And? Exactly how many judges have ruled that Santa can't be included in a public Christmas display because only Jesus is the reason for the season?
You mean judges understand the separation of church and state? Excellent
Missing the point. Judges interpret
the principle of separation of church and state in a way which ensures that no amount of Christians complaining that "Jesus is the reason for the season" will result in legal action forcing people to comply with their view. On the other hand, that same interpretation does allow for even a small number of Atheists complaining about some religious thing on public land to result in legal action forcing people to comply with their view.
Which is why we can't compare them equally. It's not a balanced situation with each side having the same ability to influence outcomes.
Why? Public land, paid for by the taxpayers in the area. Maybe we should ask them what they want instead of letting a tiny percentage of people with sticks up their rears decide instead?
Because public lands are governed by public laws which generally fall against religious displays of whatever nature on government property.
Um... No, they don't generally do so. There are likely very very few actual public laws banning religious displays on government property. That's why the lawsuits are necessary. For most of the history of this nation we had absolutely no problem with such things. But somewhere along the line the 1st amendment got re-interpreted to assume that nothing which is funded by any amount of government dollars may have religious stuff involved. We can debate that interpretation if you want, but you have to at least agree that we didn't always interpret it that way.
Pretending that the law has always been applied that way is absurd. It quite obviously has not. So it's circular to defend that change by simply saying that's what the law says. The words in the 1st amendment haven't changed Joph. The interpretation
of them have. It's a total cop out to just say "well, that's the law!" and leave it at that.
So why not allow them on public land?
That's not an answer.
And while hypothetical, doesn't that create questions as to what constitutes "public land"? What if the city owns the land and leases it to the businesses in the mall? Can they have a nativity scene then?
I'll let the judge worry about that.
And what will you do when he decides that they can't? So for you there's no principle or opinion of your own? Just whatever a judge decides is ok? That seems more than a little apathetic. What happens when judges start ruling in ways you absolutely think are wrong? Do you just sit silently and go along with it?
True. Eventually you get to the point of saying Santa is no different from Jesus in terms of religious implications...
I didn't say that. I said that religion was the only difference (within the context of displays on public land), thus supporting the argument that treating them differently had nothing to do with protecting the public from public displays of things that can't be show to exist, but that it's solely about preventing those things only when they are part of someone's religious belief. That you can't see why this is relevant really does surprise me.
The relevant portion of the first amendment prevents religious institutions from having special treatment by the government within the boundary of law. It means that religion has to be treated the same as everything else. So if you allowed displays related to the religious aspects of Christmas, but did not allow any that were non-religious in nature (like Santa, Rudolf, Frosty, etc), then you would be in violation of the 1st amendment. The flip side is true as well though. If you allow other displays, you can't bar the presence of religious displays.
The assumption behind this is that not everyone believes in a given religion, so promoting something they don't believe in is unfair to them, and spending public money to do so is unfair to them as well. That is why we don't allow it. It's not about protecting them from exposure, but ensuring that they have a choice to avoid exposure and are not being required to pay for said exposure. But if you are promoting other things that people don't believe are true (like Santa, or Rudolf, or Frosty), you must follow the same rules. Allowing one, while disallowing the other is inconsistent. Doing so because of the religious nature (or lack thereof) is unconstitutional.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, our courts started ruling that the establishment clause simply banned any religious thing from being present on/in anything funded by public money. It's a somewhat ridiculous interpretation, but once it got started the precedent kept being followed and expanded, step by step, until today we justify something which is in complete violation of the 1st amendment while claiming to be upholding it. Judges look at past rulings and rarely ever really stop and look at the source law. I understand why they do this, but in this case it creates a completely backwards result. We've gotten so far from the original meaning of the law that the rulings don't make any sense except that they are in accordance with past rulings
We're already well down that slippery slope. It's just a shame that so many people (like you) blindly accept the rulings of judges rather than bother to think about what the law actually says and how it ought to be applied. There is absolutely no reason why a nativity scene should be barred from a public park where other non-religious displays are allowed. None at all.