Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Nativity Story

GB Nativity SceneWhatever you happen to call this time of year -- Christmas, Winter Solstice, Yule, etc. -- it is supposed to be a season of reflection and reconnection with family and friends. But if you live in Northeast Wisconsin you're aware of a debate dividing people and fanning tempers.

That debate is over a nativity scene placed atop of Green Bay's City Hall. Alderman Chad Fradette, as a sign of solidarity with a town in Northern Wisconsin that has taken some heat for their nativity display, chose to put the Christian symbol up to the exclusion of every other faith in the area. When confronted by the opposition, specifically a Madison chapter of the group "Freedom From Religion", Fradette exclaimed he didn't want their "Madison values" in Green Bay. Hmmm, I think those Madison values are also those of the Founding Fathers. Bare in mind this is from a guy who bemoaned the idea of some people wanting him to check his religion at the door when legislating.

Moving on. As a compromise the city's Mayor, Jim Schmitt, opened the door to all displays. First to join the manger was a Wiccan Wreath, which was soon vandalized. A peace sign was scheduled to be set over City Hall too but never made it. That's because concerned citizen and community activist, Wendy Corriel, arrived at City Hall with a cross wrapped in the American flag, representing the merging of Church and State. Mayor Schmitt accosted Corriel proclaiming that he "ran the city" -- clearly Schmitt's "decider" moment -- to which Corriel promptly corrected him saying "No the people run this city sir, the people run this city."

The Green Bay Aldermen held a meeting to enact a few guidelines. They split with a 6-6 vote with the Mayor breaking the tie in favor of keeping the nativity scene, and only the nativity scene, up through December 26th. According to Corriel the proceedings were nothing short of an embarrassment to the democratic process. One member said he wasn't an expert on the Constitution; another, Guy Zima, debased Wicca and said "they [every religion other than Christianity] are just trying to push their views on everyone."

I'll pause for a moment and let you absorb the irony.

These charlatans are running Green Bay. It's astonishing they can even feed themselves. I mean at least learn the principle document the country's laws are based on before running for public service. Ms. Corriel is about to rightly file a lawsuit against the city as it is in violation of the Establishment Clause. It's just her way of wishing Fradette, Schmitt, Zima and the rest a very merry Christmas.

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