If you haven’t been paying attention to Rock Beyond Belief, you’ve been missing out on the saga of the Fort Bragg holiday display. It started as a Christmas display, of course.
Travis Air Force Base is displaying inappropriate religious decorations, including a Nativity scene. The displays are not even near a chapel, though that would still be unlawful. These decorations were recently expanded to include a Jewish display, clearly an effort to claim ‘all sides would be represented’.
Staff Sergeant Dan Rawlings is an atheist stationed at Travis. Rawlings contacted American Atheists about putting up an Atheist-themed display as well. The display was intended to go up next to the Nativity Scene and the token Jewish Menorah. Justin Griffith, the Military Director at American Atheists offered to provide and pay for an equivalent display for Staff Sergeant Rawlings to submit.
I’m sure you can guess how welcome the atheist display was…until the press releases started coming out.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation had been fighting the illegal Nativity Scene / token Menorah display since even before Staff Sergeant Rawlings contacted American Atheists. Mikey Weinstein, President of MRFF, says the Nativity (crime) Scene, and token Menorah still need to go.
And Mikey is absolutely right. Due to the fact that the base was only willing to actually be pluralistic when the media came around, this new sign does not fix their discrimination. Nor does it remotely come close to making this constitutional. If people are worried about preserving the ‘holiday card’ tradition, they better start calling Travis Air Force Base and demand they remove the Nativity (crime) Scene and Menorah.
But welcome doesn’t mean uncensored, doncha know.
This sign was at first banned by the chaplaincy. Then the media and legal attention made them reverse their decision a few days later. Now they want the (already printed) sign to be changed – once again moving the goalpost.
They correctly assume that this thing will be in many newspapers, as the brave local atheist Staff Sergeant Dan Rawlings champions it. They must surely be thinking about how much free publicity the atheist community at Travis is going to get. They can’t have any of that, so the facebook URL must be covered up with tape!
Now the sign is up, with tape in place, so the whole story is over, right? Wrong.
Dan Rawlings just let me know that he has already had to set up anti-vandalism watch efforts.
I went and reinforced our sign yesterday after the chaplain expresses his concern about it’s potential vandalism… I noticed driving to work today, that someone had moved my light, so that it lit up the card next to us instead. Can everybody help me keep an eye on it, and if the light gets moved again, just take a minute and reset it?
All it says is “Have a safe holiday season.” The fight against it is absurd.
Absurd indeed. This has all happened in under a week. What happens tomorrow?