Update: See more photos from the Leesburg courthouse on Saturday, when four new displays were added. Just added: the text of the “Letter from Jesus” that was vandalized the evening of December 5.
Another update: The Beltway Atheists’ take on all this is up at their blog. They are quite right about this: “The NOVA display, like all of our previous displays, failed to trash christianity or to attack christmas.” The frequently repeated sentiment summed up by the opening line of this recent misguided letter to the editor – “The anti-religious courthouse lawn displays crafted by Rick Wingrove and the others were erected for one purpose only: to insult and provoke those who believe in God” – is a ridiculous kneejerk reaction to the expression of ideas with which those who are offended disagree. Disagreement does not equal insult, people.
On the other hand, I do think the author is dismissive of the spontaneous interpretation of the Skeleton Santa by those who didn’t have prior knowledge of its intended meaning (“That the christian community was absolutely wrong about the display did not alter their narrative, that it was an atheist attack on christianity.”) While that statement is certainly true, what those people saw conveyed hate to them. A little more sensitivity to the feelings of such people, even if it’s not mutual, would go a long way, IMO. The Christian community is not a monolithic group, any more than the atheist community is. Unfortunately, some of them responded in kind (trigger warning for those offended by hateful language and profanity, the author quotes from one of the emails sent to the group, and I can only hope that person doesn’t claim to be a Christian).
Does this look like hate speech to you?
Yeah, me either.