Baby wants a creche!

Goodness gracious, this board may just turn out to be the most corrupt in recent history. The hilarity continues to escalate (assuming that you find the deliberate incitement of costly taxpayer-funded lawsuits hilarious).

After last month’s highly entertaining meeting of the Courthouse Grounds and Facilities Committee (reported here), in which the chairman admitted both to having consulted with “preeminent constitutional lawyer” Mike Farris and that the proposed inclusion of a menorah was only to provide “top cover” for the sole objective of a county-sponsored creche, this month’s meeting featured ejecting a reporter and members of the public from the room. The reporter was told that although the committee has no authority to make policy, and is not facing litigation, they had to be in “closed session” because they were receiving legal advice.

This is, to be blunt, nonsense. I sat in on several School Board Legislative and Policy Committee meetings at which the LCPS attorney was dispensing legal advice regarding proposed changes to the Theatrical Presentations policy. And as the Times-Mirror reports:

A section of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act guide states “the mere potential for litigation or the mere presence of a lawyer at a meeting” do not meet the exemption for an open meeting.

No, the CGFC just doesn’t want what is discussed at their meetings reported to the public. You can understand why that is: What they are, by necessity, openly discussing with each other is county endorsement of an exclusively Christian religious symbol (which they know full well is illegal), and what they must do in order to get away with it. Of course they don’t want quotes like “if a menorah is allowed, where do you draw the line?” or “we have to be careful not to make the creche look too religious” to appear in print.

And here is perhaps the key detail that explains why they don’t really care to have the public know what goes on in their meetings:

A rendering of the display is being created, committee Chairman Clint Good told supervisors during Monday’s finance committee meeting. Students at Patrick Henry College are working on the drawing.

This is a committee hand-picked by the Board of Supervisors on the basis of their shared belief that the county should be able to endorse Christian religious doctrine, under the banner of “tradition.” No other viewpoint is represented on the committee, nor has any other viewpoint been considered. The members were not selected to represent the residents of Loudoun County, period. They are collaborating behind closed doors with their like-minded cronies at Patrick Henry College and probably a few other national special-rights organizations as well, planning and hoping to prevail in a precedent-setting, ideological lawsuit – Paid for. By. Us.

This has gone on long enough. We tried the “all” option, and some people didn’t like it. Okay, fine. Since the “nothing” option would also make people unhappy, a simple county-sponsored Christmas tree, which is not a religious symbol, was proposed. The new board has had every opportunity to fix this mess. If they are foolish enough to adopt the proposal they directed their committee to come up with (ok, now I’m just being funny), it’s time to take their toys away and go with “nothing.” Personally, I think it’s a great loss for the county.

7 thoughts on “Baby wants a creche!

  1. Kristen H

    I know I’m late to the party, but I wanted to chime in. I was the member of the public thrown out, and I was very interested in how quickly the rhetoric shifted once we were allowed back in. There was little debate about whether a menorah was necessary (except from John Mileo, who has always been quick to note that he didn’t want a menorah in the first place). During the remainder of the meeting, the members were also very careful not to even hint at anything the attorney said (even going so far as to start sentences over if they were heading in that direction). It seemed like a surprisingly long and secretive conversation for what should have essentially been “no, you can’t just put a creche up on a courthouse lawn. Pretend you have some common sense”.

  2. Pingback: Offensive holiday intentions – Loudoun Progress

  3. Elder Berry

    Someone put a fork im they’re done. As the inimitable AlanRickman said, cancel Christmas. Maybe now he’d add cancel the Constitution too.

  4. Loudoun's Soul

    The last constitutional lawsuit cost the County well over $1 million to lose, but did succeed in providing Dick Black with a political platform to win a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. The AG has used his office and our State taxes for the same. It is very tiresome to see tax dollars applied to unwinnable legal arguments just to prove some politician’s point. So much for careful, conservative stewardship of the public’s money.

  5. Epluribusunum Post author

    Ann and Rick, if we demand a different solution, and if the demand comes from both secular and faith-based quarters, at least they can’t pretend that they’re doing this at the behest of Loudoun residents. I believe that there is a very large majority that would prefer a simple star or tree – something that doesn’t divide the community. If people show up in large numbers, best case: We put an end to this endless stupidity. Worst case: The board reveals that they don’t care what the people actually want and that this plan is motivated by their own narrow agenda.

  6. Rick Wingrove

    The christianist agenda of the Board of Supervisors demonstrate exactly why we must uphold and defend the Constitutional principle of Separation of Church and State. The christians on the board, and on their hand-selected rubber stamp grounds committee, feel so entitled that they simply refuse to comply with the Constitution, Supreme Court precedent, or consider the rights of the 80,000 Loudoun County residents who are not christians.
    Instead, the christian board is determined to use their elected office and the powers of government to endorse and promote sectarian religion, demonstrating a governmental preference for christianity and providing special rights and access to government, and all that that implies.
    Free exercise is not enough for them. They imagine that their free exercise trumps everyone else’s and that it negates the Establishment Clause. They feel they have every right – and the power to back it up – to impose their religion on everyone else by force of law.
    The creche is a flagrant display of christianism, put up by christians, for the dual purposes of implying government endorsement of their ancient mythology, and to make the point that they will not abide by the Constitutional prohibition against government entanglement with religion. They are marking government property as their own.
    The board is quite determined to put up a creche – one of the 2 most recognizable and unmistakable icons of christianity – whatever it takes. All the other displays and holiday paraphenalia are there to satisfy what has come to be known as the Santa Rule.
    Under this “rule”, flagrantly christian displays suddenly become “secular” and “Constitutional” if there is a plastic Santa Standing beside it.
    What is funny about that is that a Santa Statue is perfectly legal and can be put up without any other displays. The creche, on the other hand, cannot be put up without a plastic Santa.
    I find that to be hilarious.
    The Board should just ditch the menorah, the pagan Yule tree, and the plastic Santa and put up the creche by itself. Then, I think we will see exactly how solid their Constitutional footing really is.
    The Board is hoping to put this controversy to rest once and for all. That will certainly not be the case. By playing this game, the Board is inviting some very expensive litigation which will be paid for by the taxpayers. Of course, if they are truly committed to trashing the Constitution in the name of their religion, let them pay for it with their own money. Then, I think we will see exactly how solid their commitment to theocracy really is.

  7. Ann

    Excellent Post. I agree.

    And, I think if a one-size fits all display is needed/wanted by the community, then all religions and secular holiday people might accept a simple lighted star. This one thing is a part of every celebration. The whole winter tradition was and is about the return of the sun (light) in the darkest of seasons.

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