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.