Local Nativity Scene May Have Just Been Upstaged

A donated nativity scene got media attention recently because the Arlington Heights Park District initially said 'no thanks' to including it in their holiday display. It has now been displayed, and is next to a new banner refuting the existenc

Freedom of religious expression. One of our constitutional rights as citizens of the United States of America.

Currently, , in Arlington Heights' North School Park. 

In late November, a man named Jim Finnegan decided he wanted to donate a nativity scene to be displayed in the park as part of the holiday display, located adjacent to the Arlington Heights Park Disrict near the intersection of Arlington Heights Road and St. James (just north of N. Evergreen). 

The problem was, Mr. Finnegan did not complete the necessary applications with the park district, and was therefore, initially, denied. Then, the Thomas More Society stepped in, filed a formal complaint, and a media whirlwind ensued and public opinions spoke, slapping the nuckles of the park district for saying 'no thanks' to a nativity scene, of all things!

Well, once the necessary applications were completed, the Arlington Heights Park District approved the nativity scene. It was allowed into the holiday display officially on December 15.

Just around that time, a group called the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) submitted their own application for a display, and were approved on December 17. , on Decemer 18. 

The banner from the FFRF states: 

There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth & superstition that hardens hearts & enslaves minds.

The reason behind displaying this banner, according to Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, is due to the organization's opposition to religious messages being posted on government/public property. 

"When we receive complaints about nativity scenes, as we did with the one displayed in Arlington Heights, we display one of our banners in opposition," Gaylor said. 

So now, there is a nativity scene, and a banner basically facing it, stating there is no reason for its existence. 

Now, if that isn't an example of free speech in our great country, I'm not sure what would be. 

Letter from your editor, Melanie Santostefano. 

Shawn December 25, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Opinions are like _ _ _ holes, everyone has one, God Bless America
Shawn December 25, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Amanda G December 25, 2012 at 07:34 PM
I cant believe that freedom from religon group, they r the @ssholes. Hey FFRF, MERRY CHRISTMAS and IN GOD WE TRUST!!!!
Kathryn December 27, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Thanks to FFRFMCC for placing the banner at North School Park. As this article states, the banner was placed in opposition to the unconstitutional practice of erecting a religious display on public property: were there no nativity scene, there would be no FFRF banner. We should be grateful to FFRF for protecting the rights of all citizens, believers or not, by working to maintain the separation of church and state.
Jeff Albright December 27, 2012 at 10:11 PM
I love the FFRF. They tell it like it is and just want to keep state and church separate. Nativity scenes are appropriate for private land.
Konrad December 28, 2012 at 03:32 AM
There is no place for noxious language in rational discourse. It reflects poorly on the individual using it, and fails to make a positive contribution. It is evident, based on multiple court cases, that taxpayer-supported public spaces are not to be the site for clearly religious displays. There are plenty of churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and private property that people can use. Some will disagree with that, just as many, and for a long time, a majority (of predominantly white males) disagreed with women having the vote, with blacks having civil rights, etc. As a career veteran, one raised in the Christian church, I learned that our blessed Constitution exists not to protect popular opinions, but to assure justice for all. - Konrad
Joyce S December 28, 2012 at 08:55 PM
There is already too much religion in our public spaces. Good for the FFRF for working to keep the separation.


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