By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) has made it its business to harass and threaten (legally) any town or county where religious expression is allowed in a public square. While this group of atheists spends most of their year going after high school Bible studies, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, or pressuring hotels to remove Gideon Bibles, Christmas is of particular concern.
The biggest holiday of the year is essentially the Christian celebration of God made flesh in the person of Jesus Christ just over 2000 years ago. While the FFRF does not object to exchanging gifts, plastic Santa Clauses, or Christmas trees (they prefer the term “Holiday trees”), they are adamantly opposed to nativity scenes, or any outward display of religiosity in the public square, which they claim is unconstitutional. As part of their ongoing war on all things sacred, the group has recently sent a letter to Rainbow City in Etowah County demanding that the small town not allow a living nativity to be held on December 23.
At this point, it appears the town is going to ignore the threatening correspondence and allow the Christians to hold their event on December 23 at 6:00 pm, anyway.
State Representative Mack Word (R-Rainbow City) said on Facebook that, “The ‘Night at the Nativity’ is getting national attention! I just received a message from Randal Tatum of Oklahoma that many in his town are Praying for us here in RBC. His town was attacked last year by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Seems like this group, would go after the Ten Commandments plastered all over the US Supreme Court, but they know what we know and that is the fact that they can NOT have them removed! Evidence of our Christian Founding is actually carved in stone all over our Nation’s Capitol. Funny how you will never see them go after these Christian symbols but instead they continue to only harass small towns.”
FFRF staff attorney, Andrew Seidel recently sent a letter to Rep. Butler demanding that he turn over all records associated with the “Night at the Nativity” event.
Rep. Butler said, “The word is getting out about our event ‘Night at The Nativity’ where we the people are peacefully assembling on December 23rd at 6pm in the parking lot of RBC Hall. Hard to believe that word of a community gathering is getting all the way to Wisconsin but as you can see it is. Besides, their misspelling the word worship they don’t seem to understand that I’m also a private citizen who just happens to be a State Rep., and that along with others I am organizing a community event. The city, county, and State are NOT involved in anyway with ‘Night at The Nativity.’ Merry Christmas Andrew, from private citizen Mack!”
In 2014 the Wisconsin based group sent a letter to the town demanding that they remove a Christmas lights display that included elements from the nativity scene. Rainbow City officials took the display down after receiving the FFRF’s demands; but put it back up after the city attorney declared the display is not in violation of the law. The Supreme Court has ruled that towns and counties are allowed to have nativity scenes on public property as long as they are a part of a larger Christmas decoration display that includes secular items such as trees, reindeer, and Santa Claus. 500 people turned out for a political rally defending the nativity scene.
Rep. Butler said, “This Wednesday December 23rd @6pm come Celebrate The Birth of Christ as a community at RBC Hall. We will have a Live Nativity, Carols, Cookies, and Hot Chocolate. Overflow parking with shuttle service from McClellan Chiropractic, Mercy Hill Church, City Church, and White Springs Baptist all which are located on Rainbow Drive. Hope to see you there!”