Anti-Christianity, anti-Christmas billboard – WDTPRS POLL

I wonder about this one

A billboard in New Jersey is promoting atheism by asking motorists to question certain holiday traditions and to “celebrate reason,” MyFoxNY.com reports.

The billboard, near the Lincoln Tunnel in North Bergen, N.J., depicts a silhouette of the Three Wise Men approaching a manger alongside the words: “You KNOW it’s a Myth. This Season, Celebrate REASON!”
An organization called the American Atheists paid $20,000 for the billboard, which is not designed to convert Christians to atheism.  Dave Silverman, a spokesman for the group, said it’s rather designed to encourage existing atheists who are going through the motions of celebrating Christmas to stop, MyFoxNY.com reports.
The billboard is also meant to “attack the myth that Christianity owns the solstice season” and to “raise the awareness of the organization and the movement,” according to a statement on the group’s website.
The billboard will reportedly remain on Route 495 for the remainder of the holiday season.

I wonder… is this hate speech?  A form of bigotry?  A legitimate use of free speech?

What do you think?

Choose your best answer and then give your reasons in the combox, below.

That billboard...

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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151 Responses to Anti-Christianity, anti-Christmas billboard – WDTPRS POLL

  1. traditionalorganist says:

    I don’t believe in free speech (in its present form). Catholic’s shouldn’t have billboards that cause offense to other religions, and neither should Atheists have the right to slander our Lord. I think this sort of billboard falls under Slander and should be treated as such. Of course, the problem is that nowadays, Slander has been lumped together with free speech, which it isn’t. True free speech requires a respect for the object of the speech.

  2. Scott W. says:

    It should be left to stand as a testament to what human toothaches certain atheists can be.

  3. danphunter1 says:

    Error has no rights whatsoever, be it in the spoken word, written statement or otherwise.
    This sign represents a blatant attempt to push an false idea on the public and should not be tolerated, in public.
    It should be torn down immediately as any display of a public lie should, especially since it a monstrous affrontery to the infinite justice of the Creator of mankind.
    Something like this may be tolerated in an private atheistic hall or home, but absolutely not in public.

  4. rakesvines says:

    What if the billboard stated, “Islam is a man made cult. Leave it now.” or “Homosexuality is a disease.” or “The Obama presidency is illegitimate. Oppose and impeach.” or my favorite, “Abortion is murder ” what will they do?
    And if they can do it, so can we ; rather, so must we.

  5. Margo says:

    I couldn’t agree more with traditionalorganist. “Slander has been lumped together with free speech” is yet another perfect example of the moral gray area of our day and time. The devil is a master craftsman at blurring the lines. There isn’t any gray area when it comes to the Catholic faith and Christmas. I mean, please! Christ is the first part of the word “Christmas” which is how and why we have this “Season” in the first place!

  6. FrCharles says:

    it’s rather designed to encourage existing atheists who are going through the motions of celebrating Christmas to stop.

    Once when I was a student at the former Weston Jesuit School of Theology, a reporter stopped me on the street on my way home from school. She quizzed me about the hot issue of the Christmas tree being displayed in Boston Common. Being a Christian, she asked, was I not annoyed by the atheists and secular ‘humanists’ who said that the Christmas tree should be removed? I shocked her by saying instead that the state or city should not be allowed to display a Christmas tree until they renounced their anti-life and anti-Christian policies.

    Needless to say, I didn’t get into the paper!

  7. chcrix says:

    And who will determine what is a public lie? Our gracious rulers?

    You may not like free speech, but you’d best watch out for what you wish for.

  8. priests wife says:

    I DARE these people to put up an anti-Islam billboard.

  9. jlmorrell says:

    “Error has no rights whatsoever, be it in the spoken word, written statement or otherwise.
    This sign represents a blatant attempt to push an false idea on the public and should not be tolerated, in public.
    It should be torn down immediately as any display of a public lie should, especially since it a monstrous affrontery to the infinite justice of the Creator of mankind.
    Something like this may be tolerated in an private atheistic hall or home, but absolutely not in public.”

    Precisely what I was thinking, Dan.

  10. gatorchant says:

    According to Wendell Berry, free speech is only an absolute if enough of the public decides to uphold it and that it can be destroyed by public opinion. Therefore, if it is abused to the point of public resentment, free speech may be revoked by the public. In that line of reasoning, it’s up to the citizens of North Bergen to decide what to do with it.

  11. danphunter1 says:

    “And who will determine what is a public lie?”

    Christ Almighty through Hiis Holy Catholic Church.
    Civil government is mandated by Christ the King to acknowledge Him as such.

  12. Supertradmum says:

    The problem is that Christ is a soft target, just as He gave up His position with the Father and the Holy Spirit of glory and became Incarnated Man for us, as in Ephesians “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped”. Sadly, the vulnerable Christ is still persecuted. I wish Catholics with money would contradict this lie of the “myth” and put up opposing billboards. We need to defend our Faith in the public square.

  13. AJP says:

    I think the best reaction to this is simply to ignore it. This is nothing more than an adolescent cry for attention. Every media story, every public statement of outrage from a Christian just gives these atheists what they want. Say a prayer for them, and ignore it.

  14. rotaa says:

    In the United States there is, legally, no such thing as “hate speech.” All speech, hateful or not, is protected (with very few exceptions).

  15. suzannaleigh says:

    The problem with demanding that this billboard be taken down is that you also have to tear down all of the “Islam is a cult,” “Obama is the devil,” etc. billboards as well. The moment you put up a strongly worded billboard about a controversial issue, you will offend someone. Someone will look at it and say, “That’s crass and offensive. That is slander.” The question, then, is being offensive, crass, and/or insulting a part of the right to freedom of speech and should we allow it in such a public forum? I think we need to seriously define just what freedom of speech is and hold everybody to it, Muslims, Christians, and atheists alike. Right now, it seems like the freedom of speech does include crass things because I see billboards calling Islam a cult defiling America all the time where I live and no one says a word about it. So, until that double standard changes, the sign should stay.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like this sign. I think it’s annoying at the most. But my love for Christmas and my faith in Jesus and His Church isn’t going to topple over because of it. And if someone’s does, then they didn’t have much faith to begin with. Also, this sign is a reminder that we seriously need to consider what is good and charitable use of free speech, no matter who we are or what the subject is.

  16. danphunter1 says:

    ” I wish Catholics with money would contradict this lie of the “myth” and put up opposing billboards. We need to defend our Faith in the public square.”
    Supertradmum,
    Fortunately I have seen opposing billboards, as I am sure many here have.
    I was driving to Ash Wednesday Mass, I believe somehwere in Virginia, last year and I saw, not 200 yards from a Planned Parenthood abortuary, a huge roadside billboard that read “Abortion is Murder”
    There is hope.

  17. Rob in Maine says:

    That’s why I don’t celebrate New Years, it’s not REASONABLE. PLus, it’s just too darn cold.

    I mean, the vernal equinox is a much more REASONABLE time to begin the new year when the celestial and terrestrial spheres coincide. It’s so PAGAN, so MYTHIC, to celebrate a new year based upon the increate of sunlight in the northern hemisphere. Come to think of it , it’s not REASONABLE to allow one whole hemisphere governance over our system of time!

    Without REASON our entire civilization would break down. We might even have battles on a Wednesday.

  18. irishgirl says:

    I voted for Number 2.
    Why are Christians always a punching bag? I’m tired of being considered a doormat!
    priests wife: I agree with you totally!

  19. JMJT says:

    The should advertise “Scrooge” next to it! Although I don’t quite get what they say is a “myth” (are they denying that Christ was born, that is easily refuted by their own reason (historically).) Or, they are asking to those atheists who celebrate Christmas, why the hypocrisy. Which is actually a good question. Perhaps those agnostics are seeking the peace and joy (only of Christ.) The image they use (likely inadvertently) is a calm, peaceful, beautiful scene of the manger which many (interiorly) long to approach. I think we can just pray that this billboard be used by God for the good, to touch the hearts of atheists. Afterall an image of Christ is a blessed thing. I pray those that look upon it, see past the scrooge message and approach the Babe in the manger, directed by His humble Mother.

  20. benedetta says:

    Another vote for 2. This “Christianity is a myth” accusation I think is making the rounds lately and not just among hard-core atheists. It came up for me when a friend posted on facebook that she sought to follow God’s will for her. A discussion of comments ensued and one friend of hers posted that Christianity was a myth and something that “makes you feel good” but at the end of the day it wouldn’t help you draw closer to loved ones or feed the hungry! I pointed out that Christianity was in fact a major, worldwide religion to which even our illustrious president apparently ascribes. I can’t imagine that it would be acceptable in public discourse to call any other worldwide religion a “myth”. Interestingly this commenter later accused others of not respecting his faith when a younger commenter queried why he wrote “G-d” without the “o”.
    And I see this sort of sentiment, “myth” all the time in comment boxes on my local paper’s online edition, “fairy tale”, and worse things as well but only with respect to Christianity. Any other faith is held sacrosanct.

  21. Fr. Basil says:

    \\I mean, the vernal equinox is a much more REASONABLE time to begin the new year when the celestial and terrestrial spheres coincide. \\

    But that’s exactly when Christmas and New Years fall in the Southern Hemisphere!

  22. Marcin says:

    “Civil government is mandated by Christ the King to acknowledge Him as such.”

    Of course, it is. Yet, it does not recognize this simple fact about itself. It rather is “of the people, by the people, for the people”, with only indirect reference to God.

  23. Genna says:

    Maybe the thing to do is for the diocese to find out if there is a spare board nearby and put up a counter bill appealing to reason as a basis of belief. There must be some clever ad-men the diocese could call on?

  24. Jason Keener says:

    danphunter1,

    Sometimes people do have a right to be tolerated in their errors. We can be tolerant of other people’s errors without approving of the errors themselves. Civil governments simply have no right to repress every single erroneous religious belief, even if those errors are manifested in public. God Himself does not repress all public error, and God said that the weeds and wheat will grow together until the end of time when He Himself will do the separating. I certainly agree that civil governments have the right to repress certain religious errors, but I think we have to be careful to not insist that civil governments have a right to automatically repress something just because it is false and erroneous. There are times when a better course of action is for civil governments to tolerate religious error based on God’s own example of being tolerant of our own errors.

    Having said that, in the case of this atheistic billboard, “Dignitatis Humane” might provide for the civil government to order its removal. After all, “Dignitatis Humane” called for civil governments to tolerate people’s religious beliefs not their acts of irreligion, which is manifested in this atheistic billboard.

    Finally, someone has to be totally in the dark about the historicity of the Gospels, etc., to put up such a stupid billboard in the first place. Christianity is eminently reasonable. Do atheists really think the Apostles died cruel deaths as martyrs for events that never really happened? What would the Apostles have gained from that? Someone should send the people who put up this billboard Peter Kreeft’s book on Catholic Apologetics.

  25. Will D. says:

    Hate speech does not mean “speech with which I happen to disagree ” or even “speech which offends me.” The billboard is stupid and obnoxious, a typical example of the militant atheist fallacy that reason and faith cannot coexist, but it is hardly “hate speech.” It doesn’t advocate violence, for example.
    The best antidote for bad speech is good speech. Imagine, for instance, if the Knights of Columbus raised funds and put up a billboard opposite it that showed that ultrasound Christmas poster that Fr. Z has on the blog.

    Finally: The billboard “is not designed to convert Christians to atheism.” Oh, spare me. Of course it is.

  26. danphunter1 says:

    “Yet, it does not recognize this simple fact about itself. It rather is “of the people, by the people, for the people”, with only indirect reference to God.”
    Marcin:
    Sadly true, and we must pray for this unfortunate error to change.
    If we are endowed by “Our Creator with certain inalienable rights” then our country must logically first acknowledge that it is the “Creator” Who does the endowing, and it is He who is calling the shots here, and secondly that He creates and establishes the rights man has, not the reverse.
    The last time I checked, God never created and established the “right” to believe that which is false.

  27. Malateste says:

    Really? From where I sit, this billboard has exactly the same message as the ultrasound poster Father posted about earlier this month: No Christmas Without Christ.

    It’s disrespectfully phrased, of course, but I see nothing wrong with encouraging people to thoughtfully examine the faith behind their holiday practices. Some people will find that they believe, and some that they don’t. We certainly don’t need more non-believing people going through the motions of a semi-secular Christmas because they think it’s all just so cozy and peaceful and inspiring.

    Our culture’s approval and co-opting of Christmas– the commercialization, the pop carols, the decorations starting 11/1– does far more spiritual damage than the atheists’ hysterical opposition, imho.

  28. danphunter1 says:

    “Sometimes people do have a right to be tolerated in their errors.”
    Jason,
    In private, not in public.

  29. Martial Artist says:

    A vote for #1. As a Catholic I am required to respect the dignity of others, even if I believe that they are in error. I can pray for them. I can attempt to discourage them from persisting in error. I can spend my own resources to reinforce the voice of the disputant to those I believe to be in error. Anything I wish to do to counter the erroneous argument is permissible if it does not inflict direct harm on another person or that person’s property. (All of the foregoing assumes that the disputant with whom I disagree is not inflicting direct harm on another or on another’s property.

    If we are to live in a society that remains free, we cannot use the law to attempt to squelch erroneous thinking which is not a physical orunbiguous moral threat to others. To do so places the opponent in the position of overruling the freedom of religion of another. Therefore, I do not subscribe to the idea that peaceful disagreements, however erroneous the position of one of the disputants, should be subject to suppression of the argument of one side over the other, absent the plain threat of harm to one’s fellow persons.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  30. Martial Artist says:
  31. Will D. says:

    In private, not in public.

    The Mormons have made a concerted effort to spread their beliefs, including ads on broadcast media and billboards. They are in error — their beliefs are completely incompatible with true Christianity. Should their billboards be pulled down, and their ads censored?
    If not, why not? If yes, then who’s next?

  32. swamp_rabbit says:

    I think it’s legitimate free speech…. BUT I DARE those atheists to put one up during Ramadon…. I fraking dare them….

    Frankly, it’s a testament to our Faith that we’re having this discussion and not burning the ****er down. Our Lord taught us to turn the other cheek, and even though we do gripe a bit, that’s what this is. Let them have their giggles. Come Christmas Eve my wife, my children and I will be at a parish feast and then Mass — a 10 pm Christmas Vigil… Choir and all. Let them have their giggles. We know what’s real.

  33. Joseph says:

    in no way does a dog reduce the dignity of a cathedral, if it lifts its leg at the corner

  34. stuart says:

    The proper way to address this rather stupid billboard is to inundate the advertising company with complaints, and to have Christian customers (as well as those from other religions, as this sets a rather dangerous precedent) withhold purchasing new billboard advertisements until the company agrees either (a) to remove the billboard or (b) at least not to do this again.

    If the Atheists of America want to advertise in a positive way their club, fine: “Atheist meeting at Shoney’s on the first Wednesday of every month!” The company should not allow, however, for anyone to openly attack another person’s religious beliefs via billboard. In a way, it would be less offensive if they took out an ad in the paper, because at least that is a forum where ideas may be exchaged.

    Christians, however, should have enough backbone at least to withhold advertising with a company that allows others to call their religion a myth. If that causes the company to reverse its policy, great. If not, at least Christians can go to bed knowing they’re not lining the pockets of people who will defame their religion for thirteen pieces of silver.

    In sum, there is nothing wrong with the billboard from a constitutional standpoint, but Christians should not support a company that allows other to defame their religion. An organized boycott would probably solve the problem.

  35. danphunter1 says:

    “As a Catholic I am required to respect the dignity of others, even if I believe that they are in error.
    Martial Artist,
    Of course all men must respect the dignity of all other men, as they are created in the image and likeness of Almighty God, but this respect of their dignity does not extend to respecting mans belief in error.
    We should respect the God given dignity that the atheist has, but we never repect the error or sin of the atheist. And as such, a Man created in the image and likeness of the Almighty made Incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary and born in Bethleham, as the facts of history attest to,can never support a public demonstration of not only factual historical error in public, but more importantly, public blasphemy.

  36. ASD says:

    Yea, it’s crass. But, it seems to me that it’s cowardly, too.

    Consider: They tell Christians exactly what they think, regardless of how it makes Christians feel. So, do you think we’ll see signs like that for Hanukkah or Ramadan?

  37. danphunter1 says:

    “The Mormons have made a concerted effort to spread their beliefs, including ads on broadcast media and billboards. They are in error — their beliefs are completely incompatible with true Christianity. Should their billboards be pulled down, and their ads censored?”
    Will D,
    Yes, they should be pulled down. Error has no rights and any public display of error, especially pertaining to errors with ontological truth must not be given a public platform.
    Only Truth may.

  38. Jason Keener says:

    danphunter1,

    There is simply no basis for your position that civil governments have a right to repress any religious error that is expressed in public. Individual citizens sometimes have a right to be left alone or tolerated in seeking God and speaking about God, even in public with other citizens. Shouldn’t private citizens and the Catholic Church sometimes be allowed by their governments to work out religious issues amongst themselves without Big Brother just stepping in and repressing the error? Do you know how dangerous it would be for any civil government to believe that it had the authority to repress all public religious error? In any event, where is your evidence that God has given civil governments the authority to repress all public religious error? What if the civil government decided that it wanted to step in and repress other kinds of errors, like for example, the errors the civil government felt you were making in the business signs that you posted in public outside of your place of business? Again, civil governments have simply not been tasked by God with the authority to repress all error, even if it is public error. Public error must be a sufficient threat to the common good before it would be legitimate to repress it. What the common good demands will vary at different points in time and in different places.

    Also, according to your logic, if civil governments have a right to repress all public religious error, the civil government of Russia would be justified in shutting down all public activities of the Eastern Orthodox Churches in Russia because Eastern Orthodoxy is not the True Religion. Not a good position to take.

  39. AnnAsher says:

    They can make this public statement and I should be able to make public statements promoting the Truth. I don’t think it rises to the level of ” hate speech” however it’s diabolical that I would be unlikely to be permitted to erect an opposing billboard.

  40. Dr. Eric says:

    I voted for #2 as there was no “round up those responsible for the billboard and burn them at the stake” option. (Only half kidding.) >:-(

    Fr. Basil, you are wrong. In the Southern Hemisphere Christmas and New Year’s Day fall around the Summer Solstice not the Vernal Equinox (which would be celebrated September.)

  41. LorrieRob says:

    ditto…to comment of Martial Artist…

  42. Since the time of Emperor Constantine there has been a struggle between atheism and Christianity, for the primacy of certain calendar dates. Constantine, upon his conversion, decreed that the old pagan calendar celebrations be replaced with the new Christian feasts, such as Easter, Christmas, etc. This was to emphasize that God, by coming into this human realm of “time”, had sanctified “Time”. Thus the calendar would now reflect that sanctification, by extinguishing all remembrance of pagan feast days.
    So, the atheists are, in effect, correct in asserting that the Christians are not the only ones who lay claim to these dates. It is simply tragic, that 2,000 after the entrance of Christ into this world, that there are still some who have not been Christianized, and prefer to hold fast to the old Neanderthal pagan gods and godesses. And after all, they don’t have too much to complain about, with the paganization of poor St. Nicholas into Santa Claus, a mythical elf from the North Pole. So, what’s their beef?
    Maybe the Christians need to take out a $20,000 billboard to counter Dancer, Prancer, Donner and Blitzen, to promote the Babe in a stable. The struggle to separate the real Christmas from the pagan one still goes on in every department store where the Santa Claus myth is promoted, and Christ is nowhere to be seen.

  43. BT says:

    I find myself unable to vote in the poll. On the one hand, I do think that the billboard is an instance of “legitimate free speech” in the sense of speech protected by law, i.e. by the First Amendment (or rather by the Fourteenth Amendment). However, I do not think that such anti-Christian speech should be protected by the law, and so I do not think that this billboard truly involves “legitimate free speech” in the more important sense. (I support the First Amendment as placing restrictions on Congress but would like to see the Fourteenth Amendment repealed, because it violates subsidiarity. If a state, county, or local municipality wanted to make such a billboard illegal, I think that should be permitted.)

    On the other hand, I abhor the language and notion of “hate speech,” and so I will not vote for the second option in the poll. I also would not say that “the billboard should be taken down” in the absence of a law against such a billboard.

    As an aside, I understand that common practice in online polls is to provide options with these colloquial and common expressions (e.g., legitimate free speech, hate speech, etc.), but it bothers me when the options in the poll are consequently neither jointly exhaustive nor mutually exclusive.

  44. teaguytom says:

    What I don’t like is that they picture the birth of Jesus and the wise men as their image to claim we “know it’s a myth.” NO Atheists! You can attempt to doubt his miracles, his resurection and other supernatural events. History has proven that there was a historical Jesus that was born in Bethlehem. There was also an undetermined number of Magi that visited the historical Jesus. Even the annoying history channel admits of the historical Jesus. Also, the fact that these Zoroastrians followed the stars means that a great light in the sky really existed that they followed. This was also coupled by scientists claiming that no evidence existed of any comets, eclipses happening at that time. So the Atheists better come up with some good evidence other than a baby being born to Jews, because that REALLY happened.

  45. Lori Pieper says:

    I have a great billboard Christians can erect beside it:

    “Of course it’s a myth. A true one. Read C. S. Lewis.

    The billboard should be left up – it will show everyone how stupid atheists are.

  46. Giambattista says:

    It’s crass, but I can see how it might do some good. Christians have been living in an apathetic fog for quite a while. I hope every Christian, Catholic or otherwise, gets good and offended by this. Maybe then they will start to become militant! As horrible as it sounds, maybe the organization that done this should put a few more up. It might get people to wake up! It might even get some people who are driving to the mall to shop for the “holidays” to put Christ back into Christmas.

  47. RichardT says:

    “Error has no rights ”

    Is that really the approach to take under a heretical government? Surely it’s only relevant where the government has the correct concept of what is, and is not, error?

  48. kal says:

    From the good news department, here’s another billboard you all might like:

    http://www.wnem.com/news/25830589/detail.html

  49. JPManning says:

    I was one of the rare number 3′s- I think it’s okay.
    They’re wrong, of course: Christians are reasonable and the Nativity is an historical event. But I don’t think banning these posters is the answer for two reasons.
    1/ Suppressing their poster’s won’t change their hearts. We need to know that people think the Nativity is a myth. We need to know what stumbling blocks are between people and the Gospel so that we can remove these obstructions.
    2/ If we use man-made legal or social pressures to build the church we will build a human church. These tools will fill the church with people who want approval from their fellow men. In the middle ages churchgoing was compulsory in England. In those times the rich sat on their own ornate benches at the front of the church, and the poor stood at the back. It amazes me that they could hear the 2nd chapter of the Letter of St. James and still keep this system. The reason was that people weren’t in the church to hear the Gospel and worship God. They were there to fit in to society and so their hearts were closed. People need to be free to oppose the church so that the people in the church are freely giving themselves to God.

  50. RichardT says:

    Also I think the producers of this are probably telling the truth when they say that it is “not designed to convert Christians to atheism” but rather to challenge “existing atheists who are going through the motions of celebrating Christmas”.

    Surely it would be utterly ineffective as a way to ‘convert’ Christians to atheism. The answer to “you know it’s a myth” would be “I know it isn’t!”. The poster will only appeal to those who already share its central disbelief in the Incarnation.

    But it still seems pretty childish to me.

    Let’s face it, we believe that lots of people’s “beliefs” are actually myths; from Mohammed being a prophet and that the Koran was revealed to him by the Archangel Gabriel, via the Hindus’ multitude of gods, to the very existence (never mind origins) of the Golden Plates of the Book of Mormon.

    We don’t go round putting up posters to say so. Perhaps we should. But until we are once again the obedient subjects of a loyal Catholic King, I don’t think it’s a good idea to suggest that the Government should decide which religious expressions should be banned.

  51. jlmorrell says:

    It sounds as though many here have drunk deeply from the well of liberalism. The position Dan espouses is the traditional Catholic teaching and consequently embodies the correct view of man and state. This unchanging teaching was only recently obfuscated by the ambigous documents of Vatican II, namely, Dignitatis Humanae.

    One may legitimately make a case for why a certain public error should be tolerated, but, as stated elsewhere, one never has the right to disseminate error. Furthermore, the government should seek to remove the error from the public sphere as soon as prudently possible.

    It is also incorrect to state that Catholics should be accepting of errors (false religions) so that Catholicism will be accepted in certain parts of the world. This seems to me to be a novel line of reasoning which lacks any principled foundation. We cannot admit the “right” of false religions to a public presence simply because we want it made easier on us in other parts of the world.

    I’m sure to many Catholics today, the doctrine of the Social Kingship of Christ seems an impossible fairy tale. But this is no reason to abandon the Catholic view of society. In my opinion, we must seek to implement as much of it as possible while under the yoke of the new world order and look forward to the day when it may be realized again fully in the future.

  52. joanofarcfan says:

    They should have taken that $20,000 and given it to the poor, dontcha think? It is hurtful to see the nativity scene on there. They could have used something else to make their point. The “letting other athiests know” excuse is just that, an excuse to insult us. But it proves how rude they are.

    By the way, heard a commercial on TV for Menards today advertising their “Christmas Catalog.” It felt good to hear/see it. Guess I will shop there this Christmas.

  53. Christopher says:

    Another form of anti-Christian Bias is the censorship of the Manhattan Declaration by Apple within its store.

    http://catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=11913

  54. RichardT says:

    JPManning, I think you are thinking of largely post-Reformation protestant practices.

    Yes, a very great Lord might have his own private gallery, but in general in the Catholic medieval period there were no pews at all (except stalls for the clergy), let alone private ones.

    A few medieval pictures to show different social classes all standing for Mass:
    http://pierrehale.com/kiu/i/1/medieval_mass.jpg
    http://www.catherinecollege.net/moodle/file.php/24/Eucharist_Images/Eucharist_02.jpg
    http://media.photobucket.com/image/medieval%20mass/ensignjeremylister/text%20images/577203f1.gif

  55. Sid says:

    Has the writebacker at 29 November 2010 at 11:06 am and in his subsequent remarks forgotten Torquemada’s rack and stake? The Act of Supremacy, 1533 and 1558? The Martyrdom of St. Thomas More? The 40 English Martyrs? The Protestants burned by Mary Tutor? The Waldensian Massacre? The canon Cum nimis absurdum, issued by the worst pope ever? The St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre? Guy Fawkes’ attempt to foreshadow Sept 11? The sack and massacre of Magdeburg? The entire Thirty Years War? The siege and massacre of Drogheda? The entire English Civil Wars? Titus Oates? The Test Acts? Five Mile Act? The persecution of “popish” recusants in England? The persecution of Huguenot recusants in France? The so-call “Glorious Revolution” (really an anti-Catholic reaction against a tolerant Catholic king)? The Siege of Derry? The Battle of the Boyne? The Popery Act 1698? Act of Settlement 1701? The Gordon Riots? The opposition in Puritan New England to the Quebec Act of 1774 (which made it to the Declaration of Independence)? The Civil Constitution of the Clergy 1790 and the persecution of Non-Jurors? The Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne? The Know-Nothing movement? The opposition to The Catholic Relief Act of 1829? Bismarck’s Kulturkampf? “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion” in 1884? The Reichskristalnacht?

    The framers of the First Amendment had almost all of the above in mind. Although the writebacker, I pray, doesn’t wish to bring these things back, still the logical consequence of the his argument is to bring all this back. To say nothing of bringing back the Berlin Book Burnings of 1933.

    Why should Catholics endorse Cromwell’s methods? Why hand Hitchens intellectual ammo?

  56. RichardT says:

    jlmorrell, it’s nothing to do with liberalism.

    It’s the fact that the current government (certainly in my country and, unless I’ve missed something big, in the USA) is simply not going to obey an instruction from the Church to remove public error (or anything else).

    Nor is this about accepting liberalism in one part of the world in order to gain freedom for the Church in another. This is about recognising the sad reality, that at the moment liberalism is the best we can hope for in the USA. Once we start calling for “no freedom for error”, then the government may well agree. But its definition of what is “error” to be surpressed will not be ours.

    Unless something happened on your side of the pond recently; I admit I didn’t read the newspapers over the weekend. Has the Obama goverment been replaced with a Catholic monarchy?

  57. Servant of the Liturgy says:

    It’s crass. This is America. So while it may be covered under free speech, there’s no reason we can’t make noise about it. And noise we will make. Let’s use this as an example in the future of the “last acceptable prejudice”.

  58. danphunter1 says:

    “Has the writebacker at 29 November 2010 at 11:06 am”

    Sid,
    Once again I ask you, if you are going to challenge my words, please address me by my screen name:
    danphunter1@aol.com
    I find it unbecoming of a man that you cannot bring yourself to refer to me by my screen name.

  59. danphunter1 says:

    That is> danphunter1

  60. jlmorrell says:

    Sid,
    Please provide evidence to your claim that Catholics who insist on denying rights to error (and more broadly support the Social Kingship of Christ) “endorse Cromwell’s methods”.

    Also, I’m not sure what your litany of unfortunate events that occurred over the past thousand years is supposed to prove. As terrible as these things were, they don’t hold a candle to what has happened since the Enlightenment and Liberal governments uncrowned and ejected Christ from the public square.

  61. Sid says:

    Error does have a right — the right to be heard. It can only be refuted if it is first put forward in an open forum, with all arguers having the burdens of proof and rejoinder. The way to deal with error is debate, discourse, discussion, rejoinder, rebuttal, refutation. It is to combated with intellectual acumen, not muscular whacks. Light kills error, not censorship.

    Of course the claim on the billboard is wrong and itself unreasonable. For if there is no esse a se et per se, then there is no esse at all. Because we have esse, then esse a se et per se must exist. The problem with these village atheists is that the only reason they can think of is the reason of the physical sciences, and Husserl showed long ago that physical science is not a strenge Wissenschaft. Only philosophy is such a science.

    The real problem is the use of a billboard. People with billboards and bumper stickers for brains really are not engaged in or even capable of Habermasean discourse.

  62. Supertradmum says:

    By the way, would this qualify as abuse? If there is a Man named Jesus, who was born in a stable, with a star and a donkey, as indicated in historically accurate accounts, to malign the Man and the Child, is abusive. Would we call Augustus Caesar, or Pilate a myth? Would we abuse Gandhi by stating that he was a fraud? “Mohamed is a myth” would create war zones….

    And, I think it is up to the atheists to PROVE it is a myth, rather than the opposite.

  63. Dave N. says:

    Personally, I think reason is a great thing and should indeed be celebrated! But the real myth here is that faith and reason are mutually exclusive.

  64. Sid says:

    I join the writebacker at 29 November 2010 at 2:32 pm in decrying the ejection of Christ from the forum. I decry the ejection of the devil from the forum, for the reasons that I listed in my writeback at 29 November 2010 at 2:34 pm., for we can’t expose the Father of Lies as a liar until his lie is stated and then refuted. Heck, I decry the ejection of anyone from the forum who is capable of making argument and understanding argument, who has an argument, who will listen to other arguments, who responds with argument, and who is prepared to yield to the better or the best argument. See Habermas on this. The list of abuses at my writeback 29 November 2010 at 2:18 pm is a rejection of ejection from the forum.

  65. Ed the Roman says:

    I vote for (1). I am touched by the crashing naivete of those who think that a Catholic confessional dictatorship empowered to censor all public statements that it determines to be blasphemous is actually available for the United States.

    We can fire back at these toothache bastidges as well, but handing the State the power to say “you may not say that” is un-American and stupid. Because States get different personnel with different opinions over time.

  66. danphunter1 says:

    Pope Gregory XVI, in “Mirari vos” of August 15, 1832 :

    “We now continue with a most fertile cause of evils by which we
    deplore that the Church at present is being afflicted, that is,
    indifferentism, or that evil opinion….that by any profession
    of faith whatsoever, the eternal salvation of the soul can be
    attained, if morals are kept to the norm of the right and
    good…. And from this must putrid font of indifferentism flows
    that absurd and erroneous view or rather insanity, that liberty
    of conscience should be asserted and claimed for just anyone.”

  67. Martial Artist says:

    danphunter1,

    You acknowledge the responsibility to respect the dignity of the person, but then you insist that it is someone else’s right to dismantle or destroy that which the other person has spent his or her resources to communicate. My reaction to such a response is that to do so is extremely disrespectful—it amounts to saying that your opponent is not worth the time and effort which would be required to refute his/her argument. Either that, or that you have no reasoned response to make. My gut level response to your claim is “Who appointed you the all-powerful ruler of this world (or this nation, or this state, or the community in which this sign was placed)?”

    If you disagree with what they have stated, make the case against it, as Will D, Lori Pieper, and several other commenters suggest. I suspect that Will D was thinking of the quotation of the late Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis, who said

    If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the process of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”

    Brandeis may not have been right on other issues, but on this one, he got the intent of the Founders and the First Amendment precisely right. Your attitude towards freedom of speech might easily lead me to question whether I was right to spend two decades of my life in uniform defending, among other things, the Constitution of this country.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  68. robtbrown says:

    benedetta says:

    Another vote for 2. This “Christianity is a myth” accusation I think is making the rounds lately and not just among hard-core atheists. It came up for me when a friend posted on facebook that she sought to follow God’s will for her. A discussion of comments ensued and one friend of hers posted that Christianity was a myth and something that “makes you feel good” but at the end of the day it wouldn’t help you draw closer to loved ones or feed the hungry!

    The obvious and easy refutation is simply to say:

    No, Christianity does not make me feel good. In fact, few things make me feel worse than having to deal with narrow minded people who insist that it does.

  69. danphunter1 says:

    Pope Leo XIII, “Immortale Dei.” Nov. 1, 1885 :

    1. “So too, that liberty of thinking and of publishing anything
    whatsoever,with no restraint at all, is not a good by its own
    nature over which human society should rightly rejoice, but is
    the font and origin of many evils… for this reason, a state
    errs from the rule and prescription of nature if it allows a
    license of opinion and actions to such an extent that without
    penalty it is permitted to lead minds away from the truth and
    souls from virtue.”

  70. Jason Keener says:

    jlmorrell,

    You are absolutely right that no one has a moral right to hold an error either privately or publicly. Holding an error or spreading an error is, in fact, an abuse of a right, as the official spokesman for Dignitatis Humane explained at the Council. It does not necessarily follow, however, that civil governments have a corresponding right to therefore repress all public error. Yes, it would be wonderful if a civil society were unified in the True Catholic Faith, but that does not mean the civil government can automatically help bring that situation about by repressing every public religious error made by the non-Catholic citizens. It would also be great if all civil citizens were in good health, but that does not mean the civil government can automatically shut down every McDonald’s restaurant for serving unhealthy food. Yes, it would be wonderful if civil society were on the cutting edge of the best science, but that doesn’t give the civil government the automatic right to close down all science labs that are viewed as doing science that is sub-par. Again, governments have not been tasked with repressing every kind of error, private or public, that might threaten the common good. Some errors are better left tolerated by the civil government, so that private citizens can can combat those errors with good arguments, prayer, etc.

    By the way, I am not arguing that a civil government ought to be religiously neutral. As Dignitatis Humane also pointed out in paragraph 1, individuals and societies continue to have a moral duty towards the True Religion and the One Church of Christ. Where possible, civil governments should then give special tax breaks to the Catholic Church, special chaplaincy rights to the Catholic Church, etc; however, even if a civil government legitimately favors the True Catholic Church, as it should, it does not mean a civil government has a corresponding right to automatically shut down every other citizen who is in religious error.

  71. Some observations:

    1. Error does not have a right to be heard. Persons who promulgate errors do not have a right for their errors to be heard. A right of one person to be heard necessarily entails an obligation on the part of the rest of us to listen. Who wants to be forced to listen?

    2. If you take the position that the public airing of errors ought to be tolerated because “who is to decide what is true and what is false?”, then aren’t you really saying that truth is unknowable? If you are Catholic and hold this view, how do you square it with your faith?

    3. The idea that there is some benefit to having errors publicly displayed deserves more careful scrutiny than it is given. There is no basis to assume that an error will always be recognized as such once it sees the light of day, or that its folly will be obvious to everyone: its folly is clearly not seen by those who promulgate it. True, an error publicly displayed and publicly contradicted is better than a public error that goes unchallenged; but better than either is an error that is not made public in the first place. St. John Chrysostom certainly thought so: he went so far as to say that heretics ought to be smitten across the face, and made to fear the consequences of declaring their false doctrines in public.

  72. danphunter1 says:

    “You acknowledge the responsibility to respect the dignity of the person, but then you insist that it is someone else’s right to dismantle or destroy that which the other person has spent his or her resources to communicate.”

    Mr Topfer,
    It seems as if you fail to differentiate betwixt the substance of the person and the error he commits.
    Error cannot be tolerated in public especially if it is blasphemous error.
    By dismantling the fruit of someones public error you are in reality showing a greater respect and outright charity for that persons dignity if you had not dismantled his public error in the first place.
    You are taking a step in the direction of performing, or actually performing a Spiritual Work of Mercy.
    Would you consider it a wrong to dismantle or destroy that which the director of Nazi propaganda has spent his or her resources to communicate.” at a Nazi rally, just because he spent much time and resources on this effort?
    Error has no right in public.

  73. Jason Keener says:

    From Pope Pius XII’s Ci Riesce of 1953,

    Another question, essentially different, is this: could the norm be established in a community of states—at least in certain circumstances—that the free exercise of a belief and of a religious or moral practice which possess validity in one of the member states, be not hindered throughout the entire territory of the community of nations by state laws or coercive measures? In other words, the question is raised whether in these circumstances “non impedire” or toleration is permissible, and whether, consequently, positive repression is not always a duty.

    We have just adduced the authority of God. Could God, although it would be possible and easy for Him to repress error and moral deviation, in some cases choose the “non impedire” without contradicting His infinite perfection? Could it be that in certain circumstances He would not give men any mandate, would not impose any duty, and would not even communicate the right to impede or to repress what is erroneous and false? A look at things as they are gives an affirmative answer. Reality shows that error and sin are in the world in great measure. God reprobates them, but He permits them to exist. Hence the affirmation: religious and moral error must always be impeded, when it is possible, because toleration of them is in itself immoral, is not valid absolutely and unconditionally.

    Moreover, God has not given even to human authority such an absolute and universal command in matters of faith and morality. Such a command is unknown to the common convictions of mankind, to Christian conscience, to the sources of Revelation and to the practice of the Church. To omit here other Scriptural texts which are adduced in support of this argument, Christ in the parable of the cockle gives the following advice: let the cockle grow in the field of the world together with the good seed in view of the harvest (cf. Matt. 13:24-30). The duty of repressing moral and religious error cannot therefore be an ultimate norm of action. It must be subordinate to higher and more general norms, which in some circumstances PERMIT, and even perhaps seem to indicate as the BETTER POLICY, toleration of error in order to promote a greater good.

  74. Martial Artist says:

    jlmorrell,

    You wrote

    We cannot admit the “right” of false religions to a public presence simply because we want it made easier on us in other parts of the world.

    We live in a nation that, still today, operates predominantly under the Rule of Law, which includes requiring that everyone is subject to the same set of laws.

    In such a society, if we must not “admit the ‘right’ of false religions to a public presence,” then they (i.e., those whose religion we assert to be false), likewise ought not admit the right of Catholics, whose religion they view as false to a public presence! What you have just done is completely rewrite the founding documents of the United States, such that the majority of the electorate determines which religion is the “one true religion“®. You have removed that decision from the individual exercising his/her private conscience, to having an open path to one, and only one, state-approved religion.

    Which part(s) of

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…

    are you having difficulty understanding?

    Of course, because you didn’t specify otherwise, I am assuming herein that you are a citizen or legal alien resident of the USA, which might be why you seem to misunderstand this nation’s legal structures.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  75. samgr says:

    The billboard is public blasphemy? Isn’t that what Pakistan sentenced the Catholic woman to death for committing? I’d rather not start down that road, especialy writing as one who has made more than his share of errors in public.

  76. danphunter1 says:

    The billboard is public blasphemy?
    samgr,
    It sure is.

    No one is saying that there should be any corporal punishment inflicted by the state for this blasphemy or any blasphemy committed in America, or any other country.
    Vengence is mine saith the Lord, and we are not the Lord.
    But this certainly fits the definition of a public blasphemy.

  77. Jason Keener says:

    Pope Leo XIII, “Immortale Dei.” Nov. 1, 1885 :

    1. “So too, that liberty of thinking and of publishing anything
    whatsoever,with no restraint at all, is not a good by its own
    nature over which human society should rightly rejoice, but is
    the font and origin of many evils… for this reason, a state
    errs from the rule and prescription of nature if it allows a
    license of opinion and actions to such an extent that without
    penalty it is permitted to lead minds away from the truth and
    souls from virtue.”

    danphunter1,

    It is probably true that in 1885 the common good of Catholic states (no longer in existence today) with a citizenry unified in the Catholic Faith demanded that a government be more proactive in repressing religious error, as Leo XIII indicated. In 1885, Catholic citizens did not have great access to materials on Catholic apologetics, etc., that would help them combat the errors of false religions. Today, it would do more harm than good to the common good of civil society if civil governments were to begin repressing religious errors. Can you imagine the uprising and civil strife that would result in pluralistic societies? In any event, people have come to an understanding that religious error is probably best combatted through the efforts of the Church, not the coercive arm of the State. People today also realize that even if some people are in religious error, many have reached those errors in good conscience and are seeking God to the best of their abilities. People today also realize that it is not Big Brother’s task to govern every aspect of man’s private or public life.

  78. Nan says:

    I was raised with reason but not with faith. Reason is no substitute for faith. Reason doesn’t have a source for its hypotheses. Faith does.

  79. danphunter1 says:

    An Act of Praise and Reparation of Blasphemy:

    May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable,
    most incomprehensible and ineffable Name of God
    be forever praised, blessed, loved, adored
    and glorified in Heaven, on earth,
    and under the earth,
    by all the creatures of God,
    and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
    in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
    Amen.

  80. kat says:

    danphunter1 is simply trying to explain what we as Catholics ought to believe BECAUSE the Church teaches it.

    Others are trying to explain that we have the US Constitution to go by and therefore do not expect what the Church teaches to happen here in the US.

    Both are correct.

    It should be kind of obvious to everyone that the US Constitution is not a “Catholic” document. It should not be treated as a Bible. Must we defend our country and Constitution? Absolutely (thank you to those of you who fought for it in the Services.) But we really ought not think that the Constitution promotes what the Catholic Church, and hence God HImself (“He who hears you, hears Me), teaches about the Social Kingship of Christ and His ownership of this world. All men are theoretically required to give homage to Him. It also stands to reason that all men will not. Their errors are tolerated. They cannot be promoted in the name of US Freedom.

    danphunter1 is correct in what he is saying. It’s just that what he is saying isn’t going to happen in the US or most other countries of this world anytime soon. It USED to happen in truly Catholic countries; evil was tolerated; but it was not given “rights.”

  81. jlmorrell says:

    Mr. Topfer,

    I am a U.S. citizen, born and raised, as they say. I attended public schools and was thoroughly exposed to the enlightenment (and masonic) ideas upon which our country is based. I have no difficulty understanding the founding documents of this country and, just as importantly, the ideas that influenced them.

    Quite simply, I believe that, while the U.S. constitution has many admirable characteristics, it is seriously flawed in several ways. The most agregious is its failure to confess the Holy Catholic Faith as the one true religion and to base its laws on Catholic morality. Just as individuals should confess Christ so should communities.

    Now, I fully realize that, barring a miracle, this is impossible to realize today. And, it would, of course, presuppose the conversion of the vast majority of the population. This difficulty in implementation does not, however, refute this truly Catholic view of society.

    Oh, just in case you are wondering, I don’t plan on running for public office any time soon.

    In Christo et Maria,

    John Morrell

    P.S. An interesting side note is the fact that, strictly interpreted, the establishment clause prevents Congress from establishing any religion. It did not prevent states from doing so. There were a number of states in the 1790′s that had official religions.

  82. Jason Keener says:

    kat,

    I stated above that error, public or private, has no right to exist. It does not follow, however, that the civil government has a right to take on for itself the task of repressing all public error. It is also a Christian principle that God tolerates errors, and we should also tolerate (though not approve) error at times in imitation of God’s patience with our own errors. Christ did not tell us that his social kingship must be brought about through the power of the State repressing all moral error and religious error. Yes, Christ’s social kingship must be brought about, but it must be done in the right way.

    Also, I agree that the Constitution of the United States is not optimal because it prevents the civil government from every properly acknowledging the unique rights that belong to the Catholic Church as the True Church. Also, I agree that the United States government may never approve of any religious error, although it may tolerate the evil of religious error in certain circumstances.

  83. Obviously, a lot of people who accuse other people of indifferentism are actually themselves guilty of ignoring how far Christians are obliged by God to “render unto Caesar”, and to respect and obey the laws of the land as being more or less the laws ordained for them by God. I mean, if you’re gonna go old school, ya gotta go all the way.

    So if you were born in Renaissance Italy, you may not be obliged to respect the opinions of Giordano Bruno. (Although really he got burned at the stake for all his treason and spying and doubledealing through all the courts of Europe, not for his stupid occult stuff.) But if you’re born in America, God has ordained that you peaceably allow others to speak their crazy crup and for you to argue against it, unless it gets all the way to the point where you’re forced to civil disobedience and/or armed rebellion in a just war way. And if Nero is your emperor, it’s your duty to obey him almost like he’s Christ, except to the point of worshipping him or committing sins at his command; and his errors are your scourge for your sins. Says Irenaeus.

    So let’s not open the box of rejecting civic virtue, okay? It’s not going to be a box with enjoyable contents for you, come the resurrection. Finding indifferentism or Americanism on the famous list of errors doesn’t mean the opposite of indifferentism or Americanism isn’t an error also.

  84. danphunter1 says:

    “Oh, just in case you are wondering, I don’t plan on running for public office any time soon.”
    John,
    Criminy! I would vote for you if you did.
    kat, planning on a run?
    You got my vote as well.

  85. PostCatholic says:

    Goodness, it’s one billboard, posing (rudely, I agree) an intellectual challenge (is the infancy narrative a myth?). If anyone is converted by a single-sentence proposition, they’re indeed weak-minded. I’d say this billboard operates much in the same away as the “Come Home for Christmas” campaigns to get people to return to their Christian religion: it only works on those predisposed to consider the suggestion.

    Having considered the suggestion, as a nonbeliever in gods I am going to ignore it, anyway . I love the season and its glorious excess of good sentiment, and I plan to keep celebrating the American, secular holiday of Christmas–minus one level of meaning. If there wasn’t a holiday like Christmas, focusing some of its attention on bonds of friendship and love, the joy of children and family, the beauty of the winter season, good food, works of charity and giving–wouldn’t we need to invent it?

  86. Gail F says:

    I’m not going to address any of the outrageous baiters who are hanging out here today for some reason, but I can’t help wondering if John Morrell is the guy who makes sausages, or if that’s a different John Morrell.

  87. danphunter1 says:

    “So let’s not open the box of rejecting civic virtue, okay?”
    suburbanbanshee,
    I do not believe anyone here is doing that.
    Rather we reject civic error.
    Remember that in Matthew 22 Christ states that man must give lawful tribute to Caesar.
    True as can be.
    We are not obliged to give unlawful tribute to Caesar, and Caesar is also obliged to render to God the things that are Gods.
    By permitting a blasphemous billboard to be displayed in a public area, this state, which its government is supposedly based on Christianity, is disobeying Christs command in Matthew 22.

    Remember what Aquinas said about blasphemy?

  88. Miseno says:

    I think the Church should offer a plenary indulgence to those who after confession and holy communion spray graffiti on these billboards. Its a shame that in a place where there is a majority Catholic population, that this offensive billboard is tolerated. It mocks everything they claim to be celebrating. Shame on the atheists for their hatred and shame on the Catholics and other Christians of the Tri-State Area for tolerating insults on a holiday they hold to be sacred.

  89. danphunter1 says:

    “one billboard, posing (rudely, I agree) an intellectual challenge (is the infancy narrative a myth?).”
    Problem is, PostCatholic, the billboard does not say that.
    It says, “You know its a myth”
    Its not issuing a challenge to believe or not believe, but rather it already states as fact its anti-Christian message

  90. kat says:

    John Morrell and danphunter1, it looks like we are on the same page LOL.
    No, I have 6 kids under the age of 14. My duties lie elsewhere than running for office! But I do vote and take my citizenship of the US seriously, and my citizenship of the Catholic Church even more seriously, God-willing.

  91. jlmorrell says:

    “…but I can’t help wondering if John Morrell is the guy who makes sausages, or if that’s a different John Morrell.”

    I make delicious sausages…but, unfortunately, I don’t sell them in supermarkets or grocery stores.

  92. danphunter1 says:

    John
    Breakfast sausage or the big supper sausage?
    I’m getting hungry…

  93. PostCatholic says:

    Many mainline Protestant faiths do in fact approach the infancy narratives as mythic; many, many Bible study resources call it just that. I’m sure this provides the basis for the statement–which I view as a challenge and not a as a statement of fact. In rhetoric this billboard makes the logical fallacy of “Begging the Question.”

  94. S. Murphy says:

    Error has no rights, but persons in error do have rights – and if they use those rights to pee away $20,000 on a billboard that will only appeal to those who already agree with them, good to go.

  95. Aengus Oshaughnessy says:

    First of all, allow me to say that I don’t think the law ought to be telling people what to believe, and there should not be a modern Spanish Inquisition.
    HOWEVER. Just how far do you think these atheists would get if they put up a billboard defaming Islam, Judaism, or (really) anything but Christianity? Maybe there’s nothing we can do about changing the law, but that doesn’t mean we have to sit back and accept this sort of malarkey.
    This Christmas season, myself will be going about my annual Holiday Cheer Campaign (which involves decking out my old-fashioned wood ship in greenery, making donations to various charities, giving presents to all my acquaintances, and spreading about copious amounts of good will), and, to make certain the atheists don’t have all the fun, I’m putting up banners and large signs in rather visible places. (The church steeple, the side of my ship, the door to the tailour’s shop, the boughs of random trees. . . )

  96. Prof. Basto says:

    I voted “… is crass but it should be left alone. It is a legitimate use of free speech”.

    However, “left alone” must be understood in a physical sense only. We do not have the right to have it removed, and should not deface it in contravention of the laws. Period.

    We can criticize the message and we must do so. In this sense, the crass billboard must not “be left alone”.

  97. rakesvines says:

    @Keith Töpfer: How do you make those quotes go into the yellow boxes? Can you publish the HTML in your response?

  98. Maltese says:

    I’m of the “don’t get mad, get even” stripe. I say next year the same billboard spot should be rented by crafty Catholics, reading: “Jean Paul Sartre and Bertrand Russell are dead, yet Christ is alive; celebrate Christmas!”

  99. Giambattista says:

    Aengus Oshaughnessy says: “Just how far do you think these atheists would get if they put up a billboard defaming Islam, Judaism, or (really) anything but Christianity?”

    That is a good point. It kind of proves the fact that Christians are more loving/peaceful (which we should be) than the others. If a billboard defaming anything but Christianity were put up, all hell would break loose!

  100. The first comment is fantastic. I’d also like to point out that this billboard is not pro-anything. If it was merely “pro-reason”, or whatever, there’d be more of a case for free speech. In its present form, it is simply ANTI-Christ. It mocks God, Christians, the sacred holy day, and all of our doctrines. “Free speech”…maybe. “Hate speech”, definitely. People would riot if this ad were targeting Muslims. Turning the other cheek is one thing. But even Christ upset the tables in the Temple.

  101. danphunter1 says:

    Pope Leo XIII teaches in Annum sacrum, “the empire of Christ the King includes not only Catholic nations…but all those who are outside the Christian faith.” The State is a creature that is subject to Jesus Christ, who has a double claim upon every individual as both Creator and Redeemer.”

  102. Sliwka says:

    Also, according to your logic, if civil governments have a right to repress all public religious error, the civil government of Russia would be justified in shutting down all public activities of the Eastern Orthodox Churches in Russia because Eastern Orthodoxy is not the True Religion. Not a good position to take.

    This is precisely what the Soviet Union did to the Ukrainian Catholic Church, at one point the worlds largest underground/illegal Church.

    I voted 1. I think rather than being rude, it is ignorant. Why do Christians, or anyone of a faith, get labeled as illogical? Are not some of our great Saints and theologians not also great rational thinkers?

  103. Charivari Rob says:

    I’m far less offended by their atheism than by their smoke-blowing.

    Honestly, claiming that it’s addressed to other atheists? Puh-leeze! If they wanted to do that, they could’ve said: “Hey – fellow atheists! If you don’t believe in Christ, why support any aspect of Christmas?”

    Telling us the billboard isn’t aimed at Christians? As if!

  104. Ed the Roman says:

    To get block quotes, use <blockquote>, closing it with </blockquote>.

    Getting rid of italics is apparently not a lay competency here.

  105. At the very least, a false advertising suit might be pursued based on the obviously false claim that “we all know P”. Many of us know better than P. To claim otherwise is just intimidation.

  106. Fr. Basil says:

    \\Fr. Basil, you are wrong. In the Southern Hemisphere Christmas and New Year’s Day fall around the Summer Solstice not the Vernal Equinox (which would be celebrated September.)\\

    You’re quite right. I had a Senior Moment.

    However, my point is that in the Southern Hemisphere, neither Nativity nor Circumcision are associated with winter.

  107. Ed the Roman says:

    A State that asserts and exercises the right to prohibit and punish blasphemy will have the ability to prohibit and punish evangelism when its mood changes, which it will. As is often attributed to Washington*, the state, like fire, is a handy servant, but a terrible master.

    * probably incorrectly

  108. sulldjjr says:

    The “Hate speech” label is a political tool of the left (of Marxist origin) employed to stifle expressions of any kind which contradict the “party line” or any other abstraction leftists deem it useful to defend. This aggressive form of political correctness is nakedly dishonest, frequently duplicitous, and always beneath contempt. As thinking people of faith, we ought to resist the temptation to co-opt such phony rhetorical tools which diminish that which we must defend.

    The billboard in question, while offensive to be sure, falls into the same category as the bumper stickers which read “DOG is my co-pilot” and car emblems with the word “Darwin” cast within a Christian fish symbol supported by two legs. They are expressions of ignorance perpetrated by confused people who cannot positively defend their reason for being let alone their ethics. They intuitively recognize the void at the center of their position, so they can only attack what they don’t understand or can’t abide. Either way, they deserve our pity and prayers more than enmity.

    The best antidote to such childish spitballing is the robust living of the sacramental life in our parishes, an unabashed embrace of our Catholic identity, and a deep and prayerful relationship with the Lord our God.

  109. MarieObi says:

    Well, what I think matters, and then it doesn’t matter. It matters insofar that I’m Catholic and believe in faith and reason and know that this religion is the fullness of truth and that there are actions that are just objectively wrong like homosexual lifestyle, abortion etc…and frankly, I have to answer to God for my actions. Obviously, legalities and practicalities play a role, we are SUCH human beings. …but we are not called to be human beings, we are called to be spiritual beings. We are called to be radical. …and there is NOTHING more radical and more right than to say that you think it is wrong to make such a statement on a billboard or anywhere for that matter, because the statement is indeed NOT TRUE.

    If someone was to burn down that billboard and we’d hear it on the news the next morning, I would be smiling, not thinking, oh no, someone broke the law of the land, that is wrong. No, I will be thinking, thanks be to God that someone was brave enough to stand up for his Father. ..and if so help me God, I make it to Heaven someday, I will hope that God will understand that someone was willing to walk the line for Him.

  110. Torkay says:

    You forgot one radio button choice, Father:
    “*Is yet another sign that the Consecration of Russia has still not been performed, and therefore the world is being overcome with sickness and evil.”

    And celebrate reason, eh? You mean like the Temples of Reason that were set up in sacked Catholic Churches during the French Revolution/Reign of Terror?

  111. Dr. Sebastianna says:

    This billboard reminds me of an argument commonly used by athiests to attack Christmas, namely that Christ was not born on December 25th. What is the church’s position on this? How should we answer those who remind us of this?

  112. PostCatholic says:

    CantateDomine said: “I’d also like to point out that this billboard is not pro-anything. If it was merely “pro-reason”, or whatever, there’d be more of a case for free speech.” I agree, and I think that’s a good reason for deciding it is an intentional insult to a specific faith tradition.

    And I think that’s a reason that, from my perspective as an atheist, this billboard isn’t particularly persuasive. Plenty of non-Christians and Christians (though perhaps not traditionalist Catholics) look upon the infancy narratives as a religious myth, but that doesn’t stop them from believing they contain truths worth celebrating at Christmastime.

  113. Londiniensis says:

    This appears to be a gratuitous insult to – or attack on – holders of a cherished, long-standing and particularly beautiful belief, held by very many, justified by the catch-all “free speech”. What devout Christian (although ready to engage them at any time in serious debate or even proselytising) would insult, say, Hindus, Buddhists or Mohammedans in such a public way on their special holy days? Shame on the hoarding owner for allowing it.

    But where are the Catholic billboards? Too much money spent on supporting Alinsky-type social initiatives and politically correct “charities”?

  114. Leonius says:

    It is unacceptable because it is false and is harmful to the common good of US society which is reliant on the principles of Christianity been held by the people of the US. A society built on freedom will only last as long as its people practice or at least acknowledge Christian moral teaching.

    If the people stop practicing their freedom responsibly in accordance with the teachings of Christ then the government will find it necessary to restrict their freedoms to preserve order and whats more the people themselves will welcome the government intervention by that point.

  115. DIgoe says:

    I said that the billboard is crass yet should be left alone. And it is crass. However, I see this as a suggestion that they do not want to commercialize Christmas as it has been for however long. In that sense, I think the billboard is actually good. It seems these atheists actually realize what Christmas stands for, that is, the coming of our Savior. While obviously I don’t agree with their views, if people know the group’s intention in erecting the billboard, perhaps it can spread awareness that Christmas is a holy time not to be celebrated as a commercial holiday, but rather one for the Glory of God.

  116. mike cliffson says:

    One thing is the competence of duly constituted authority, touched on above. I haven’t voted . Statesside though, are catholics as sheepish as in Europe in their ordinary choices as citizens? I’m a timid and tepid person myself , but in a town where 60% adults supposedly baptized catholics, I found myself in minority of one in a whollypublic(not the uk sense) school,(11through 18yrolds) simply politely and mildly requiring that condom posters be removed from the main entrance, and that the parents representatives on the board take up the matter- and perhaps 1/3 of the people we’d be giving the sign of peace to at mass had kids in the same school- and didn’t want to be counted.I have often found shop managers most amenable on this sort of point. An office manager in the same city where I said that I refused to be served with a poster I found offensive staring me in the face was effusively overjoyed ” I’ve been waiting for an excuse to take that down since it arrived,you’re just visiting, I’ve got it allday, but you’re the first to complain.”And so forth. Not that the authorities must remove it, just I want you to remove it, please. Or my custom goes elsewhere. They’re fast enough at removing christmas cribs and cruxifixes.
    I don’t approve of billboards on any highway or similar , that’s another matter, but the billboard company can be complained to, whether or no, and if they have ANY inhouse rules above and beyond the law of the land, they can be shown up. I always understood Americans were gungho and on the qv on this sort of thing.

  117. robtbrown says:

    danphunter1 says:

    “You acknowledge the responsibility to respect the dignity of the person, but then you insist that it is someone else’s right to dismantle or destroy that which the other person has spent his or her resources to communicate.”

    Mr Topfer,
    It seems as if you fail to differentiate betwixt the substance of the person and the error he commits. Error cannot be tolerated in public especially if it is blasphemous error.
    By dismantling the fruit of someones public error you are in reality showing a greater respect and outright charity for that persons dignity if you had not dismantled his public error in the first place.
    You are taking a step in the direction of performing, or actually performing a Spiritual Work of Mercy.
    Would you consider it a wrong to dismantle or destroy that which the director of Nazi propaganda has spent his or her resources to communicate.” at a Nazi rally, just because he spent much time and resources on this effort?
    Error has no right in public.

    I agree with most of everything you wrote, and that’s why errors must be refuted.

    On the other hand, the Church militant is now more like the Church Supine, weighed down with sexual scandals, liturgy that’s a bad Protestant joke, and a dessicated intellectual life, the consequence of 35+ years of thinking that making friends with those who hate Christ and His Church is more important than propagating the Catholic faith.

  118. ambrose says:

    The Church does not believe in free speech or freedom of the press or freedom of religion.
    These are modernist views that blossomed in the USA and have overtaken the world. They have each been condemned by the great Popes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
    To say that people have the right to their errors, which can lead believers to ruin is like saying that Satan has the right to lead souls astray.

  119. wchoag says:

    Freedom of speech only applies to truth. Error has no rights.

    But it is not enough to merely proscribe a public exclamation of error such as displayed here. The Church must engage the erroneous message and show to all the fallacy of the message expressed.

    However, in reality, this message is being expressed in a twenty-first century, liberal democratic republic called the United States of America. This message is protected by the laws of that republic. If Catholics find the message to be false and seditious, change the republic at its roots. Otherwise, accept that such messages will compete in free market of ideas that mark liberal society.

  120. Ed the Roman says:

    Those who cannot stand that this billboard is not torn down and its posters fined or jailed are free to try to convince their fellow citizens that the government should have that power and use it.

    They’d just better remember that there is *no* reason, *none*, to suppose that the government would always and only use this power to silence in defense of orthodoxy. If there were, there would be strong Catholic monarchies today.

  121. Discipulus Humilis says:

    Even if “error has no rights,” it is to be tolerated when prudence so commands. If the government is at least as likely to suppress truth as to squelch falsehood, its power must be limited accordingly.

  122. LittleShepherds says:

    First of all, there is ample hard evidence that the Christmas story is true and the Jesus is the Son of God. To call it a myth is false and attempts against the eternal good of souls. Like Jesus said, fear not who can kill the life of the body, fear who can kill the life of the soul. So these people are worse than assassins since they are attempting against the life of souls. They are doing the work of the infernal enemy, to lure souls from eternal good. That being the case, it should be treated the same way as if it gave a recipe for poisoning oneself and encouraged viewers to take the poison. It is homicidal of the human soul and should be treated as worse than an add for suicide, it should not be allowed to stand.

  123. Will D. says:

    Ed the Roman does a nice job of explaining why I hold to the wicked old classical liberal traditions when it comes to civil and criminal law:

    They’d just better remember that there is *no* reason, *none*, to suppose that the government would always and only use this power to silence in defense of orthodoxy. If there were, there would be strong Catholic monarchies today.

    Even if we eliminated the 1st amendment’s restrictions on the state establishing a religion, there is no guarantee that that religion would be the true one. We would be better served to do two things:

    Pray for the Conversion of Souls
    Spread the Gospel of the Lord

    We can do these things without tearing down billboards. This is how we must confront error in the world.

  124. anilwang says:

    > “You KNOW it’s a Myth. This Season, Celebrate REASON!”

    It might be meant as anti-Christian, but it’s true.

    According to the Church Fathers, Christ was born in a cave (which is where stables were at the time), not the Nativity Stables we’re used to and the 3 Wise Men weren’t necessarily only 3 (all we know is that there were 3 gifts) and the Wise Men didn’t arrive while the shepherds were there on the very day Jesus was born. So there’s a whole lot of myth around the event which any Catholic would already know.

    As for “This Season, Celebrate REASON!”. Yes! All Christians should celebrate REASON, aka the Logos! (John 1). Santa Claus is a distraction.

    It’s quite ironic that atheists are calling us to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas:-)
    (Atheists hate it when their ads backfire)

  125. Marthgrd says:

    It is curious for me to see Fr. Z’s posting about this billboard. I live in Central New Jersey and the pastor this past Sunday actually mentioned this billboard at the end of the Mass. He recited the exact words of the billboard, “You know it’s a myth. This season, celebrate reason” then he asked us all to keep in mind the ungodly times we live in and urged us to do our part this Advent season to bring the light of Christ into the darkness of this world. A public billboard erected for all to see on a busy thoroughfare directly calling Christianity a false myth is an extremely brazen and disrespectful act. The atheists are becoming bolder with each passing year. How they love to push the envelope on Christians! Someone already mentioned here about putting up a Catholic billboard in response, I think it should be placed next to or just near the first board so passing motorists that see the atheist message soon after see the Catholic answer-back. Perhaps that may be the best way to offer up a direct public counter message of Christ’s love and the true meaning of Christmas in a well chosen few-worded catch phrase of our own.

  126. Sliwka says:

    As someone pointed out, implicitly via CS Lewis, above (sorry I cannot remeber who it was) myth does not necessarily mean “falsehood, or untrue”.

    Myth really is a story or event that can explain the Universe. Rene Girard identifies the Passion as the ultimate scapegoating mythic act. Myth, but historical myth.

  127. lizzy17 says:

    I just want to agree with all the people who said that he government would not use its censorship power in defense of the Church, and add that as someone who lives in a very anti-catholic country that does not have protected free speech and regularly arrests Christians for hate speech, hearing fellow catholics call for similar government control in my homeland (the US) chills my blood. You do not know what you are wishing for. I wish you would remember those of us who do not have the rights you would so freely give away, and remember that governments usually oppose most of what the church teaches and would use this power against catholics, not for them.

  128. The atheists post such a billboard on such topics now since they want to counter the Christmas Truth with their errors, which darkness they actually believe to be light. Why worry about other errors – other religions – when they can attack the Truth? It is a sign of these times of great apostasy.

    The Christian answer is not to tear down such billboards or prevent them from being erected, but to become saints and fully live the Catholic faith in the public square, in spite of persecution. Solutions to such error always begins with fixing self – that is personal holiness. “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ…”

  129. isabella says:

    I have to admit I didn’t read every single comment but I voted for #1 because I think it is repugnant but protected as free speech. I also think they are trying to taunt the people who put up large pro-life billboards and don’t intend to fall into that trap. So I’m going to ignore them completely; they don’t deserve the dignity of a response.

    However, I totally agree with the person who dared them to do it during Ramadan. (un-Christian smirk as I picture the results).

  130. dmhb says:

    I voted #3 because the fact is that it IS acceptable to mainstream culture and I think it is a good thing for people to express themselves. It can only be good for the church to remember that we do not live in a particularly christian country and that we are embattled. We must not become complacent, and the nature of this “attack” is so obvious it is not really dangerous. We can easily respond, as someone above noted, “yes, it is a myth, a TRUE one”, or in some other way. Why do we want non-Christians to celebrate Christmas? They shouldn’t. If they express themselves, it can only lead to an opportunity for conversion, at least it will stir up a decent discussion as seen here.
    To restore the culture, we must engage the culture, and we must engage it as it is, not as we wish it to be.
    Are we simply jealous that the athiest group reserved and paid for the billboard space before we could think of a good message to put up there? If you want billboards to say good things, send in a donation.

  131. Gail F says:

    I challenge this same group of atheists to put up the same board, but with Arabic calligraphy in the background (it can be “greeked” or nonsense calligraphy, if they don’t want to use an actual verse from the Koran) instead of the Xmas scene, at the beginning of Ramadan. These words: “You KNOW it’s a myth: This Ramadan, Celebrate REASON!”

    If they are so committed to atheism they ought to show it. They’re all for standing up to people who aren’t going to be particularly bothered by them. How about standing up to people who ARE going to be bothered by them? Come on, vocal atheists. Show how committed you are to your principles. Or maybe you’ve already shown that.

  132. Alice says:

    I voted for 1, not because I’d allow such a billboard if I were the absolute monarch of the land, but because it is a legitimate exercise of free speech according to our Bill of Rights. I’d rather live in a country where both truth and error had legal rights than a country in which the true Church was driven underground (which would have been the alternative, considering that something like 1% of the population was Catholic in the 1780′s). There is a story that the future Archbishop Carroll told his brother (who was instrumental in drafting the First Amendment) that it was the duty of Catholics to use this freedom to convert the nation. So, let’s get started.

  133. helgothjb says:

    People have made lots of good points here. That having been said, I am tired of all the people who “celebrate” Christmas and don’t even believe in Christ. They have stollen the Holy Season, changed the dates (Thanksgiving till Christmas Day) and turned it into a secular season. If this billboard makes people think about why they celebrate a holiday they don’t believe in then it might be good. I would have prefered a picture Santa Claus (not St. Nicholas) or some other secular/atheist symbol but overall we Christians need to take back our Holy Seasons.

  134. danphunter1 says:

    “PRO-CHRISTMAS BILLBOARD IN NYC

    Catholic League president Bill Donohue explains why the Catholic League decided to erect a pro-Christmas billboard in New York City:

    On the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel, American Atheists has a billboard with an illustration of a nativity scene that reads, “You Know It’s a Myth: This Season Celebrate Reason.” It was erected over the weekend.

    The Catholic League now has a billboard on the New York side of the Lincoln Tunnel with a picture of a nativity scene that reads, “You Know It’s Real: This Season Celebrate Jesus.” Our billboard also says, “Merry Christmas from the Catholic League.” It is 26′ x 24′ and is located at Dyer Avenue and 31st Street [click here to see an image of our billboard].

    We decided to counterpunch after a donor came forward seeking to challenge the anti-Christmas statement by American Atheists. Our approach is positive, and services the common good. Theirs is negative, and is designed to sow division. It’s what they do.

    So after Christian motorists have had their sensibilities assaulted as they exit New Jersey, they will experience a sense of joy, and satisfaction, as they enter New York City. It’s what we do.”

  135. Martial Artist says:

    Mr. Morrell,

    With respect to your postscript concerning the strict interpretation of the First Amendment, you are absolutely correct. That having been said, the Supreme Court of the United States, even before the tenure of “agile Earl (Warren) and his adaptable eight,” had begun to impose the legal doctrine of incorporation on the Bill of Rights, thereby extending legislative limitations and permissions to the States, and extending individual freedom from government interference by the Federal Leviathan Government to include identical freedoms from the State Leviathan Governments. In some instances these changes have been beneficial, in other instances they have been a detriment. I am unsure we would all be able to agree as to precisely which instances fall into which category. As a Catholic who most would likely label somewhat libertarian (although I much prefer Hayek’s designation “Old Whig,” or else “classical liberal,” the opposite of which is “progressive”), my personal preference is that the state’s authority to interfere in the lives of its citizens be quite strictly constrained, excluding those cases in which the vast majority of its citizens would agree involves criminal activity (including criminally negligent activity, which might not necessarily be criminal in se).

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

    P.S. If you wish to spell my surname correctly in English you could simply convert the umlauted ‘o,’ to the fully equivalent combination ‘oe.’ Hence the spelling would be Toepfer. Alternatively, the HTML codes (Entity Name and Entity Number) for a wide variety of non-Roman characters can be found at this page. The umlauted vowels will be found in the lower half of the lower page on that table.

  136. nhaggin says:

    A Man For All Seasons, both play and film, is often quoted as though it always reproduces the actual words of St. Thomas More, which it does not. Still, I think there is much wisdom in this quote, from the scene after More’s “discussion” with the King:

    “And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws from coast to coast — Man’s laws, not God’s — and if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law for my own safety’s sake.”

    The billboard is both in error and offensive, yet it is a legitimate exercise of free speech in the United States. I will not cut down the First Amendment to attack this billboard only to invite an attack on the Catholic faith in return. Bill Donohue’s billboard is the right way to respond: use our own rights to state the truth.

  137. Mike Morrow says:

    I selected the first choice. The display is silly and pointlessly offensive. But many of the responses here are profoundly worse than anything that appears on the billboard.

    It’s discouraging to see a large number here who are apparently “islam0-catholic”, judging by all the openly-stated enthusiasm for dismantling constitutionally-protected freedoms. I hazard a guess that these people never invested in U.S. military service to maintain the freedoms they now discard so easily.

  138. danphunter1 says:

    Mike Morrow,

    There is nothing in the US Constitution that defends the right to publically display hatred, error and bigotry.
    I am the first to call for this abominable sign to be torn down and I spent 4 years in the USMC as an 0352 Tow gunner, in defense of the pseudo Christian principles that this country was found on.
    I took an oath to defend this US of A against enemies without and within and the atheists that are responsible for the erection of this board are most definitely internal enemies.
    This has absolutely nothing to do with your moniker of “islamo-catholic’ as Islam is a false and evil religion and Christianity is the true Faith, and as such She must needs be defended as a pearl of great price.

  139. Ed the Roman says:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Let me know how the Congress can prohibit blasphemy consistent with this verbiage. Let me know how the President can prohibit blasphemy by private citizens using an Executive Order.

    I’m afraid that there is something in the Constitution that defends the right to publiocly defend hatred, error and bigotry: this Amendment, and Amendment Nine:

    “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

    To be very clear, danphunter1: you are saying that the Congress ought to make a law respecting an establishment of religion, and you are calling on all of us to bet our lives, liberties, and sacred honor that the Congress will establish ours. I pass.

  140. danphunter1 says:

    Ed the Roman,

    If you “pass” it is your loss.

  141. Ed the Roman says:

    Call me when 75% of likely voters attend Mass at least once a week.

  142. DHippolito says:

    You know, I wish “Christians” would stop whining about “persecution” in the United States. Yes, whining. You want persecution? Just try worshipping in China or the Middle East, OK? We have the freedom not only to worship but also to fight against drivel embodied by the billboard. Have you ever heard of the “marketplace of ideas,” a phrase that was coined, btw, by a devout Calvinist, John Milton? So stop whining, shut up and fight, already.

  143. danphunter1 says:

    “So stop whining, shut up and fight, already.:
    DHippolito,
    Watch it.
    Did you ever stop to think that many of us are actually fighting?
    I now that myself and many others have today made donations to the Catholic League to post more pro-Christmas billboards this Adventide.
    We deal with blasphmy where we find it and where we live.
    Many of us here do not live in China or the Middle East, so do think before you make wild accusations as your above comment.
    Many faithful Catholics are also having Mass’s offered for the poor souls who suffer in atheistic and pagan countries.

  144. Girgadis says:

    I think it is nothing short of tragic that in a society which tolerates every kind of immorality, obscenity and indecency, people are actually offended by the name of Jesus, or the name of the day which commemorates His birth, Christmas. Still, let the fools have their billboard. A counter-response such as the Catholic League has mustered is the appropriate way to deal with them. I find atheists in general to be attention-seekers so in most cases, I ignore what they say and do my best to offer personal witness to the truths of the Catholic faith. For instance, I cannot fathom why an atheist who is strong in their convictions would find a Catholic blog of interest, unless of course some spark remains that has fueled doubt cleverly disguised as intellectual superiority and detachment from faith. Having to confront such folks on a daily basis should be seen as an opportunity to pray for them, which absolutely confounds them because there is nothing they can do to stop it.

    I saw on the evening news tonight where a Christmas village near City Hall in Philadelphia is going to be renamed the Holiday Village, allegedly because a Jewish child asked his father why there isn’t a Jewish village. The word Christmas has already been removed from the sign. I had no plans to shop there anyway, but now I hope the place is boycotted. I wonder how many people who object to Christmas have no problem making money from it?

  145. DHippolito says:

    danphunter1, with all due respect, I don’t have to watch anything. Bully for you that you and others are doing what you’re doing, and I mean that. But just because you’re the exception to the rule doesn’t mean that the rule doesn’t apply. This is not China or the Middle East; to equate the disdain American Christians receive to the real persecution that our brothers in China and the Middle East receive is an insult to the latter…and just another sign of the modern world’s self-indulgence.

  146. Kerry says:

    Are not these ‘atheists’ just another bunch of lefties proclaiming, “The other guys suck, vote for us”? And why chose the Wise Men and the stable to promote “Celebrate Reason”? I thought the symbol for the victory of reason was the guillotine, and the season it ‘celebrated’ the French Terror.

  147. Supertradmum says:

    By the way, those who keep advocating freedom of speech without any consideration of blasphemy do not understand the Church’s teaching on such freedoms. The Holy Catholic Church does not advocate for completely allowing for blasphemy and has stated over and over through the Popes’ encyclicals in the last 150 years that it is the duty of each State to protect the Church and protect the Truth. The Founders never intended such blasphemy to be published, nor rudeness. I am personally surprised by the poll results. Are we Americans first, or Catholics first?

  148. Michael70 says:

    The christian right has been attacking atheists and agnostics for centuries. It’s so blatantly out there that most christians don’t even realize how offensive it is. Christians are constantly pushing politicians to pass laws to force everyone to comply with their moral codes. Every conservative talk show demeans people who don’t practice what is in the bible. Evangelists constantly berate the “demoralization” in America of those who don’t practice what is written in their bible. People show up on my doorstep saying I’m going to spend eternity in damnation if I don’t believe what is in their little book. The funny thing is that all these “books” people believe in were written by humans, not some supreme being. I personally believe that if a supreme being wanted me to follow his word, he or she would have sent the word themselves and not had men write in whatever they want. If there is a god out there, he sure doesn’t get involved in what’s going on down here on Earth, so I’m pretty sure he’s not going to hold me to some text written by different men conflicting each other’s doctrines. Don’t accuse atheists of attacking the Christian religion. The christians started this, and we are only now vocalizing our rights to not have our lives dominated by other people’s beliefs.