"German Nativity Scene" by Andreas Praefcke is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Bethel (CT) Officials Debate Presence of Atheist Sign Next to Nativity Scene

Nov 29, 2018

By Hemant Mehta

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about the situation in Bethel, Connecticut, where city officials have allowed a Nativity scene to go up on public property while sticking to a policy that rejects other displays due to the “limited space.”

American Atheists sent a letter to the city urging them to rescind the policy, but the local leaders haven’t done that yet. What they have done is reject a banner from AA that says “This season, no matter what you celebrate or why, Happy Holidays! — your atheist neighbors” with the group’s logo on it. They initially said no because some information was missing from the application, but everything’s been fixed now, and American Atheists awaits a response.

That means city officials have a choice: They can say yes to the banner and create an open public forum for all holiday displays without discriminating against non-Christian groups… or they can reject it and open themselves up to a potential lawsuit.

And they’re really struggling to find reasons to reject it.

Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below.

6 comments on “Bethel (CT) Officials Debate Presence of Atheist Sign Next to Nativity Scene

  • Hi Laurie

    What the hell is wrong with you?! That Caganer is disgusting. I’ve never heard of such a thing.

    I’ll assume you’re being ironic.  If not, I’m pleased to have drawn your attention to this gap in your education,  and I hope you enjoy the Wikipedia article and any links that it leads you to.  Happy Holidays.

    ps there are even ones modelled on the POTTATUS.   I won’t send a link, it might offend, but it’s easily googled.

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  • O’Hooligan

    was being ironic but then, on reread this morning I thought my response a smidge over the top. I now suspect that in revealing the existence of the Caganer, my childhood memories of the nativity story were shit on. Literally. I think this is what’s called “triggered”. Ha.

    My mom had a cute little nativity stable with animals and the “holy” family and my brother and I used to fight over who got to have it in our bedrooms during the season. That and the Christmas (electric) candles in the room created an otherworldly mystical scene. Apparently, even now, decades later this imagery can be drawn up with it’s attendant emotions. A vestige of my religious childhood. Now though, I doubt any of that holy family ever really existed and none of the events ever happened at all.


    This is the power of a good childhood brainwashing. Decades later, the ideas, feelings and imagery remain stubbornly installed but buried beneath the more recent paradigm. The beautiful Christmas lights, Josh Groban’s version of O Holy Night, A mass at Notre Dame Paris with the soaring Gothic ceilings and beautiful buttresses all come together and cause my brain to twist just a little bit as those old feelings of transcendence burst back to the front of my mind.


    Now I get those same feelings from different sources but I can bring up the old religious ones from predictable sources. I find these to be aversive but maybe others enjoy them in a bitter-sweet way and this might keep them going back for more midnight Christmas services and other stimuli that elicit this effect.

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  • Mass at Notre Dame, yes, I can concur on that one.  A definite transcendental experience.  An aunt took me there, for her it was Obligation (it was Sunday), for me it was Amazing.  She was completely taken aback when I asked if we could stay for another one. (Why, we don’t have to?)

    The difference between that and the local parish Sunday mass was like the difference between a West End or Broadway production and a tiny village school play.   They sure knew a thing or two about Production Values in Notre Dame.

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