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Houston County Courier - Local News

Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company

Residents vow to protect, defend nativity scene at county courthouse
Houston County Courier

By Lynda Jones

Area residents this week pledged to protect and defend the nativity scene at the Houston County Courthouse in Crockett. Feelings of anger and outrage, coupled with sentimental memories and expressions of Christian faith, were expressed after citizens heard the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent the county a written objection to the exhibit last week. The Wisconsin-based organization also expressed interest in the cypress tree on the northwest corner of the courthouse lawn. In its letter to former County Judge R. C. “Chris” von Doenhoff, the FFRF made an open records request for any written documents outlining the process for obtaining permission to erect private displays on public property as well as any written document permitting the use of the public space for the nativity display. Crockett Downtown Beautification Corp. (CDBC) President Juanita Brenner explained the history of the cypress tree. She said that when von Doenhoff was judge, in an earlier term, before former County Judge Lonnie Hunt took office, they discussed Soon after the Houston County Courier posted news of the objection made by the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation to the nativity scene at the Houston County Courthouse in Crockett, residents began posting responses on our Facebook page. Since these are not “Letters to the Editor”, we are not publishing the names. We do, however, feel the following comments warrant publication. We encourage our readers to write “Letters to the Editor” on the topic. You also can respond directly to the Freedom From Religion Foundation at: Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. P. O. Box 750 Madison, WI 53701 Phone: 608-256-8900 Fax: 608-204-0422 Their website is www. ffrf.org. If you respond directly to the FFRF, please do so in a respectful manner. •Run them out on a rail. •I’m tired of these groups infringing on my rights. I would like to have a sit down with a spokesperson. Of one of these groups. •If the person does not like it all he needs to do is just do not look at it or do not go on the square. It’s just that simple. the courthouse lawn for years and have had no complaints. So what is the difference? The Nativity Scene is representative of a time of Peace and goodwill toward men and the lighted tree is just plain pretty and fits in with all the decoration of downtown. I guess next they will want to get rid of all the decorations on the courthouse. I do not know if the complaints were from Houston County or if this was one of those groups that drive through and just want to cause trouble. The complainers do not have the courage to express their objections in a letter to the editor or bring it up at a council meeting. Instead they call on an activist organization that’s out of Wisconsin. We the residents of Houston County own that courthouse and if we the people are Ok with it then we have the right to have it there. As far as being Constitutional there is nothing in the Constitution that separates Church and State. This has been a misconception of many years. Our Constitution states, Amendment 1: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or “prohibiting” the Free exercise therof, or abridging the freedom of speech . . . . The Nativity Scene does nothing to infringe on anyone’s right, and it really does not hurt anyone so what is the problem? If they disagree with the lighted tree then they need to call the White House and tell the President of the United States that he has to take down all 25 of the lighted and decorated trees in the White House, that Congress cannot have prayer before sessions begins as both houses do this. Check your history. The first Bible (in the United States) was printed by our very own Government, they had different church services in the Capitol and our Constitution was based on Biblical beliefs that Freedom is an unalienable right endowed by their Creator and the purpose of Government is to secure these rights not take them away. The county does not pay for this, as it is sponsored by individual groups. This is a tradition that has been around a long time, and I cannot understand why it would offend someone just because it is a Nativity Scene or a decorated tree, that just represents a time of year that reminds us that we should have goodwill toward our fellow man and be thankful for what we have and a time of sharing with one another the joys of this season. Why would anyone object to a decorated tree? What ever happened to majority rule? We here in Houston County have lived here, (many) were born here, for many years, and we have all gotten along pretty well. We have a few disagreements but we work it out instead of trying to push our beliefs on everyone else and as a community we all give a little and so far we have had no major uprises. “The Liberty enjoyed by the people od these states of worshiping almighty God agreeably to their consciences, is not only among the choicest of their blessings, but also of their rights”: George Washington Barbara LaRue Austonio


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