse Christmas display, then changed tactics and tried to get an atheist banner included. Last week, the […]

  4. […] been reported from coast to coast. Early in December the FFRF demanded that Henderson County remove a nativity scene from Courthouse Christmas display, then changed tactics and tried to get an atheist banner included. Last week, the […]

  5. […] is some of the text from the letter (via Malakoff News): It is our information and understanding that a large nativity scene is on display at the […]

  6. Cowgirl said on 10-12-2011

    Madision needs to clean iits own yard & stay the hell out of our business we dont give a flip what yall do up there .If you if you dont like that we believe in Christ,I cant recall where anyone asked your opinion in Our state of Texas..BUT I know Madison has Truckstops& Walmarts there II’ve posted the story on major trucker avenues online to ‘boycott’ Madison Wi. fuel b4 or after they get thru your ‘state’ & get past the crappy packers* they are lousey Like yall Lot of O/O an FAITH based trucking companies out there, We just help ‘Enlitghten ‘ how Madison really is UYou really think you can come into another state * have anysay? A class acrtion lawsuit aginst you there for keep your nose out of states business,, is better call for FEDEX or UPS RATES Oh yeah madlyn ohare done spent all the money & her sorry son as well .did they ever find the remains?

  7. Carrie Luna said on 10-12-2011

    No sir, it’s not, but even if it was, would be no concern of yours. God loves you anyway and will always be there for you -whether you turn to him or not. May his Goodness and mercy shine on you all the days of your life (however,the afterlife sir, is another matter). I would address the issue further but have a sick child(foster) and am sitting up at hospital with him and therefore have better things to do than debate whether or not you think my butt cheek is fat. (I bet you are ugly- but I’m too polite to say so)

    • dilberth said on 10-12-2011

      Yesterday, I was heating a bowl of Cambell’s alphabet chicken noodle soup when it slipped from my hands and spilled on the floor. Soon, an amazing thing happened. The letters began swirling around and formed these words: SUCK MY NOODLE! HA! HA!

      Satan loves you, Luna Tick. Satan is the true light that shines forever. All power to Satan. P.S. Quit kissing Jesus’ ass and worry about your own ass. Lose some weight.

      • John T. Ford said on 10-12-2011

        Dilbert you are an immature troll and a fine example of the hate and intolerance that makes up atheism.

        • dilberth said on 10-12-2011

          The hate and intolerance has always been a trademark of the Christians faith. You are one of them. You probably would have approved of slavery and just told people if they didn’t like it, don’t look at it. You have a lot of enmity in your heart. You cannot love others who have a different outlook on life. You are so arrogant that you believe that when you die,,you will travel on a road to Heaven, a road paved with the blackest lies ever told.

          • Mary Piper said on 10-12-2011

            yes dilberth praise the the Lord streets pave with gold, the gates is a huge pe
            arl and there all cans of jewels, glory be to Jesus
            how beatiful heaven is all peace and no war,no evil, glory

    • Anita Bourbon said on 10-12-2011

      People, when you are dead, you are dead. That is it. Come on! Grow some brain cells. Nothing is going to happen after you die, nobody is going to get you or be waiting for you or anything. You will just be some bones buried in the ground. That is it. Quit all the fussing and fighting about something so stupid.

      • John T. Ford said on 10-12-2011

        Anita your comment clearly reflects your lack of intellect and your intolerance for people who believe differently than yourself.

        • Jared said on 10-12-2011

          I believe the same as her! Here is how we can show Henderson counties true colors. They say they have solved it by putting up santas and elfs (as real as Jesus anyway) and angels and trees, someone needs to put up a menorah and some muslim artifacts and perhaps some wiccan decorations. See how fast the county shuts that down! Racist homo phobes that they are.

          • John T. Ford said on 10-12-2011

            Jared your intolerance and hate exposes you to be worst than the false portrayal of the good people of Henderson County. Light up Athens has already stated they will put up any decoration. Your lies and false accusations convinces no one that we are not all inclusive.

      • Cord Painter said on 10-12-2011

        That’s an extremely liberating idea that would indicate that there are no real consequences for our actions. Please, prove to me that there is no afterlife. If that’s the case, where does love come from? What gives us a conscience and a sense of right and wrong? If it’s all just explainable science, then maybe right and wrong don’t exist. That means we can all just cater to our whims and to hell with everyone else. Only the morbidly stupid would believe there’s any reason to feel guilty. It could also be that a Christian’s belief in God, Satan, Heaven, Hell, good and evil provides a basis for a conscience that prevents him or her from harming someone like yourself who would speak to them in a condescending tone. Maybe a belief in right and wrong ain’t such a bad thing.

        Yep, the way I see it, if there’s no God or similar provider of an afterlife, none of us or anything we think or do amounts to any more than a steaming pile of canine excrement. According to your beliefs, you’re completely worthless.

        • Mary Piper said on 10-12-2011

          Jesus, and Jesus

        • Jared said on 10-12-2011

          Peoples idea of good and evil arise from morals which arise as our human ancestors became social creatures, these morals do not arise from a god that was invented 2000 years ago based on older, more ancient deities. The fact that there is no afterlife makes your life that much more meaningful, at least that is how I look at mine. As far as proving there is no afterlife, I cannot and do not have to prove a negative. All I can say is wait and see. If a book full of fables is all that keeps you from retaliating in violence for someone being condescending, then you are a hurting soul. Which by the way exist in the electrical impulses in your noggin there sherlock.

          “All thinking men are atheist”…Earnest Hemingway

          • Mary Piper said on 10-12-2011


          • Cord Painter said on 10-12-2011


            Obviously I’m not a thinking man, but if I were, I would think that without an afterlife, once you’re dead you cease to exist in any way. All you’ve done will eventually be forgotten or destroyed…good or bad. If that’s the case and love is nothing more than a chemical reaction in the brain aided by electrical activity, then it serves no real purpose. If there are no eternal consequences for bad behavior, maybe there should be no short-term consequences either. After all, if the worst imaginable happened and all human kind was wiped out instantly nothing any of us did would matter anyway. No one would care then, so why should we care now?

            If God’s existence could be either proven or disproven by man, maybe we would have that proof by now. Until then how can you defend denying faith on either side of the issue?

            “Atheist doesn’t necessarily mean all-knowing one” — Cord Painter

      • Mary Piper said on 10-12-2011


      • Mary Piper said on 10-12-2011

        well Im going to heaven , first thing Im going to do is fall at Jesus feet AND PRAISE HIM THEN SEE MY FAMILY , GLORY

        • dilberth said on 10-12-2011

          You are just like a trumpet, blowing hot air. Fall on your knees and blow Him.

          • Cord Painter said on 10-12-2011

            I guess you realize that a lot of us dumb rednecks here in the south cling to traditional family values and respect for our women…and that’s why your obscene insults come easily while hiding behind your keyboard. If you ever want to exhibit a little courage, try insulting a woman like that in my presence. I’m easy to find. You lack the guts to say these things face to face.

    • Mary Piper said on 10-12-2011

      MY SON JUST REMINDED ME ,THAT jESUS DOESNT NEED TO BE DEFENDED ,HE CAN DO IT HIS SELF,,,,OH MY THATS GOING TO BE BAD, YOU SEE ANTHEIST, iM TRYING TO KEEP YOU FROM HARM WAY,, BUT YOU ARE MESSING WITH CHILD OF God he says its better for a milestone be hung around your neck than to mess with one of his children,oh but it will be in his timeing.

  8. Houston said on 10-12-2011

    If the people of Athens aren’t offended, whey do these people care. Athens has had that scene for years. Its no different than if you are in a neighborhood with grey houses and someone paints their house pink. Everyone needs to get a life and start acting charitable. We have freedom of religion in the US, and that should equate to freedom of dictatorships and police states. The more these groups are allowed to raise cain, the more we will become a police state.

    • David said on 10-12-2011

      Houston, you’re missing some important points here. 1st, people of Athens do care, they contacted FFRF. 2nd, house color and theocratic bullying is very different. If Islam was the majority and did the same thing to Athens, I’ll bet you wouldn’t use a house paint for analogy. 3rd, the idea that our history is rife with heinous acts against those that chose another God can’t be left for you and Athens to exploit. The people that thought it was their duty to enforce these little nuances wore sheets and burned crosses to intimidate people. Respect whatever establishment of religion you’d like, just don’t give that function to those in power, then you’ll have your dictatorship.

  9. Carrie Luna said on 10-12-2011

    Turning the other cheek now dill-(so u can kiss it.) God bless and keep you, may his light shine upon you. May his goodness and mercy( your gonna need it, heathen) follow you-all the days of your life-which hopefully will be few-you little micterater you. And may you continue to lose your cool and look the fool! Again Dill God Bless!

  10. Carrie Luna said on 09-12-2011

    Amen to that Mary Piper. We will not be overcome. witness to those who know him not-for that is the purpose of a Christian. To show or tell by word and deed of the goodness of the lord. Twas not only Adam and Eve who were to go forth and multiply. Christians by faith are to witness and testify to their brethren. To bring our children, family, friends and neighbors to the understanding of the greatness and mercifulness of our Lord God! God bless you.

    • dilberth said on 10-12-2011

      I’m curious. Since Adam and Eve were made by your God, and did not make the short journey through the birth canal, did they still have “belly buttons”? Ha! Even the pope is stumped on that one.

    • Mary Piper said on 10-12-2011

      you may think you are dead but there is heaven and hell,and you will goto one of them and you choose hell you will always feel the burning pain for ever

      • Anita Bourbon said on 10-12-2011

        Mary, when I die I won’t know anything, I will be bones buried in the dirt. You will see. I just wished you would live a good happy life and not be so confused with your religion…..

  11. Carrie Luna said on 09-12-2011

    The idiot says from his dysfunctional brain “there is no God” just to try to get a rise out of others and a little extra attention! Well I will waste no more time on you Dill Breath(and yes-pun is intended) not ashamed of my beliefs-I use my real name to sign my words. But blessed be to you and yours-we don’t need to Judge you- the one you don’t believe exists will take on that task.

    • dilberth said on 09-12-2011

      Calling others a name is the last refuge of the chronic underachiever. I have not lowered myself to that level. However, Christians are famous in this regard.

    • Mary Piper said on 09-12-2011


  12. […] Letter Reads (via Malakoffnews ) PO Box 750 Madison, WI, 53701 608-256-8900 December 1, 2011 Dear Commissioners,I am […]

  13. […] Group demands county remove nativity scene […]

    • Michael V. Hannigan said on 09-12-2011

      A reader had trouble posting, so I am posting this comment for Toni …

      “This is the season to celebrate, in any religious belief. These people forget that United States of America (& evidently our supreme courts also) that we were religious values. If not, then why does it say so many times in the Declaration of Independence, our monetary bills & coins, and by so many of forefathers; speeches! For those who do NOT wish to remember this, LOOK AWAY!!! Christ is the reason for the season!”

      • Bill Dugan said on 09-12-2011

        The Declaration of Independence is entirely uninterested in religion.

      • dilberth said on 09-12-2011

        I’m not entirely opposed to this erection of the baby Jesus. It’s just that there is something odd about the whole affair. In most manger scenes, that infant looks like he was already a teenager when he was born. He’s already got a full head of hair. Additionally, he was supposed to be “wrapped in swaddling clothes.” He’s naked as a jaybird. That’s no way to treat a king. So I’m a bit skeptical. Could it quite possibly be that no such event ever occurred? I won’t actually use the word I’m thinking of to describe this eyesore. Hint: It rhymes with “Smith”.

        • Mary Piper said on 09-12-2011

          you make something out of everything I think all you want to do is argue with some one,blessed are the peace makers for they will see God. I would hate to have to live the life your living you have no peace at all

    • Carrie Luna said on 09-12-2011

      As a Texan transplanted to Wisconsin I have something to say. Our Constitution garantees us the freedom to worship as we see fit. so if that scene offends you-don’t look at it! There are plenty of other things to look at in Athens. As a fellow cheese head I would like to tell my fellow citizens to shut up! just because you are Godless Heathens doesn’t mean the rest of us who are religious – and yes Christian-have to roll over and pretend we aren’t. I don’t give a partridge in a pear tree if YOU ARE offended. I like the nativity scene there- and what gives a few people the right to rule over the masses? I say we need to put religion back out there into America where it was back when the constitution was written. Maybe then a few things would change-respect of our fellow citizens rights for one. I wish someone would respect my right to be happy and look at Christmas nativity scenes without causing the idiots to feel offended and write stupid letters!

      • Meyer C. Dhoates said on 09-12-2011

        Carrie, you’re welcome to move back to Texas just as fast as you can pack your bags. We will have plenty of hugs awaiting. I agree with you 100%. Do these bozo’s have nothing better to do with their lives than to force their way of thinking on the rest of us. The Freedon From Religion has stepped into a fire ant bed on this one.

      • Bill Dugan said on 09-12-2011


        Godless heathen here. I ask you the same question I asked some others. Would you be ok if your local government building allowed a scene depicting the angel Gabriel meeting with Muhammad in the cave? How about the angel Moroni presenting the golden plates to Joseph Smith? How about an FLDS scene depicting a man with his multiple wives? You Christians think that because you are the majority you can usurp the law. That is precisely what our Declaration of Independence addresses.

        We have laws in this land and because you have faith in your particular god doesn’t grant you license to break them.


        • dilberth said on 09-12-2011

          Very good argument Bill. Of course, with Christians, anything you say will be promptly repudiated. They stick to the dogmas and instructions of thier pastors and ministers: Do this, do that. Say this, say that.

        • Mary Piper said on 09-12-2011

          Bill dugan, you antheist think yall can complain and tell others what to do how they believe, let me tell you something I have different denonation in my family baptist ,penticostal catholic,mormon jehhovah witness and more ,Jesus was the founder of christain religion. So why all this you sad about gabriel meeting muhammad that has nt any thing to do with the N. SCENE BUT ,KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE TRUTH WILL SAT YOU FREE.

        • Carrie Luna said on 09-12-2011

          Your laws are open to interpretation-I have read them and guess what there is nothing specifically forbidding that nativity scene! So add a Christmas tree or have a public speaker stand there and interpret the scene and the offensiveness is removed? And if Christians-real Christians were a majority we would not be having these stupid debates-I however am tired of turning the other cheek. I am breaking out the blazing crosses and the holy font this year along with nativity scenes! My yard will probably make people think I have lost it. There will be a baby Jesus in every nook and cranny! I will print a t-shirt that says see you after the rapture-maybe?
          And as for the law? Laws were made to be changed! I am standing up today! I will be protesting the freedom from religion group till I die, it disbands, or you know what freezes over! Can I get an amen on that one people.

          • dilberth said on 09-12-2011

            That’s great that you can put up crosses and Christmyth decorations in your from lawn. However, it is impermissible for government to do that.

        • Carrie Luna said on 09-12-2011

          Bill I look at crazy stuff every day-I do live up north you know. I don’t enjoy pornography or pedophiles but every time I open a magazine there’s a half naked, undernourished teen trying to sell me an overpriced ugly pair of jeans. Do I get all stupid and file a grievance or write a letter? No, I figure if somebody wants to think thats a cool look it’s their call. I just shut the magazine and don’t support that publisher. It’s that simple. If I dont like it I don’t look-why cant the rest of you get on board with that. Are you gonna honestly tell me that you write letters and complain about everything you don’t like? That’s what this situation is boiling down to. You all just want the attention that protesting this is bringing you-grow up, get real, live and let live.

      • MP said on 09-12-2011

        THAT IS VERY GOOD Carrie God Bless you

      • dilberth said on 09-12-2011

        No, no, no and no. You should shut up! Luna Tick. You are the one from Wisconsin that is writing letters (email) and protesting. What a hypocrite! You say we need to put religion back into America at the time when the Constitution was written. If I agreed with that statement, then we both would be wrong. Religion has made this county worse than ever.

  14. Meyer C. Dhoates said on 09-12-2011

    If you cheeseheads decide to go to Henderson County, Texas, you might want to rent a car in Dallas. I’m sure any Wisconsin tagged vehicle will be an unwelcome sight in East Texas. There are plenty of rednecks willing to let you know just how they feel about your current actions and it won’t be a respectful welcome. Get your insurance updated and your bullet proof vest out of the closet. Those folks don’t take kindly to outsiders messing with their traditions. Just sayin’.

    • David said on 10-12-2011

      Perfect Meyer, now your letter should be the billboard for why all this must be actionable. You and your Christian redneck friends used to call yourselves the KKK. Bigots unite!

      Just sayin’!

  15. Glenda said on 09-12-2011

    I’ve read a lot of scientists who agree that humans are too complex and too different from animals to have randomly formed through evolution. Some want to hold on to the old theory, outdated, regardless of a lack of hard evidence. I guess they have faith. There are many things I don’t understand like how particles can be in two places at one time, disappear, re-appear, and how observing them changes their behavior, quantum physics. Just science. I don’t understand how people can still really believe that human beings were formed from animals or that life just happened to happen and stars, dark matter, solar systems, but I guess we are just really lucky.

  16. […] implied by the letter, even it wasn’t specifically stated. Learn more: The story was reported by The Malakoff News, and the Athens Daily Review. After that the story was picked up by every media outlet from Dallas […]

  17. Ms. Cox said on 09-12-2011

    Wow, when I wrote a comment whereby I believed the people of Athens welcomed all religions and various uses the square could accommodate, it was censored not posted. You have now lost your case, and I now believe the front window of the furniture store is the best alternative so that the residents of Athens don’t have to shoulder a huge legal bill.

  18. Helen Mueller said on 09-12-2011

    PEOPLE! PEOPLE! Dilberth is a blob….a wort. S/he lives in an attic with a computer–has no life–gets kicks stirring up excrement to unsettle people with real lives. How to deal with this amoeba? IGNORE! IGNORE!

    • dilberth said on 09-12-2011

      Do not ignore me. I am God. Hast thou not witnessed the great and powerful warnings I have sent forth to you in the form of relentless heat and continued drought? This summer will be even hotter and locusts will swarm unto your dwellings. You will experience a Hell like no other. Like the county of Bastrop, I ,the lord thy god will cause a spontaneous ignition of dry vegetation. Repent now, for you are sinners. P.S. I might even decide to drown multitudes of earth’s inhabitants, again. The great and good god has spoken.

  19. Glenda said on 09-12-2011

    I’m not sure why people get bent out of shape over a nativity scene and still don’t mind that our kids are taught evolution. The fossil record does not support it. Crick, who won the Nobel Peace Prize, said that human DNA was far too complex to have formed by the theories of evolution. Many scientists agree with him. Of course, living beings can adapt and evolve to fit their environments, grow more or less hair, but it doesn’t change a monkey into a man or a dog into a cat. There is order to the system. At one time, children were allowed to pray in school. That was back before so many industries closed and no one knew the term “terrorists.”

    • Bill Dugan said on 09-12-2011

      Francis Crick is a minority amongst a breadth of scientists who, as a majority, agree that humans, and all other living organisms, have been formed through the process of evolution.

  20. Glenda said on 09-12-2011

    It can be argued that atheism is a belief system, a religion. Why should one belief system prevent another from expressing itself. This country was founded on Christian beliefs. If offensive, like spending money which has printed on it, “In God We Trust,” then there are other countries to reside. North Korea is not a Christian nation. There are others. People benefit from living in a Christian nation and still fight over the expression of it.

    • Bill Dugan said on 09-12-2011

      If we’re expelling Atheists how are we any different than the British empire from which we revolted? It’s a hard argument that Atheism is a belief system. Atheism is not simply the rejection of formalized religions, it’s the rejection of all dogma. Dogma is any unquestioned belief system, be it Christianity, Alchemy, or Communism.

  21. Marcie said on 08-12-2011

    Well ok so at least you agree there is a God, by saying you think he is a big…, At least you agree that there is and wether you choose to trust is up to you. but the point is why is it you care about what is going on in a place you had to look up on the internet?

  22. Sherry Sullens said on 08-12-2011

    I told a friend of mine, who was a long time resident of Texas about this and this was his comment: “The Commissioners of Athens need to read the supreme law of the land which states in its Bill of Rights under Article I that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” A Nativity Scene in an expression of religious belief and no law can be in conflict with the law of the land.”
    Maybe the law of the land is not a bad idea!!!!!!

    • MRS. CHARLOTTE HAYES said on 08-12-2011




      • Bill Dugan said on 09-12-2011

        This message summarizes the bible in it’s entirety.

        “Vengeance is mine sayeth the lord.”
        “May God have mercy on your soul.”

        Is he vengeful or merciful? I guess it depends which book you’re reading from.

        • Mary Piper said on 09-12-2011


        • Carrie Luna said on 09-12-2011

          Bill Dugan: God is merciful when you confess your sins and repent of your Godless ways. He is vengeful when you refuse to repent and do not bow your knee( your will) to him. Vengeance is also his in that he means Christians today should not go out and rip off the heads of the non-believers who keep trying to persecute or curtail Christians-he is saying to us leave them for the day of judgement.

  23. […] is some of the text from the letter (via Malakoff News): It is our information and understanding that a large nativity scene is on display at the […]

  24. Livy said on 08-12-2011

    Easily Solved

    Just get the approval of the owners of the next closest private owned house/business/building and move the nativity scene there. It will be in the same general area and it can still be seen, so the pastors will be happy, and it is not on public property so those who value the separation of church and state are happy. All parties get what they want.. a visible nativity scene, but not on public property. Done!

    • Tammi said on 09-12-2011

      I just went to the ACLJ website…it is the American Center for Law and Justice. Here is a link to their Christmas Resource Center that states what can be done as far as the county is concerned. From what I am reading, and after calling them to verify (the person was not a lawyer, and was using his own interpretation, as we will do), it looks to me like we may be able to take the wind out of their sails over this issue. Please go to this link and see what you think about it..

    • MP said on 09-12-2011


    • Mary Piper said on 09-12-2011

      Livy you cant try to tell us how to dress up our town, you atheist want to believe the way yall want to then do it but leave the christain that are believer alone we get alone with every one even if they dont believe the way we do, they respect us we respect them so best thing yall can do just find some where you set up a place where all yall can live together, dont dictate how we are suppose to live here.Dilbert has done nothing but Put Jesus down tried to be little every one how hes going to uninate on the scene and a little more I care not to say. build your own town and live in until dooms .

    • Mary Piper said on 09-12-2011

      no livy

  25. Suzanne Walker said on 08-12-2011

    I understand the entire argument is regarding the separation of church and state. Fine. Then explain why it is ok for the FFRF to give college scholarships (to public schools!) based on (atheist/agnostic/ nonbeliever) essays disguised as “freethinking”. Why is christianity omitted from that. By discussing any of those subjects, you are still talking about God, whether you believe or not. Isn’t that illegal.

  26. dilberth said on 08-12-2011

    I asked a Christian “What do you desire most in this life?” He said:



    Christians just can’t stand to be criticized whenever they commit transgression against their fellow humans.

    • Tammi said on 08-12-2011

      Here we go again…I don’t care what you believe, or who you believe in…it makes no difference to me whatsoever. What I would like to know from you is this…just what transgression has been made against fellow humans by putting up a Nativity scene?

      • dilberth said on 08-12-2011

        I’m sure you know full well that installing this big lie would embroil the community and create a furor and divide people. Wouldn’t it be nice if Joe Hall, that pride-full commissioner would just turn the other cheek and agree to put it on private property. He acts like he is a dictator.

        • Tammi said on 08-12-2011

          I don’t know Joe Hall, so I can’t comment on what he is like. I can tell you what I do see…this community has already begun the divide over the letter sent to the county attorney. You have those of us who want the Nativity scene to stay, no matter the significance of it. You have the one who wanted it gone so badly that they “anonymously” contacted a group out of state to threaten our county with a lawsuit if it was not taken down. Cases were cited, the threat was made, and, as far as I am concerned, it becomes a matter of principal. At least, if you are going to stand for something, STAND PROUD AND ACKNOWLEDGE IT!! Just like the rest of us are! I have a very dear friend who does not believe in God, but he has no problem with the Nativity scene. It is not only a religious depiction, but also a historical depiction. But to hide behind an organization that is not even in our own state tells me that particular person knew what he/she was doing when they made that call. They knew it would divide the community, and didn’t have the maturity to voice his/her beliefs in a manner which would not be viewed as threatening.

          • dilberth said on 08-12-2011

            That person who complained feared for his well-being. He understood full well how Christians can commit violent acts in the name of their savior, who in my opinion is a big ***hole.

          • Tammi said on 08-12-2011

            Christians AND non-Christians commit violent behavior. While I respect your right to your opinion, I also respect MY RIGHT to disagree with your opinion of this, as well as respect others’ right to their opinion. I think that you must have had a bad experience with a particular religion for you to make the comments you have made today. Not all religions are alike, and not all Christians are alike. Everyone’s Savior might not be called by the same name in every religion. There are some who are more spiritual than religious, like myself. I don’t actively go to any church, but I know that there are many available to me should I decide to go. I understand that there are people in this world who do not follow any religion and do not believe, and I am okay with that. it is called tolerance. It is an amazing word, and can be life saving sometimes.

        • Mary Piper said on 08-12-2011

          Livy , if Athens does that, then It will be like takeing Prayer out of school, They will find something else to start something ,we the people of athens needs to stand to what we believe. We as christain dont throw rocks at people are their houses ,we dont mistreat people that dont believe but we try to show our love to them, but we dont let people walk all over us for what we believe. We couldnt make it with out the Lord Jesus ,the navtivity scene is a reminder to us Jesus was born to save the ones that want to live with him.He doesnt force any one to live for him but we are his witnesses, so some will turn to him if they want to ..

        • Deborah said on 08-12-2011

          Sooooooooo, are you against Christ, or Joe Hall? Your comment makes no sense to the removal of the Christ Child.

        • Mary Piper said on 09-12-2011


    • Marcie said on 08-12-2011

      I dont know what “christian” you asked, but I am myself am one and I personally know hundreds. An those thoughts do not resemble any our thoughts in the least.

  27. […] FFRF demands nativity scene removed […]

  28. Britt said on 08-12-2011

    Seriously people!!!! Everyone has their own option. Get over it!!! Taking it down would not harm anyone. It’s not like you guys live there!!!!! Put it up in your own yard if you want to make such a huge deal out of it!!!!!!! Everyone has different religions. Not everyone believes in Christ.

    • David said on 08-12-2011

      And actually not all Christians believe in celebrating Christmas. But I don’t care if it’s there or not.

    • Serena said on 08-12-2011

      Seriously why should we have to change what has been history for years to shut people up? so they will stop crying about what offends them. I am offended by people who don’t belive in him !!! This is our option as you call it and our opinion !! It is not harming anyone sitting there either… So quit making a huge deal out of it seriously !!!

    • Mary Piper said on 09-12-2011


  29. Suzanne Walker said on 08-12-2011

    I though religous belief was a choice. Because there is a nativity scene in public does not make me believe. I guess FFR thinks people are influenced that easily. Does putting up a Christmas tree make me believe in Santa Clause? or hiding easter eggs make me believe in the easter bunny? Oh, I’m sorry for bringing that one up, that is another religous holiday for those that chose to believe.

  30. […] Group demands county remove nativity scene […]

  31. jj said on 08-12-2011

    First Amendment violation , what about violation to the cristian. we all have the right to have it there.if u dont like it move away

  32. Cord Painter said on 08-12-2011

    I say leave the display and let them sue. The law was intended to be enforced with discretion and consideration for the circumstances. This nativity display is in an area where less than 1% of the people are “offended” by it. Judges don’t like to go against 99+% of their community. We far outnumber them in headcount and financial resources…let’s drain em’. I’ll donate to the fund.

    • dilberth said on 08-12-2011

      If I get down that way in the next couple of days, I am going to micturate all over the cranial features of the little tyke that you adore. He needs a facial bath every now and then. Keep it clean.

      • Tammi said on 08-12-2011

        You know, they say that it takes a village to raise a child….I think yours raised the village idiot…

        • Sue said on 08-12-2011

          Tammi You got that right. Delberth will have to let GOD
          deal with him. JJ you got it all in a word – move.

        • jami said on 08-12-2011

          Wow this guy dilberth has nothing better to do, its okay I agree with you he will be judged on judgment day by God himself. No use for any of us to waste our time on him!

      • Sandra Wherley said on 08-12-2011

        I hope you try that so that you can be arrested for public lewdness. I also hope that minor child happens to be within a certain distance to be offended by your immature behavior, it is a child abuse charge added to the offense.

        The fact that you have no regard for private property is remarkable. To denigrate private property in a public setting says you have no self respect and maturity level lacking.

        • dilberth said on 08-12-2011

          The little bastard and his whore are on PUBLIC PROPERTY.

          • Mary Piper said on 08-12-2011

            Dilerth you really dont understand the power the Lord has, you are walking on dangerous grounds, he already won the battle over satan, and I say satan get the behind Gods people.we command you to flee Athens right now in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Jesus I pray you will encamp angels around and about Athens ,and we christain will sure give you all all the praise and glory in Jesus name I pray . Thank you jesus

          • Mary Piper said on 09-12-2011

            you are a very sick person,you just put your self in danger of hell fire what you just call Jesus and his mother.I think you know what your doing is wrong,but you think its cute, you have an audience I wouldnt have call Jesus that or his mother so disrepectful. your full of the devil.

      • J. Williams said on 08-12-2011

        If I am understanding your rant it is OK to have Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman displayed on the courthouse lawn. Is that correct?

      • Mary Piper said on 08-12-2011

        Dilberth ,YOU SAID LAST NITE YOU PRAYED TO God and he didnt answer your prayer, so you turn to satan and hes doing you could. the bible says Jesus will fight our battles , I would honestly hate to be in your shoes for you to say things like this. Lord help your sole

        • dilberth said on 08-12-2011

          Soul. Not sole. Sole is a fish. Just educating you and helping your to graduate from 6th grade. HA!

          • Mary Piper said on 08-12-2011

            (soul) Thank you I really appreciate,your correction. I have to tell you Im not better than you but Im better off than you . When I turn my life around and stared living for the Lord he showed so much how to be kind to others, IM so thankful Im a christain and I know who to believe in. I know where my peace comes from. thank you Jesus

          • Mary Piper said on 08-12-2011

            started better correct that word mr dilerth

          • MP said on 09-12-2011

            Im not wasteing my time on this person, the battle not ours its in Jesus hands now .I GAVE THEM TO JESUS. GOOD BYE

    • David Jones said on 08-12-2011

      I say leave the display. Only 2 week till Christmas and then will come down anyway. That is not enough time for them to file papers.

      • dilberth said on 10-12-2011

        The Freedom From Religion Foundation has already filed papers in Henderson County asking for records and all related material. It is already costing hundreds of dollars to fight this. It may end up costing taxpayers $300,000-400,000 dollars before it gets settled.

  33. Cord Painter said on 08-12-2011

    OK, one more comment. Why don’t we just watchdog the FFRF like they feel the need to hound us? They should be made to feel the consequences of ANY law their members bend regardless of whether or not anyone is really victimized or offended. If they speed, spit on the sidewalk, use yellow margarine in Wisconsin (it’s against the law there), or jaywalk, issue them a citation. Obviously there’s no room for common sense or discretion when we’re taking about the law with these self-important PITA’s. I think the Christian police officers of Wisconsin should assist the FFRF in living within the letter of the law.

  34. John T. Ford said on 08-12-2011

    I am thinking now that the nativity scene will have to be moved. I posted my reasoning on East Texas News & Opinions because it’s a little long but, I welcome all responses. Follow the link below, you will have to register with the site to respond. ………

  35. Judy Rogers said on 08-12-2011

    i do not want to think for a min that their is not a god just look around you. how do you see all the beauty and not believe.why don” you prey god does ans prayer.i know he does he has proved that many times.that navativity seen does not prove anything one way or the other except that you need to fall to your knees and ask god to forgive you,and leave us and our beliefs alone. leave our navativity seen where it is every year so my grandkids can see itt and everyone else that would like to see it also.leave our town alone we do not need you here.

  36. John T. Ford said on 08-12-2011

    “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
    – John Adams 1798

    • skimmons said on 08-12-2011

      It has been brought to my attention that your organization, not even based in MY state of TEXAS is asking MY Henderson County Courthouse to remove… the nativity scene! How dare you! This is MY state! My courthouse! It is disruptive to a holiday celebration which is based on Christianity! I would not dare ask a Jewish person to take down their holiday decorations. This is primarily a Christian area…We hold to Christian principals…Christian decorations to celebrate a holiday which is the birth of Jesus Christ! When in Rome…do as the Romans do…so if you want to clear Christ out of Wisconsin, be my guest, but do not enforce your wishes on us. And as far as I’m concerned, your organization is biased against Christianity! It’s about time we take back our country, the United States of America, founded by Christian men who had the foresight to make sure no one was discrimated against because of their religion. But America is a Christian country. If you don’t like it, then you are FREE to leave!

      • dilberth said on 08-12-2011

        Mr. Skimmons. If all atheists were to leave the Untied Skates of America, the National Academy of Science would loose 93% of its members while the prison population would remain the same. Most of the prisoners here are Christians. They have committed crimes. All most every day we hear of some minister, pastor, priest, youth minister or someone connected to religion molesting youths, stealing money from their congregations, or murdering their wives and sons and daughters, or using drugs. The headlines are full of your Christian principles: hate, ignorance, intolerance, bigotry and pride. Christians have created this mess that were are in. For the last 60 years, Congress and all the Presidents have embraced Christianity and made things worse. Christians are a disgrace to the human race.

        • John T. Ford said on 08-12-2011

          hate, ignorance, intolerance, bigotry and pride all of which are in your comment dilbert. Ever heard the old saying “what you don’t like about someone else is really what you don’t like about yourself”

        • Marcie said on 08-12-2011

          Wrong those claim to be Christian, no one truly knows the heart of another, you can only assume by apersons actions and word what they are. If I said I was a bird that doesnt make me a bird, until I have feathers, beak and can fly, etc. I am a bird. The person who takes my word that im a bird despite my actions, he is the idiot. And yes prisions and such do have christians im sure however, they are equally full of non christians, however us Christians dont feel the need to point out the non believers, that simply isnt our job. If you dont believe in our christian holiday fine dont. But dont be so arogant and disrespectful, simply dont celebrate. You may not belive in Christ but surley you have your own set of morals as a human to not be so disrespectful.

          • dilberth said on 08-12-2011

            I don’t respect anyone who believes that a guy from outer-space drew up a contract with a ghost from outer-space, to impregnate a 14 year-old girl, without any sort of courtship, not even a Valentine, for the purposes of giving birth to a man-god who would later commit suicide on a cross to save the rest of those that believed in this yarn. HA! HA!

        • Mary Piper said on 08-12-2011

          not were dilerth we you put a re on didnt sound very good . christain may fall shot but they get back up and still serve the Lord

          • Mary Piper said on 09-12-2011

            be careful dont blasphem the Holy SPIRIT WHERE THERE isnt any forgiveness for any that does dilearth

          • Mary Piper said on 09-12-2011

            DILBERTH, YOU BELIEVE your way and we believe our way and when the Lord comes and you miss heaven your going to remember all the things you said about my Lord ,your remeber us telling you there is a GOD OF HEAVEN,EVEN SATAN KNOWS THAT.

        • Deborah said on 08-12-2011

          You are funy, the fact is that the jail birds cry repentance after the fact so they can get out sooner, because they think the court will lighten up on them when they are fit, as CHRISTIANS, to do no harm to society. I have read all your comments and you are just aging folks on, so why dont you put a nap hat on and just go to beddybye. The real truth here is we the people of the Untied States of America are Christian based. We will get back what the non believers and Muslems have taken from us, we will no longer lay down, we are rising again as one with God to fight you and Satan. We laugh at fear, afraid of nothing when the thrumphet sounds. Niteynite to ya.

        • John Buchanan said on 09-12-2011

          You may not believe in God,Dilberth…..but He still believes in you.Merry Christmas

        • Carrie Luna said on 09-12-2011

          My skates are untied dill breath! I respect your right to be an atheist-why don’t you respect my right to be a Christian? I like the nativity scene and it’s not hurting anything there. God is Love and light and forgiveness-but only up to the rapture. After that-YOU FRY!

  37. John T. Ford said on 08-12-2011

    Human passions unbridled by morality and religion … would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net.
    —John Adams

  38. dilberth said on 07-12-2011

    I was curious. So I looked up Athens, TX on Wiki. It said that Athens was a small community about 40 miles east of Dallas. Wiki says that Athens is the “Original Home of the Hamburger.” Their mayor is Randy Daniel.
    Most of the people residing in Athens and the surrounding communities are bigots of the highest echelon, preferring to hate anyone that does not think or believe like them They disregard laws that don’t apply to them. They still run stop signs and drive on the sidewalk. Their motto: “Backward Christian Soldiers.”

    • John Wilson said on 08-12-2011

      We are the home of the hamburger ,our mayor is Randy Daniels. We do not disregard laws that don’t apply to us we don’t hate anybody we also dont run stop signs or drive on sidewalks and most of all our motto is not backward christian soldiers.

    • John T. Ford said on 08-12-2011

      The only hate and bigotry I see here Dilbert is in your comment.

    • R. Daniel said on 08-12-2011

      Dilbert whenever you get ready to move to a country where you dont have to worry about being offended by such a display, let us know so we can help you pack! I am SICK of antichrist attitudes that try to remove a symbol of goodness, love and peace such as Christ from public displays. This country was founded by great men and women that believed in a loving God and had a moral code that influenced their role in creating the constitution. This is a blessed nation still but if this antichrist type of mindset continues, we are doomed as a nation!

    • Marcie said on 08-12-2011

      If you had to look it up on wiki, then you have never been to or lived, or payed taxes there. What do you care about this prodominatley Christian county. What makes you the all knowledgeable to believe we disregard laws. I took the time to look on wiki myself and seen no wherethat it states this or that the citizins there and surrounding areas are bigots. I happen to be very close friends w/ a nonbeliever, I do not hate him in the least. Actually I love him very much, and pray that one day he will know my God. But If he chooses to not that is his decision alone I dont force it on him nor does he force his views on me. It’s called having moral standards regardless of your belief.

    • Carrie Luna said on 10-12-2011

      Oh Gee! You don’t live there n you’ve never been there?Looked it up in Wikepedia? Well of course, feel free to put your two cents in. At least I’ve been there! many times! My Brother, God rest his Soul, lived there many years. So I’ve made more than a few visits there, ate Popeye’s chicken n dirty rice. Had a lot of Black eyed peas. walked the square, stared at the “fiddler” attended a couple Rodeos there in my youth, love the Christmas park and the nativity scene in the square that is within the rules of the govt.
      And of course, attended church there. god Bless Athens!

  39. Garth said on 07-12-2011

    I am from Madison, WI. I am so tired of hearing the small group of FFRF being more important than the majority of Christians. They have been making a lot of news by trying to get these kind of displays taken down all over our area for many years.

    I really disagree that they have a problem with only one kind of scene being displayed. When did our government make it a crime to display our show of faith on public property? Does this county not allow other displays of faith? Or does that even matter?

  40. Martin said on 07-12-2011

    If the United States was founded on Christianity then how do you explain the Treaty of Tripoli, Was the US Senate lying?

    The Treaty of Tripoli (Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary) was the first treaty concluded between the United States of America and Tripolitania, signed at Tripoli on November 4, 1796 and at Algiers (for a third-party witness) on January 3, 1797. It was submitted to the Senate by President John Adams, receiving ratification unanimously from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797 and signed by Adams, taking effect as the law of the land on June 10, 1797.

    ” As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

    • Tammy Cummings said on 08-12-2011

      Martin, I have no doubt you know you are taking that out of context, but just in case you are truly confused, perhaps this link will help:

      The United States of America is now and has always been a CHRISTIAN nation.

      • Martin said on 08-12-2011

        Tammy, I hope you know that you are getting your history lesson from David Barton. A “Historian” who has no formal education in history. His education is from Oral Roberts University in Religious Education.

        This was not taken out of context. I quoted the entire version of Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli. I am not the one who is confused it is your mentor.

        • Tammy Cummings said on 09-12-2011

          Nice try Martin, but you can’t just ignore the whole history behind one little passage in a treaty and declare that The United States Of America was not founded by Christians, embracing Christian values, when so much evidence proves you wrong. And by the way, don’t make assumptions about mentors.

          • Martin said on 10-12-2011

            How do you know the history behind this passage which clearly says that the United States is not based on the Christian Religion. Because Barton says so? Where is the passage which says that the Senate was not being honest when they said this? Where is the official documentation which says that the United States was founded on the Christian Religion?

  41. Ed-words said on 07-12-2011

    Nobody’s “picking on you”. The judges have decided that
    govt. bodies must not display the creche without allowing other religious
    displays.Is that so terrible?

    Someone suggested that you get store owners to display creches
    in front of their stores.Problem solved No lawsuits.

    • John Wilson said on 08-12-2011

      Yea but why can the US govt. get away with putting in god we trust on the back of money?

      • Burt Jacobs said on 08-12-2011

        Quite, there is a strong argument for removing the “In God We Trust” new motto of the US. This was created during the Cold War when patriotic feelings were running high and communism was marketed as atheism. The original motto, created by our Founding Fathers is “e pluribus enum” (from many comes one). This would be far more appropriate to put on our money. The McCarthy era “In God We Trust” is both a poor motto and a faux motto.

  42. Peggy Taylor said on 07-12-2011

    First of all let me state I am strongly in favor of leaving up the nativity scene. For years this has been displayed and a part of the Christmas theme displayed at the courthouse. So evidentially someone who is not a Christian moves to Henderson County, gets offended and decides to challenge our right to celebrate Christ’s birth. I would hope the County Judge and Commissioner’s decide to leave it up and if this organization wants to follow through and file suit, so be it. If the person who filed the complaint thinks this will put a damper on those who believe in God celebrating Christmas, he or she will be very disappointed. It is time take a stand on non-Christians delegating to the Christian people what they can and cannot do. How can we not speak out and fight against this issue? A sore will fester and spread if you let it. What is this person going to do next, walk the halls of all the county buildings and tell the people what they can and cannot display of a religious nature in their office because it is a government building or go as far as tell employees they cannot wear jewelry with a cross on it to work?

    So this brings to mind something I would like each of you to think about. I would never treat anyone differently because they were not a Christian. That is their right. I would pray for them but they would not be shunned or treated disrespectfully. Very soon people will be asking for your vote for the upcoming elections. Since this has happened in Henderson County I feel it is just the beginning, the sore spreading. Check out your candidates before you commit yourself to marking that ballot. This has been a wake-up call for me and even if I think I know the person running for office I am certainly going to do some in depth checking. Whoever thought we in small town USA Athens, Texas would be challenged over a religious issue on the courthouse lawn? For years the non-christians have walked by the nativity scene and made no issue….so why now?
    GOD bless and keep you all. Have a Merry Christmas.
    Peggy Taylor

    • Burt Jacobs said on 08-12-2011

      No one is protesting anyone’s right to celebrate their religious holidays. Go for it. Just don’t break the law by using the public square, paid for by public funds, to promote your brand of religion. There are enough churches and private properties where religious displays can be displayed.

      No one is taking away your rights, but you are violating the rights others.

      You are not the victim here, you are the offender and are breaking the Federal Law as ruled by the Supreme Court.

    • Deborah said on 08-12-2011

      Enjoyed your read, God bless you, very well spoken.

    • Carrie Luna said on 09-12-2011

      From a transplanted Texan, Thank you for your common sense. I will urge others to do the same up here in cheese land. I did lose sight of the common goal-which is to work together to bring God back into our communities, our government and our homes. We are only as good as our elected leaders and it’s up to us to make sure they will stand up for our beliefs and values rather than take the easy out and cater to a few.

  43. Tim K said on 07-12-2011

    Just a few quick questions if I may. I understand the debate from both sides; one citing legal reference and the other side citing civil rights. I am Christian myself however I neither agree nor disagree with this movement. Many of you posting might call me a sinner because of the life God gave me and the values I hold dear to my life and upbringing of my family. It is these distasteful, derogatory, and biased remarks that bring me to posting on this forum. I am not from Henderson County, however I am from a neighboring county and some of you might recognize my name on here but all is well and I shall not hide behind a monitor. So my questions are: 1. Does one have the right to hold their values to be more true than another? 2. Did the hospital have any less affect by building a new one in another location? And finally #3. Can I place a rainbow decorated flag in the court house lawn during the month of June without bias judgment from all of you who stand up to your nativity scene? Truthful answers only please and my comment is not crude nor offensive therefore your comment should be respectful as well. Thank you and may you all be blessed during the holiday season.

    • Mary Piper said on 08-12-2011

      to be honest ,the rainbow is a promise from the Lord that he want destory mankind with water again, revelation it says with fire but he will take his people out first praise his Holy name Merry Christmas may you new year be better

  44. Tammy Cummings said on 07-12-2011

    These people obviously aren’t going to go away, so the answer is to beat them at their own game. All businesses around the square should display nativities, and religious symbols celebrating the birth of Christ. As a matter of fact, as many businesses, homeowners, etc as will should display nativities. Maybe a call to the Guinness Book of World Records is due, to find out what town holds the record for most nativity displays, and Athens should start a nationwide call to get others involved in helping beat it. The nativity of the court house grounds should stay, and the smallest of changes made to meet the requirement, that it is not the sole focus. (Perhaps, the citizens would like to focus on a small sign that reads, ” The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a radical organization that wants to impose atheism, and strip religious freedom from Christians.” Or a similarly crafted message from your city attorneys that impart the same sentiment in a legal manner. It is sad this has happened, but the fight has come to you. I say it is time to make lemonade out of the huge lemon you were just handed.

    • Burt Jacobs said on 08-12-2011

      This would be the perfect answer. Simply follow the law as everyone else has to do.

      The FFRF would whole-heartedly condone your suggestion. They do not want to remove or curtail your rights, they simply want to ensured that the separation between Church and State is honoured and that the law is followed.

      • Deborah said on 08-12-2011

        Then why did Obama jump on his church wagon to get elected? Please answer me. He claimed relegion and that he was a Christian to please the poles. Church and State?

    • R. Daniel said on 08-12-2011

      i like it Tammy! high five!

  45. Bobby Allen said on 07-12-2011

    I would like to say I am surprised by this but am not. Our country was founded on freedom of religion mainly because Christians and Jewish believers have always been persecuted. I would like to believe that the founders of this nation would have worded it differently if they would have known the unethical direction our legal system has taken. Freedom of religion means just that. If we want to erect a statue of Christ who died for our sins on the lawn of the whitehouse there should be no problem or discussion about it. 17,000 non Christians do not scare me and they should not scare our courthouse. We all fall under the se umbrella of government and it just so happens that their unethical hedonistic view of the world will probably just get what they want. Even Christ said to follow him you will meet persecution. The thing is it won’t stop here. Where did prayer go in schools and work. Why do bars have more regulars than church. Today I was blown away when my regional director for ETMC EMS opened our meeting with prayer and then return home to post such a thing on facebook when I see that not only do these poor lost souls not have a personal relationship with Christ but also openly and freely renounce the birth of their savior. No Christians do not pray for ourselves but for the salvation and redemption for those who persecute. Remember Saul!

  46. Tomisina said on 07-12-2011

    Do ppl have nothing better to do with their time, I understand that we have different religions and everything but really?? We were here first and I know thats a childish way of putting it but do we make the Jews take down the Star of David? Do we make Black people stop celebrating Kwanzaa? Do tell Catholics that they can’t celebrate Lent? The last time I checked we didn’t. So why is it that all the religions that celebrate Christmas have to suffer because some people get offended by a nativity scene? Be for real God Is in everything each and everyone of us do. You say that you don’t pray to the same God but news flash there is only one God!!!

  47. John T. Ford said on 07-12-2011

    Freedom from Religion Foundation is based in Madison, WI. They were not successful when they sued neighboring Manitowoc County for the very same reason, a nativity scene on the Court House lawn. FFRF is also the group that sued over Perry’s Prayer Event. They have sued over the National Day of Prayer and have even gone so far as to threaten to sue colleges for suspending classes on good Friday. This anti-American group claims 17,000 members. In the 2000 census, Henderson County’s population was recorded as 73,277. Do not allow this little group of little minded people bully the citizens of TEXAS!

    • dilberth said on 08-12-2011

      Remember the core principal of Christianity. Love your enemies! You can hate your brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, but love your enemies.

    • skimmons said on 08-12-2011

      John…..I will say I prayer for you because for certain you do not know My Lord Jesus Christ!!!!!!!! And furthermore……The small town of Murchison has a third grade play every year and the students are allowed to write their own play. Guess what story that they want to tell year after year? The Birth Of JESUS!!!!!!Take that freedom of speech opportunity feather and put it in your hat :)

    • Mary Piper said on 08-12-2011

      Mr Ford we re not, I understand that there was a group like this that had people to support them with money and collecedt a lot, and one of there people in the group got all of it and taken off some where

  48. John T. Ford said on 07-12-2011

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. –First Amendment to the US Constitution.

  49. John T. Ford said on 07-12-2011

    Because of the very common usage of the “separation of church and state phrase,” most people incorrectly think the phrase is in the constitution. The phrase “wall of separation between the church and the state” was originally coined by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptists on January 1, 1802. His purpose in this letter was to assuage the fears of the Danbury, Connecticut Baptists, and so he told them that this wall had been erected to protect them. The metaphor was used exclusively to keep the state out of the church’s business, not to keep the church out of the state’s business. …………………. http://www.allabouthistory.or​g/separation-of-church-and-st​ate.htm

  50. Tonya Damm said on 07-12-2011

    I have read the comments on the issue of the Nativity Scene on the Courthouse lawn in Henderson County and I am saddened and sickened by the responses. I am tired of our beliefs on trial for a very few. The group trying to remove it consist of 17,000 according to article and 1 complaintant. How many people live in Henderson County? How many Christians? If this scene is removed I believe out government workers and all paid by government should be at work during this holiday(celebration of the birth of Christ)!!! I believe schools should run as normal for all non believers, all post offices open, all goverment facilities accessable ect… The shopping and deals need to be limited and given to those who believe and we could go on removing conveniences and rewards for a religion that offends you!! We let you pray as your faith allows, you have your holidays without our complaints and yet you continue to try to limit ours. Please Hendeson County taxpayers and believers STAND FOR YOUR RIGHTS!!!!!

    • Jennifer Buie said on 07-12-2011

      I live in Athens, and I enjoy the nativity scene very much. You’re obviously blinded by the devil, and there’s not a doubt in my mind about that, but taking away our nativity scene is unfair to the many Christians still left here In Athens. If you would open your eyes and enjoy your lives while youre here on Earth maybe you could enjoy it long enough to not ruin everyone else’s.. God bless. I’ll be praying for you guys.

  51. Cord Painter said on 07-12-2011

    I’ve let issues like these get me riled in the past and always end up with the same realization: that some people roam the earth looking for something to be “offended” by and attempt to change accepted norms for the sake of change. There is no winning a logical argument with these people because they place no value on logic or fair play. They feel they deserve to get their way no matter how many others are deprived of what they want. They’re just that special. The only way to beat them is to out-vote them when we get a chance. The only way they win is to catch the rest of us being too complacent. I’m outta here.

  52. Curtis said on 07-12-2011

    I have seen so many negative, mean, derogatory and nasty comments made on this posting and the majority of them have been from fellow Christians. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. There is a line and a lot of you have crossed it. Defend what you feel is right but do not resort to name calling and stone throwing.” So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” John 8:7

  53. John Wilson said on 07-12-2011

    You know from what i’m reading on the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, it says ” Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. Should we also change our national songs like God bless America, God bless the USA , or our national moto that is IN GOD WE TRUST. I’m glad to live in the USA and in the state of Texas and I think that anybody that does not like a person that say’s or put’s something religous out than learn to live with it or move.

    • dilberth said on 07-12-2011

      Beg your pardon Mr. Wilson. You can put out a religious statue or a nativity scene on your lawn or even on church property. I hope you do. But for a mayor or anyone in a position of government to do that is impermissible no matter if it is a tradition. After all, slavery was a tradition and we had to fight tooth and nail to get rid of that.

      • Tomisina said on 07-12-2011

        Yes we had to fight tooth and nail to get rid of it but everyone was created as equals slavery should have never existed but it did. and now we want to fifight tooth and nail over religion really is it truly that serious

      • Deborah said on 08-12-2011

        Which slavery are you refering to..women slavery? can of weaners, nothing to do with the issue are fishing in every hole you can funny. Even Martian Luther King Jr. was a believer in God, so don’t even go there. Always somebody trying to pull the race card.. Always!

  54. Cord Painter said on 07-12-2011

    Can you prove that God does not exist? Why are you so threatened by someone else’s faith in what you can neither prove or disprove? Personally, I don’t give a rat’s butt what someone else does or believes as long as it doesn’t hurt me. If we have Buddhists in Athens that want to put a display on the square for their holiday, I doubt anybody will deny them that. I bet if the majority of the county was Buddhist, there would be Buddhist displays in the county and nobody would be bothered by it.

  55. Judie Gillaspy said on 07-12-2011

    I you check out the times on their postings of Bill, Raf and Edna you will see they are not from here JUST IGNORE THE PESTS.Or better yet get the swatter out.

    • dilberth said on 07-12-2011

      My son Timmy asked me the other day, “Dad, how did religion begin? I told him that I didn’t know the exact date but it probably began when the first con man met the first fool. HA! HA!

  56. Michael said on 07-12-2011

    for those who keep mentioning this being a taxpayer land that the nativity scene is on. I pay taxes in this county and I feel that it is a Christmas decoration and that it is not hurting anyone so it should stay where it is. I have seen all the decorations on the county courthouse square for as long as I have been alive and it is not disturbing to me. As far as raf fak goes do you even pay taxes in this county or are you from somewhere else and you just want to make your remarks to make you look smart.
    For your information you do not look smart at all and you need to get some of your facts straight also.

    • dilberth said on 07-12-2011

      HA! Michael. Your religion doesn’t deal with facts. All of your incantations and accounts of a savior are all unprovable, untestable and plucked out of thin air. Jesus is a myth of enormous proportions. There is no god. That nativity scene is an advertisement to others to join in your crazy glee.

      • Aaron Scott said on 07-12-2011

        I am sure you won’t be so cocky when you are burning in hell,

      • Mary Piper said on 07-12-2011

        well mr. Delberth its a sure thing you dont know any thing about the Bible,you have never heard the Lord talk in a audible voice or little legs grow out right before your eyes,miracles after miracles you know no man here on earth can do these things. That and reading what hes says in his word makes me know there is a God that made all these things around us. thats all it takes for me. He says blessed are the ones that belives with out seeing. you see I know theres one and I will pray some way God will show you what ever he has to do, that he is real. So just watch for him.

      • Tonya Damm said on 07-12-2011

        If you really believed this a mere Christmas ornament couldnt rhreaten you I will pray for you!!

        • dilberth said on 07-12-2011

          Well, sometimes I have prayed and god didn’t answer me. So I switched allegiance and I now pray to Satan. It works. Put your God to rest; goto Satan, he’s the best.

          • Mary Piper said on 07-12-2011

            He answer in his timeing, but he answers all prayer,and he loves you and hes waiting for you to call on him and believe when you pray with out doubt,then you will see prayers answered. We have to believe and we have to repent and ask him in our hearts.

          • Becky said on 07-12-2011

            Of course Satan answers you, Dilberth. He wants you to burn in hell with him. He doesn’t care about you. Only wants to make sure you don’t end up in Heaven with God. Hell wasn’t mean’t for us. It’s mean’t for Satan and the other fallen angels. I’ll pray for you.

          • Angela said on 07-12-2011

            You are Crazy in the head is all I can say and good luck when you are on fire. You need help in the most severe ways.

          • krystal said on 08-12-2011

            U believe in Satan but not God…. wow u r pathetic.

      • Lee Rainwater said on 07-12-2011

        your sick

      • Angela said on 07-12-2011

        Crazy in the head is all I can say and good luck when you are on fire.

      • R. Daniel said on 08-12-2011

        Air Well all I can say Dilbert is you better hope you’re mythological view is correct! But then what if it’s not?

        • R. Daniel said on 08-12-2011

          ooops disregard the word “Air” it was part of a comment I chose not to post.

  57. Sherry Sullens said on 07-12-2011

    It’s time for us as Christians to stand up for what we believe and quit backing down. That’s how our nation got to where it is today by being quiet and thinking the devil will never get the upper hand. My friends…he’s alive and well. So when is enough, enough?? When do we get a backbone? If that 800 is so against this why don’t they give their names? I’d say their backbone has a yellow streak up it and they need someone else to do their dirty work. The work of the devil. I say make them come down here and make them move the Nativity Scene…who knows the power of moving Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus by a bunch of non-believers?

  58. brian said on 07-12-2011

    The group is right…its the law. People can’t just pick and choose the laws they follow because they don’t agree…welcome to America Christians…you’re not the only ones here…deal with it.

    • Cord Painter said on 07-12-2011

      Just because some law passed through in a huge bundled bill doesn’t make it right. If the next huge bill to pass contained a law buried inside that called for all citizens to spit in the face of everyone they encounter named Brian every time they come across them, I guess you’d accept that without complaint? Laws should reflect the wishes of the majority without infringing on the rights of the individual. How many people has that nativity scene ever hurt? With all the crap thrown in our faces every day, is this nativity scene the most offensive display you can find to complain about? Get a life.

      • dilberth said on 07-12-2011

        Oh my Glob! Aren’t you the loving, caring, objective paragon of christianity. Seems to me, you have learned nothing from following your leader. You are full of hate, rancor and belligerence.

        • Cord Painter said on 07-12-2011

          Never claimed to be a paragon of anything…just stating my opinion as you are. You are full of something yourself. By the way, who’s my leader?

    • Cord Painter said on 07-12-2011

      Ya know, it’s also a LAW that noone may hold public office in the state of Texas without acknowledging the existence of a supreme being. Maybe we should stress the crap out of that law. I suspect that you’re only human and that you may not agree with every law in place either.

  59. GeriLeigh said on 07-12-2011

    “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

    • Bill Dugan said on 07-12-2011

      “Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. 20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. ”
      Ezekiel 23:19-20

      • Tammy Cummings said on 07-12-2011

        Really Bill? What is your point in quoting this verse alone? Is it just to try to be perverse? I don’t doubt from your posts that you are a reasonably intelligent guy, and probably even have enough Biblical knowledge to know this passage is metaphorical, comparing the actions and downfall of a harlot with the actions and downfall of the citizens of Jerusalem.

        So? It’s a harsh passage. What is your point?

        To me, this post by you just negates and demeans every valid point you have made on this thread.

  60. dilberth said on 07-12-2011

    Firstly, the Christian celebration of Christmyth with the birth of a savior can no longer be defended as a legitimate commemoration of any real event because the premises that constitute its origin lack reliable data. The Bible is mute on what day this god-baby was born.
    Secondly, this display elicits an advertisement that there is a god. That is not fact. There is no god. There are no angels. Jesus is a myth of enormous magnitude, bigger than the man on the moo. HA!

    • Lee Rainwater said on 07-12-2011

      you are proof that there is a God because he is the opposite of what you repersent Satan

    • R. Daniel said on 08-12-2011

      So if we see a man riding a cow, that would also be a myth? Before you tell someone else to get an “education” for misspelling a word, maybe you should check your own! ( I’m referring to the comment made by you to the person that said “your sick”)

  61. Barney Combs said on 07-12-2011

    Raf Fac if you don’t like it, leave and just quit paying taxes. We’re keeping God alive where we want to.

    • brian said on 07-12-2011

      Its your right to practice your religion as you see fit…the law clearly states that this is illegal. There shouldn’t even be an argument. This comment is ignorant.

  62. Ed said on 07-12-2011

    I love the commissioner who had the guts to say “They’ll have to make us move it”. It’s about time someon had the backbone to stand up to these pathetic idiots!

  63. bev said on 07-12-2011

    Why do we allow these people to take over our country? Our courts allow this? Then we need to change our courts, yes even our supreme court.. We also need to go in mass to Wisconsin to the headquarters of the FFRF and sing them Christmas carols every year until we are blue in the face and they are all out of money from having us removed from their property, not to mention that we need to pray for them outside of their headquarters every day of the year in mass. Time to take our country back…. Sick of this stuff…

  64. Raf Fak said on 07-12-2011

    Wow looking at these post is exactly what is wrong with this country. A lack of education on the most basic elements of the founding of our nation and our constitution. This profound level of ignorance which religious people ignorantly display is unmatched anywhere else in the First World. It is always characterized by a gross misunderstanding of the most basic facts, with a large volume of emotion mixed in.

    • bev said on 07-12-2011

      Do you Mr. Raf Fak get emotional about your religion? Does it mean anything to you? Then maybe you can’t understand why these people are upset. God is love and he loves his people and we are to love others too but we have a right to show that, yes if the supreme court says we have to have equal access then we should just take it down because It brings all kinds of things that all kinds of people worship to be displayed even porno graphic things could be displayed, but the FFRF can not take Christ out of the hearts of those who truly love and worship him. There is a scripture in Isaiah that says of the Messiah the Christ, “That the government shall be on his shoulders”. What will happen on that day when he comes and requires that? There will be no seperation from church and state at that time. And by the way, what is the First World you are speaking about?

    • Mary Piper said on 07-12-2011

      Raf Fak there is not but one world thats this one and America was founded on christanity , now if you dont like us worshiping our savior Lord Jesus Christ birthday, then I feel sorry for you and I will pray that the Lord will turn your heart around.Jesus took beating whipping and hung on a cross for you even if you dont believe it. You will stand before him one day and explain your self unless you turn your heart to him,then if you dont he will tell you depart from me I never knew you ,that will be so sad when you have a chance now. then you will see and feel his judgement come up on you .

    • Judie Gillaspy said on 07-12-2011

      Why dont you go back to your First World where ever that may be and we will keep Jesus here.

    • Cord Painter said on 07-12-2011

      I’d choose ignorance over arrogance all day long. At least they won’t show up to your family reunion (or any gathering that shares your views), find something to be offended by, and demand that you all change your behavior to suit them.

    • Amanda said on 08-12-2011

      Raf, if you have no passion for anything you are not living. And I feel bad for you. To belittle people and say they are uneducated because they don’t share your views or perception is quite a pathetic argument. Just know these people are also people that would fogive you in a heartbeat and give you the shirt off their backs if they saw you suffering. If that’s not American I dont know what is. This constant whining of “That offends me”, Well put your big girl panties on and get over it. Just saying.

    • Laura said on 08-12-2011

      You’re remark is self-righteous, snarky and condescending.

  65. Lauren Hopper said on 07-12-2011

    Keep the nativity scene and allow all people who want to express their religious right to do so on the courthouse lawn. Support all or support none.

  66. sandi agin said on 07-12-2011

    The country I live in was formed on Godly values. If anyone or group do not like the values of our county or country, then you need to leave, not expect anyone to conform to your un values. This is what is wrong our society today. Keep America and Henderson county on the right track with teaching our young children the real reason we celebrate this special occasion. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!!!!!!

  67. Amanda said on 07-12-2011

    Seriously?????????? Do people not have anything better to do then hate and hate and hate. So after the hate mongers have stripped away anything worth meaning from any and every group with any affiliation that could amount to coin collecting, what will the hate mongers have left to pick apart? The problem is people need to mind their own business and if they dont like something then get away from it! Sheeeeeeeesh. I dont whine and complain if I see anything from another religuous affiliation. And this group represens 800 in Tx? Do they know how many they arent representing? 25,145,561 – 800 = out numbered. Remember we are one of the only states that can survive as our own union. Go be a cry baby to something else Freedom From Religion Foundation. Join a group called Freedom for Religion and have a purpose in your miserable life. And dont live in a small town in East Tx with the ridiculous outlook that we are a liberal state.

    • Raf Fak said on 07-12-2011

      Amanda & Sandi – Please educate yourself to understand what our constitution means. Take all mythology and display it in your place of worship not on taxpayer funded property.

      • Kaffar said on 07-12-2011


      • Laura said on 08-12-2011

        No where on the U.S. Constitution does it read “separation of church and state”. In the Bill of Rights it states that Congress shall not set up a national religion,

        “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    • Bill Mohon said on 07-12-2011

      You sound more “Hateful” than the FFRF

      • Amanda said on 08-12-2011

        I am not hateful. I am truthful. The govt at Henderson County Courthouse isnt promoting Christianity. This FFRF group is ridiculous. So let me ask you this. Since Santa Claus isnt real and associated with CHRISTmas, Shall HC take down the Santa Clause from their lawn as well? “Mythology?” Bahahaha. The constitution- It’s Freedon OF religion. Just because the group wants to alienate themselves from religion doesnt mean everyone else has to suffer. And costly litigation is a waste of the sytems resources. This group is just a bully with nothing more than legal threats so they can hide behind their lawyers and cause drama ! Wow…..shocker……… Keep the nativity scene and santa clause and all his reindeer. If others dont like it then drive around it. I’m assuming you work on this holiday since you act like it is offensive. Or do you benefit from this holiday and stay home as well? Troll? LOL thats a mythical creature, nice come back…..

  68. Hank Houlett said on 07-12-2011

    Are you for real? To remove the scene is not only sad but against the wants of the folks of ATHENS. Tell your concerned citizen of the county, If they take offence to our right to show our faith,Then that person has the right to LEAVE., ITS TIME TO RECLAIM OUR COUNTRY,ITS TIME TO ACCLAIM OUR FAITH IN JESUS,

    • Raf Fak said on 07-12-2011

      Hank, whats wrong with moving the display to a church property where it belongs? Affirm your faith in the US Constitution.

  69. Barney Combs said on 07-12-2011

    Leave it right where it is. If that group don;’t like it ( TOUGH!!!) DOn’t look at it. or leave the country…

  70. John Wilson said on 07-12-2011

    I think that some people need to read up on what they are saying. Leave it on the courthouse lawn where i know it has been for at least 31 years.

  71. Todd Weaver said on 07-12-2011

    TRUTH OR DARE – It’s time to stand for truth, or dare suffer the consequences of Christian faith and symbolism being attacked. Bullying won’t end until the bully knows where the line is drawn. Christians, join together – take a stand – draw the line!
    “All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.”
     Edmund Burke (British Statesman and Philosopher, 1729-1797)

    • Amber Hanna said on 07-12-2011

      This is ridiculous. First of all in the letter it states a lie. It IS NOT THE ONLY seasonal thing on the square. The courthouse is decorated all the way around as it has ALWAYS been!!!!! This is so stupid and retarded!!! If u dont like it dont freakin look!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  72. Damon said on 07-12-2011

    Annie Laurie Gaylor (born in Tomah, Wisconsin on 2 November 1955) is co-founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation She is a self-described feminist and liberal.

    Enough said. A liberal baby killer.

  73. Ronnie said on 07-12-2011

    They do not celebrate Christmas for the reason it is a holiday. They don’t deserve to celebrate it at all. If our faith was in God only, not man, Christians would not have this problem nor would the government, which was established through religious principles, not athiest.

  74. Christopher Walker said on 07-12-2011

    This country was founded on Freedom of Religion, not freedom from religion. This group has nothing but a twisted perspective of the first amendment.

    • Raf Fak said on 07-12-2011

      How is there religious freedom being impacted? Are they not allowed to believe and practice any myth they want in their own homes or place of worship?

    • Bill Dugan said on 07-12-2011


      A question. If the county allowed a scene depicting the angel Gabriel meeting Muhammad in the cave near Mecca during the month of Ramadan would you be offended?

      • Tammy Cummings said on 07-12-2011

        Yes Bill we would be offended. The United States of America is a majority CHRISTIAN nation.. I know that is an inconvenient truth for a lot of liberals and radicals, but just because you find it to be inconvenient, it doesn’t change the fact. The mistake we have made as a nation is in allowing minority religions from other nations and unbelievers to persecute Christians. A mistake my friend, that can be easily rectified, and I believe will be rectified if this kind of nonsense continues to flourish.

        • Bill Dugan said on 08-12-2011

          Tammy, you’re correct that our nation is majority Christian, but it sounds like you don’t understand the laws of our nation. The government cannot endorse any one religion, Christian or otherwise. This is the violation of federal law!

          • Tammy Cummings said on 09-12-2011

            Bill, I’m really tired of your condescending tone. I’ve probably forgotten more about the law than you will ever know. I suggest you read for content. Did I not say this is a “mistake that can be easily rectified?”

  75. Tammy Cummings said on 06-12-2011

    These people obviously aren’t going to go away, so the answer is to beat them at their own game. All businesses around the square should display nativities, and religious symbols celebrating the birth of Christ. As a matter of fact, as many businesses, homeowners, etc as will should display nativities. Maybe a call to the Guinness Book of World Records is due, to find out what town holds the record for most nativity displays, and Athens should start a nationwide call to get others involved in helping beat it. The nativity of the court house grounds should stay, and the smallest of changes made to meet the requirement, that it is not the soul focus. (Perhaps, the citizens would like to focus on a small sign that reads, ” The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a radical organization that wants to impose atheism, and strip religious freedom from Christians.” Or a similarly crafted message from our city attorneys that impart the same sentiment in a legal manner. It is sad this has happened, but the fight has come to you. I say it is time to make lemonade out of the huge lemon you were just handed.

    • Bill Dugan said on 07-12-2011

      Tammy, your proposal is fine. Business sites and homes are not government property. The issue is that the nativity scene is being displayed on government property in a religiously pluralistic nation. It is not legal.

      • Mary Piper said on 07-12-2011

        its legal, its our town

      • Tammy Cummings said on 07-12-2011

        Biil, Thanks, I understand the concept, I understand the issue of government property, & I understand that liberal groups such as the ACLU and this fringe group from Wisconsin refuse to recognize that the United Staes of America was founded on CHRISTIAN values, although our currency reads, “In God We Trust”, our pledge recites, “One nation under God, ” and when our president takes the oath of office he places his hand on THE HOLY BIBLE. What I don’t understand is how we have gotten so lost in this country as to allow supreme court judges to tell us we can’t display THE TEN COMMANDMENTS on government property, or a nativity scene on the court house grounds at CHRISTMAS. A FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED HOLIDAY CELEBRATING THE BIRTH OF CHRIST.

        Please reread my original post for content. I addressed the LAW governing government property, and suggested a sign to put beside the nativity display to satisfy the “soul focus” issue.

      • STAND N FIGHT said on 09-12-2011

        To Bill, this fight will not go away. It is the County Court house now, next it will be our homes and business that can’t display any type of Christian symbol. It will never stop until we stop it. We gave in to no Ten Commandments in the court house, no prayer in school, no prayer at sporting events, etc. We keep giving and you keep taking, where does it stop. I think it stops now. We have give in enough. You do not know when to stop, and you have pushed to far.

        • Bill Dugan said on 09-12-2011

          Stand N Fight,

          You’re emotions seem to compromise your ability to be reasonable. I don’t think anyone in this country would want to see anyone oppressed to the level that they couldn’t have a religious display outside their home.


    • Mary Piper said on 07-12-2011

      amen to that Tammy

  76. Lindy said on 06-12-2011

    Lord, I pray for this county, this state, this nation and this world. Lord I pray that you open our eyes, our ears and our hearts Lord. I lift up the leaders of this world Lord and pray that you give them the strenght and the knowledge to lead. Lord I pray for the lost souls and that you will use someone or something to lead them to you Lord and that they can find salvation and peace in you. Lord I give you all the praise and glory. Amen.

  77. Don Gerard said on 06-12-2011

    Why not just ignore FFRF? Force them to file a lawsuit. If they do, then let it go to court. By the time it gets a hearing Christmas will probably be over and the manger scene will have been taken down. No need to hire a high priced lawyer to argue the case, simply notify the court that it has been removed.

    • Cord Painter said on 06-12-2011

      I like your thinking. Even if an attorney was required to represent the Christian side, surely one could be found to accept the case on a volunteer basis. Representing 99.997% of the state can’t hurt his or her reputation and popularity too badly.

  78. Alison said on 06-12-2011

    Texas population from the 2010 census: 25,145,561.
    A far contrast to the 17,000 members of this group out of which only 800 are Texans.

    • Cord Painter said on 06-12-2011

      I’m glad you posted those numbers…This would indicate that, in Texas, we are expected to bow down to the wishes of a group that accounts for 0.003% of the state’s population. This is GOOD NEWS!!! You see, this means that just one of us should be able to go to their meetings, with all 800 of them in attendence, and demand that they all kiss our single butt. That single butt accounts for 0.12% of the meeting attendees…40 times what they represent in the state of Texas!!!! Fight fire with fire!!!

    • Raf Fak said on 07-12-2011

      What does population size have to do with anything. You understand that we are a Constitutional Democracy right.

      • Cord Painter said on 07-12-2011

        I understand that within a group, a vast majority should recieve more consideration than a whiney few. That’s what voting is based on…the majority rules. If you would rather see a different display on the square for Christmas then put one up beside the nativity scene. I don’t think anyone will deprive you of that unless it attacks some other ideology. What makes you think your wants are any more important than anyone elses. You’re outnumbered in this country.

      • Laura said on 08-12-2011

        And a republic which acknowledges the truth of natural law.

  79. Allison R said on 06-12-2011

    The name of this NATIONAL holiday is Christmas. This holiday like many parts of our history has religious affiliations. Christmas decorations are about being festive and what they represent are a holiday that everyone has a right to celebrate differently. Some use the holiday as a day to open presents from Santa, some use it as an opportunity to spend time with family, and yes some use it as a time to remember their beliefs. It’s a holiday, let the decorations be a reminder of the festivities of a holiday in a country that allows us to celebrate it however we choose.

    • bev said on 07-12-2011

      Very well put… I think the government would have to step in and make it not a holiday officially or pass rules that say that this is a Christian holiday that Christians want to celebrate; other folks are not obliged to celebrate if it they do not want to, but we have the right to celebrate. I don’t see anyone attacking Romidan (sorry can’t spell that) and those who celebrate that. In that very act of singling out Christmas, they are in violation of the very principles they are trying to stand on including the supreme court. All holidays would have to become equal…

  80. Cord Painter said on 06-12-2011

    In this situation a vast majority of an area’s population has decided to erect a decoration in honor of a nationally recognized holiday. Christmas has always been celebrated as the birth of Christ and, as far as I know, it’s never harmed anyone. Where do these people come from that constantly search for small issues to be offended by and feel that they’re so important that the rest of society should cater to their every whim? Aren’t these the same folks who talk about tolerance when it suits their needs?

  81. Todd Weaver said on 06-12-2011

    I have requested ACLJ exposure and help regarding this issue to help us take a stand for truth and combat anything that is not. – Todd
    (see below – my request confirmation)
    American Center for Law and Justice P.O. Box 90555 Washington, DC 20090-0555 1-800-296-4529

    Legal Helpline Phone: 757-226-2489

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    Petition call-in number: 1-877-989-2255

    For information on broadcasting Jay Sekulow Live! or Jay Sekulow Weekend:

    Phone: 770-414-0806

    The following form is for Legal Help Requests only. Please note that our area of practice is limited to constitutional law with an emphasis on First Amendment freedoms of speech, assembly and exercise of religion. Although some matters may incidentally involve religious belief and exercise, please understand that the ACLJ is unable to represent individuals and organizations involving other areas of the law, such as personal injury, corporate, family law and other civil and criminal matters; these issues are outside our area of practice. Please complete the form below if you are in need of legal help within our area of practice. Upon submitting the form we will review your request and respond in an appropriate manner.
    Transaction SummaryConfirmation Code: 47K8449

  82. Lee Rainwater said on 06-12-2011

    If they don’t want to celebrate the birth of Jesus then they need to work during that time instead of enjoying th benefits. I hate that us Christians have set back and let the atheist do away with everything we believe in. Bad as i hate to say it we do have ro follow the laws of the land. Shame on us

  83. Brenda said on 06-12-2011

    Christians are to lazy to fight for their freedoms. They will just sit back and hand them over to the world with no comments or fights. Watch….no one will even TRY to stand up and do anything. We NEVER do. Its to much time and effort…….another win for satan coming up……I have NO FAITH in man anymore. Sad isnt it?

  84. Teri Caswell said on 06-12-2011

    Let’s support our County Commissioners who stand up for the majority of the citizens who want this “decoration” at CHRISTmas!!!

  85. Nancy Eddy said on 06-12-2011

    And what about what the majority of citizens want? Or don’t we matter anymore???? These people just need to be quiet and go away!

    • Raf Fak said on 07-12-2011

      We are a Constitutional Democracy which means the majority does not rule. If we were a true Democracy then we would still have slavery.

  86. April Heim said on 06-12-2011

    I agree with James…….There was another incident of this happening in Shreveport where a small piece was sold to 2 women there. No one can say anything anymore as they own it!!!! Pretty brilliant!!!!

  87. Justin Joslin said on 06-12-2011

    No government whether local, state or federal shall promote any one religion. It’s that simple. Not too hard to figure out but people in numbers think that out-weighs the law. Christians don’t even know when Jesus was born anyway. :)

    • Marian Catchings said on 06-12-2011

      I feel sorry for you putting down Christians! You’re gonna have a rude awakening someday, when Jesus comes! The ones who picked Dec. 25th for His birthday, think it was around there, according to Bible teachings. What difference does it make anyway, He was born. Dec. 25th just happens to be the day people chose to celebrate His birthday, although we should celebrate Him everyday!

    • David said on 06-12-2011

      I’m sure that Jesus would say stop worrying about Christmas anyway. Very unbiblical holiday to say the least. Not a single word in the Bible about a celebration of Christs birth.

      • Don Gerard said on 06-12-2011

        Not mentioned in the Bible?? What about the Angels ministering and the wise men visiting with gifts and star to guide them?? Sounds like a celebration of Christ’s birth to me.

      • Heather said on 06-12-2011

        Dude, you need a new bible. Yours isn’t the same as everyone elses. You’re missing out on some great stuff!!

        • David said on 07-12-2011

          Maybe you should actually read yours and not take someone elses word for it. There is nothing about “Christmas” Of course the story of his birth is there. While you’re reading, find the parts about the trees and santa and lights. Be waiting.

    • Amanda said on 07-12-2011

      Justin go live in Wisconsin!

  88. Justin Joslin said on 06-12-2011

    Whether local, state, or federal the government should not promote one religion. Either acknowledge all or none at all. Pretty simple people. Of course if your Christian you make your own rules anyway.

    • Aaron Scott said on 06-12-2011

      That’s like saying, “Of course if your a Peace Officer you make your own rules anyway.” That’s FLAT WRONG!

    • Cord Painter said on 06-12-2011

      Our laws should reflect the wishes of the majority. The overwhelming majority of our population is Christian and supports the celebration of Christmas and nativity scenes. If a person or small group is offended by what the majority stands for, I believe that person should either exercise a little TOLERANCE or get the hell out. I don’t expect the majority to alter it’s behavior to please me and it pisses me off when others are arrogant enough to have such expectations.

      • Raf Fak said on 07-12-2011

        If our laws reflected the majority we would still have slavery and many other heinous activities. Please educate yourself about our Constitutional Democracy.

        • Laura said on 08-12-2011

          It was Christian abolitionists who started the anti-slavery cause after the Second Great Awakening. Is that enough history?

          • Bill Dugan said on 09-12-2011

            Good for those Christians. Too bad Jesus never spoke up on the matter. He could have prevented quite a lot of suffering.

    • Brad said on 07-12-2011

      If you honestly want to go look at the decorations at the city courthouse, then be our guest. The nativity scene is not the only decorations on the grounds. Learn your facts sir.

    • Ed said on 07-12-2011

      You’re stupid

    • Bill Dugan said on 07-12-2011

      Well stated Justin.

      I’ll be dropping off my “angel Gabriel meets with Muhammad” display along side the nativity scene on the courthouse lawn. Later, I’ll be dropping off my “angel Moroni meets with Joseph Smith” scene.

      Anyone available to help?

    • STAND N FIGHT said on 09-12-2011

      To Justin, I hope we are not related, because I am ashamed of what you are putting on here. You should have been taught better.

  89. James Graham said on 06-12-2011

    How bout the County lease all 4 corners of the Court House lawn for $1 for 100 yrs to the people that set up the Nativity Scenes, as the “leasee” they have the right to put anything that they want and the Foundation shouldn’t be able to do anything about it. I’m not sure if they can do it but it’s an idea…

  90. Travis Whittle said on 06-12-2011

    The way I see it, if there is no name, there is no complaint.

  91. Sharon Brown said on 06-12-2011

    This is unbelievable. CHRISTmas is a celibration of Jesus Christ birth. We Christians need to stand together on this. I think everyone in Athens should display a manger scene in their from yard so the nonreligious will have to look at hundreds of them instead of just one. If it comes down to having to take the display down, DON”T!!!!!! Move it across the street and the park area inbetween the banks in the very front so all the Christians may still see it.

    • Raf Fak said on 07-12-2011

      Its not the sight of a manger scene that offends, its the unconstitutionality of that scene on taxpayer funded property.

      I think all christians should have a manger scene in their front yard, and santa too.

      • Kaffar said on 07-12-2011

        Get out of the basement, Sheldon. Your mother is calling you for dinner. She placed a smiley face on your grilled cheese, so you wouldn’t be uncomfortable with any change in the environment.

  92. Angela Hartman said on 06-12-2011

    I grew up in Athens and have spent the last few weeks visiting with my mother there. I currently live in a small town near Waco. For the past few years, there is a church in Waco that is used for a voting place. There are campaign signs so thick you can hardly walk on the lawn. If the government doesn’t want displays of Christian or any other religion, why then, do they use the church for their purposes? Thank goodness that God doesn’t mind them using his house.

    • Bill Dugan said on 07-12-2011

      Actually, this is also not legal. The church, being a tax exempt organization, is not allowed to assert a political opinion (i.e. campaign affiliation). Do you people not understand the laws of this land?

      • Judie Gillaspy said on 07-12-2011

        Bill Dugan, Legal or not we also vote at schools which are tax exempt and in Athens Texas, we love NATIVITY SCENES. so take your ball and GO HOME.

        • Bill Dugan said on 09-12-2011


          As in, you use schools as locations where people vote? So what. That’s a non-sequitur. Do they not teach logic in Texas schools?


  93. Trisha said on 06-12-2011

    Do they have nothing better to do than to belly ache about decorations? These people must not have a family or job,etc. Really! If I belly ached about what offends me (religious or non) on a daily basis I wouldn’t have time for much else. I am proud to say I am a Christian and as a matter of fact, it offends me that prayer has been taken out of schools! Who can I write to!

    • Michael V. Hannigan said on 06-12-2011

      Most of these issues are federal, so I would suggest our Congressman, Rep. Jeb Hensarling. … I tried to leave a link to his website but it didn’t work .. so here is the address

    • Raf Fak said on 07-12-2011

      Really, I suggest writing your local High School to see if you can borrow a Civics book so you can understand what a Constitutional Democracy is. The Supreme Court has ruled on this subject. Why are you people beating a dead horse especially when that horse is progress?

  94. GeriLeigh said on 06-12-2011

    The “concerned area resident and taxpayer” didn’t have to move to Henderson County… they don’t have to drive around the Courthouse either… stay away during “Christmas”. May God forgive them for their non-belief and May God give the commissioners, judges, etc. the STRENGTH TO STAND UP FOR GOD !!!

    • KEATON ALLEN said on 06-12-2011

      Right on, the lights around the square are ridiculas anyway. Go AROUND HATTERS!!!

    • Bill Dugan said on 07-12-2011

      Is Henderson County exempt from the law? No, Geri, it is not. The resident is in the right on this issue.

      If God wanted the nativity scene He would have intervened when the Supreme Court ruled on the issue of separation of church and state.

      • GeriLeigh said on 07-12-2011

        Bill…. not sure why you had to single my comment out to post a reply…

        I will add you to the prayer list at church tonight.

  95. Curtis French said on 06-12-2011

    “[To] insist that government respect the separation of church and state is not to discriminate against religion, indeed it promotes a respect for religion by refusing to single out one or two creeds for official favor at the expense of all others.” Amancio v. Town of Somerset, 28 F.Supp.2d 677, 681 (D. Mass. 1998).”
    This has nothing to do with removing God or Jesus from anything. IT has everything to do with the law. As a Nation we Trust in God, but our government at any level can not display religious decor. This could be viewed as a one sided government who only backs that view. Don’t allow a legal issue to turn into a philosophical debate.

    • KEATON ALLEN said on 06-12-2011

      Well….. be that may. But does the government not distribute our leagal tender, our currency….. the green backs, in which ALL say at the top…” IN_____ WE TRUST”???? Just saying……
      GOD…(for those that just tuned in)

      • David said on 06-12-2011

        I’m all for removing the nativity scene if that means I don’t have to see some other religious scene on the square.

  96. Paula Wallace said on 06-12-2011

    Wow, 17,000 members nation wide with 800 in Texas. We have churches in Texas with more than that many active members. The constitution was found with a religious background only morons would think differently. If you don’t like the scene of our precious Savior Jesus Christ then move yourself. I AM TIRED OF PEOPLE GRIPPING ABOUT HOW RELIGION AND PRAYER OFFEND THEM! WHO CARES! YOU OFFEND MORE PEOPLE WITH YOUR WHINNING ABOUT THINGS LIKE THIS AND RUNNING AROUND WITH UNDERGARMENTS AND BARE BODIES SHOWING! All Chrstians need to pray for these non-believers in hope they will see the light before it is too late. The devil has a hold and we need to pry his hands off the human race. Please don’t take it down and hope everyone has a very Merry CHRISTmas, he is the reason for the season no matter what some people may think!

    • KEATON ALLEN said on 06-12-2011


    • carol tosta said on 08-12-2011

      What has happened to the human race. We are taught to love our neighbours and what has happened to the meaning of Christmas. It is
      all about baby Jesus and where he was born. Maybe if we all had to live like they did back in those days we wouldn’ have time to be so critical and would appreciate things more’

  97. Steve Van Dusen said on 06-12-2011

    Just come try and take our Nativity Scene!

    • Barbie Willett said on 06-12-2011

      We will PRAY that everyone who wants it taken down will receive
      JESUS into your hearts .Life Changing and then you will know
      why we feel the way we do.. Lord I pray for salvation for these
      people and let them use their energy for your kingdom. AMEN

  98. Edna said on 06-12-2011

    The Bill of Rights states that the Government is not to promote any particular religion, no matter what the majority is. So, the display is illegal. Move it to the nearest church. It’s not that difficult to solve.

    • KEATON ALLEN said on 06-12-2011

      I do belive that it also says somewhere in there about freedom of speech. So the ones that erected that scene of nativity are freely stating their opinion. Which is in actualiy a scene of,” WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED.” So, then i guess that would be more of a history scene/lesson. I do belive that history is taught in school… Even though i slept through most of it, I did manage to catch this one. So, maybe they should also put out some lawn chairs so you and the other conserned residents and tax payers can sit down and catch a leason in history. In no way do i mean this in a hatfull or rude way, which im sure you didn’t either with your statement.

    • Sharon Brown said on 06-12-2011

      It shouldn’t have to be moved Edna. Worry about the drugs being illegal in our county that is doing harm on our children.

      • Edna said on 07-12-2011

        It is our information and understanding that a large nativity scene is on display at the Henderson County Courthouse and that it is the only seasonal display on the grounds (see photo enclosed). It is unlawful for the County to maintain, erect, or host this nativity scene, thus singling out, showing preference for, and endorsing one religion. The Supreme Court has ruled it is impermissible to place a nativity scene as the sole focus of a display on government property. See Allegheny v. ACLU of Pittsburgh, 492 U.S. 573 (1989); Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668 (1983).

        In County of Allegheny v. ACLU of Pittsburgh, 492 U.S. 573 (1989), the Supreme Court held that a county government’s creche displayed in the county courthouse was an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. The Court stated,

        “Lynch v. Donelly, confirms, and in now way repudiates, the longstanding constitutional principle that government may not engage in a practice that has the effect of promoting or endorsing religious beliefs. The display of the creche in the county courthouse has this unconstitutional effect.” Id. at 621

        Standing up for the Bill of Rights is important to me!

        • Judie Gillaspy said on 07-12-2011

          Edna, it is not the sole display there are others SO STICK IT IN WHERE THE SUN DONT SHINE.

        • MP said on 09-12-2011


    • Darren Chaney said on 06-12-2011

      We want it on the square!! At the courthouse!! PERIOD

  99. Tracie said on 06-12-2011

    Why is it that the law protects those who want to take Christ and God out of everything how about our rights as believers. They already have God out of school and now this what will be next?

  100. Aaron Scott said on 06-12-2011

    Left-wing freaks are coming out of the woodwork. This is an Obamanation. Don’t you just love the CHANGE! How did the minority of idiots get in control of our country. Usually this kind of think happens up north, looks like stupidity has no boarders.

    Looks like these people think if they deny that God exists long enough then maybe it will be true.

    I wonder if I deny I am fat long enough if I will become skinny? lol

  101. Mary Piper said on 06-12-2011

    all I got to say is you people listen to these none believer s your as crazy as they are . Who are they to tell us down here what to do concerning Jesus birthday.You none believers are offending me as a christain

  102. […] Malakoff News: The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Wisconsin, sent a letter dated Dec. 1 to Henderson County commissioners saying the nativity scene located on the courthouse lawn is illegal. […]

  103. Mattie Campbell said on 06-12-2011

    Christmas is a Celebration of Jesus’ birthday. Christians around the world as well as non believers have been celebrating Christmas for years by putting up symbols commemorating the birth of Christ. It has never been an offense until the last few years. Why take Christ out of Christmas. If you do not believe in the birth of Jesus…that is your right, but leave the rest of us alone.

    • brian said on 07-12-2011

      The government does not have the right to support a particular religion…its the law…deal with it. You can’t pick and choose the laws that you follow…welcome to the religious melting pot that IS the usa