Atheists Demand Changes to City Nativity Scene
Local News - Newsmakers
Written by Millbank Daily-Weekly   
Saturday, 22 December 2012 09:37

Millbank NativityBowing to pressure from a shadowy group of atheists, the Millbank City Council voted to alter the nativity scene that sits on the City Hall lawn. The nativity scene, built by famous local artist Fern Goodbrush, has been a city Christmas tradition for 78 years. Until this year, Millbank authorities say, there has never been a complaint about it.

However, after the nativity scene was placed on the lawn, the city received a letter addressed to "The Man." The letter was from the Millbank Atheist Club, a group Councilman Gary Shanks said the city did not even know existed.

The letter, written in pencil on college-rule lined paper demanded changes to the nativity scene "to make all this Christmas stuff totally fair to everyone." The Club said if demands weren't met, they would "sue the city so hard it hurts."

Recognizing the dark power and litigious nature of atheists, the City Council convened an emergency meeting. They voted to act swiftly and avert any legal action. Councilman Gary Shanks said, "Needless to say, the city cannot afford to be sued, especially not so hard."

The Council distributed an open invitation to the Millbank Atheist Club to meet to discuss the demands. However, no Club members attended. The City could not identify the Club's members and the letter was only signed with a capital A inside a circle, which is assumed to be the club's logo.

"That's the way atheists are," Mr. Shanks told the Millbank Daily-Weekly. "They travel by night and keep a low profile, only popping out to ruin Christmas for everyone."

Absent a discussion, the City Council used its best judgment in addressing the demands of the Club. The Council voted to compromise by adopting some demands but not others and hoped that would appease the anonymous protesters. The City agreed to switch the baby Jesus for a Mr. Peanut statue. They also placed a sash on a wise man that reads "SWAG." The Council chose not place a speech bubble over Joseph that reads, "I'm a big butt and I smell like butt," or to give the Virgin Mary an anchor tattoo and can of malt liquor.

"We hope this compromise satisfies the atheists," said Mr. Shanks. "We have not heard from them again. We saw what happened in Chesterburgh Point last year." He was referring to an atheist group's successful lawsuit to remove the Ten Commandments from The Prophet Moses City Park. "We were afraid this could happen and we always want to please everyone."

In fact, he said, the city was so aware of the potential for complaints about separation between church and state that, earlier this year, teachers at Millbank High School used the Chesterburgh Point case as a teaching lesson in civics class. According to Mr. Shanks, the discussion spurred interest from students who normally are considered below-average.

Mr. Shanks also said that this year's nativity scene has received many more visitors than in previous years, especially from high school students with cameras. Also, vandalism of the scene is much lower than in previous years.

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Last Updated on Saturday, 22 December 2012 11:04
 

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