What a distraction. With all that is going on in the county a controversy has exploded over a bunch of plastic figures on the courthouse lawn. This type of argument has been repeated all over the country during the last few decades and has usually resulted in the display being removed or significantly modified.
The problem the ACLU and Kings College student Justin Vacula have with it is that is bought and paid for with government money and contend that it is a violation of the establishment clause of the first amendment.
Until the 1980's the courthouse did not have a Christmas/Hannukah display but the Commissioners at the time Frank Trinisewski, Frank Crossin Jr. and Jim Phillips decided to put one up daring someone to sue them over it. I'm surprised that no one has until now.
A work around is to include secular symbols such as Frosty the Snowman and Reindeer and recognize other religions including the Buddha, Shiva and maybe a replica of Stonehenge. My favorite is adding a Festivus Pole and a big bowl of pasta to recognize the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
I'm actually disappointed that the Baby Jesus got the boot because Jesus was known to keep company with thief's, whores and publicans. There is not a better place to find them.
My friend Renee has organized a protest on Sunday. I won't be able to make it because the Eagles are playing the 49er's at the same time.
Event: Protest the ACLU! Save our Nativity Scene and Menorah!
Start Time: Sunday, December 20 at 1:00pm
End Time: Sunday, December 20 at 2:00pm
Where: Luzerne County Courthouse steps (200 North River Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA, 18702)
I think Justin, the ACLU and those against the ACLU really need to get a real life. A college student who has never done anything, a group who loves to sue and a bunch of publicity hounds.
Who cares if this thing is up or not. There are young men and women dying in a stupid ass war. My guess is the King's college student isn't in the military and never will be so he gets worked up over figurines.
Keep it down put it back up. I still have to provide for my family.
What a bunch of *(&^kwads on both sides.
The law is 100% on the side of keeping it up. The reason it comes down is often because of ignorance on the part of leadership. They'd often rather cave than fight for what is right, and they just assume that it is illegal. They are wrong.
Anyone (to include Steve Urban) who do not fight to keep this need to be removed along with the nativity set.
So now a bunch of Luzerne County Officials get to stay, but Jesus has to go?
In January we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. - put up a picture of MLK...no big deal.
In December we celebrate the birthday of Jesus - put up a nativity...no big deal.
The point is this: even if you are a young uninformed athiest college kid, you have to acknowledge that Jesus had a big impact on our country and Dec is when we celebrate his birthday. Deny the deity, that is up to you. However, it is a federal holiday; it's his birthday, celebrate it. This kid must have very little to do with his life.
This is a debate that muddles real issues. It is a distraction. Some wuss college kid gets offended, some wuss official decides okay take it down.
I am all for none of these displays. Let us stop being distracted and spending money on stupidity.
NOTHING goes up on public property period. Government should try something novel. Fucking Governing.
The law is actually on the side of it coming DOWN. That's why they took it down. If the law was on their side, they would've kept it up.
And Justin did accomplish something. He got the nativity scene taken down and he's pissing off all of you so-called "loving" Christians.
Thanks Justin, now we get a distraction from Skrep. Are you a friend of his?
Femaile is correct.
NO holiday displays. NO pictures, NO figures, NO decorations.
Congrats on getting publicity and some increase traffic to your little blog.
Justin does not believe in God or Christ and yet he attends a Catholic College . WOW what a freak of nature this a**wipe truly is. Sure does look like he only needs a little attention sent his way. Maybe his mommy didn't breast feed him and he lacks motherly love. Good Luck kid, if this is how you will spend the rest of your life without faith then the law will surly pass you by also. Law is based in faith.
Atheism is alive and well in Luzerne County, just look at what's going on.
Is Luzerne County a shithole or what?
Wow look at all the loving Christians being so hateful. Laws are not based on faith. They are based on human reasoning. If they were based on faith then...the law would be much stricter if we followed biblical law.
human reasoning in luzerne county? holy shit we are fucked up the ass without any lube.
Even President Obama, the most liberal president this great nation has had to date, was sworn in using "The Bible". So if "The Bible" is ok, why aren't the decorations. Government offices all observe Christmas as a holiday, so what's next, complain to the ACLU that they should work that day?
great 12:00 let's put them back to work. why pay a day's wages for no work! but if we held them back 1/2 of the day's pay they would think themselves ill used.
It's crazy so many commenters are interested in foisting their religious values on everybody else. Regardless, your post is very informative. There is NO WAY a government should spend money on a religion. That's a horrific breach of the Constitution, whatever these ignorant posters say.
Tom @ NEPArtisan
First of all, does Justin pay taxes in this county or is he just here for his education?
I pay taxes. I am not a bigot. I do not get "distracted" by a symbol of a religion other than mine on government property.
Apparently Justin hasn't learned what bigotry is yet since his beliefs have let him to this complaint. His intolerance has made him complain. Not his "concern for the law".
The Constitution states there will be no state sponsored religion.
I'm so sick of "separation of church and state" being thrown around. It states I can live in this country and practice any religion.
Justin is entitled to his opinion is are the rest of you but the "law" you are all speaking of is not on his side.
I think a lot of people have gotten the wrong spin on this.
I believe someone from ACLU called in to WILK earlier today and said that they didn't have an issue with the Nativity per se, but instead in that there was ONLY a Nativity scene there. This is government promoting Christianity and only Christianity.
They cited an example, of instead having a general winter and holiday display of a Nativity scene along with other winter holiday themes like snowmen, reindeer, a menorah and so on - as being more reflective of the general winter holiday theme and not promoting Christianity over other religions.
But no, instead people will get belligerent and protest, instead of maybe just simply putting some other holiday stuff up in addition to the Nativity.
Seems idiotic and counterproductive to me.
It's a RELIGIOUS only display on GOVERNMENT property. A big NO NO. What's there to understand? Add some SECULAR components and everyone will be happy. I can't believe so many folks are torked off over this and not that our elected school board and county officials have sucked them dry through mis-management and abuse of their tax dollars. You can bone me all you want for my money but don't f#$k with my baby jesus.
With everything going on in Luzerne County, what gets some folks protesting? Why a plastic Jesus.
I'm thinking there is a larger message in all of this.
It was not a religious-only display on government property, there was a nativity scene, a menorah, a snowman, wreaths... What more can a person ask for? Also, I'd like to point out that the Luzerne County Courthouse encouraged people of all beliefs and groups to add their own symbols to the lawn, because they DO support all religions (or lack thereof)
And I think it's hilarious that Justin Vacula attends King's College... CONGREGATION OF THE HOLY CROSS but claims he is an Athiest... And I absolutely don't buy that this "isn't about his intolerance", he's so against this because it is "unlawful"
I'm guessing - judging by his post in his blog complaining that his little group wasn't mentioned in the article that he did this just for the publicity.
It's sad that people can't just STFU sometimes. The nativity scene has been up for over 20 years. It's bothering you THAT much?? Get a life. Put some of your time and effort and sue-happiness to a more worthy cause than upsetting some Catholics because that's not very hard.
To 'Anonymous' at 8:28PM, The photo posted does not depict any of those other secular items you cite, it ONLY shows a nativity scene, making it religious-only.
There was a menorah. The snowman was small and far off in the corner. In order for the display to be okay legally then the secular holiday displays needed to be closer to the religious ones.
I don't see a lot of Jews getting upset about this? Have there been? Seems just to be the Christians.
A young Kings College lady called Steve Corbett today and was furious the complainant was wearing a Kings hoody. One of her comments was why didn't they take a vote? We all know that can't be the procedure but it made me think about a problem from a while back. Pornography! The courts finally ruled that the definition of pornography was determined by "Community Standards". Why is pornography determined by community standards but a Nativity Scene and Menorah are clearly defined as illegal? Do you remember the statement about porno, "I know it when I see it!" One punk who has done nothing in life is sitting back and taking pride in all of the over reaction he has caused. This will most likely be his biggest success in life. Fugum! The law is clear and Urban and Petrilla should have simply followed the acceptable procedure and not screw up everything they touch. As for the ACLU, its comforting to know that if the huge federal government ever steps on my rights, I have someone who is big enough to fight back for me. The ACLU is not the enemy, you just need to understand their true purpose in existence. This is not it but it keeps them busy because of punk kids and public enemies such as the Patriot Act. Has anybody looked at your library card today? Uncle Sam's cousin Sam
The ACLU has represented Christians whose rights have been violated. They've done that on many occasions.
The law was not on the side of the Courthouse. "The Three Reindeer Rule" stems from a legal case that compromised on holiday displays. It requires secular holiday symbols (snowmen, Santa etc) to be placed prominently near the religious ones. The nativity and menorah would've been legal in that case.
That's what the county the lawfirm and the aclu are trying to come to ground on.
It's a good thing freedom of speech is covered in the constitution or half the posters to this blog would be banned from reality.
First: Law does not derive from faith, but from reason (at least it's suppose to).
Second: The idea that the majority are christian and want the display is irrelevant to the issue. If a majority vote ruled in any situation in a free country, they'd be hanging the latinos in Shenandoah with impunity. Pure democracy will never work because you can always find a majority willing to stick it to a minority for some reason or other.
Third: It seems many of the "nativity: yes" posters seem to think that since the courthouse is public property they should be able to do whatever they want (see majority rule above). And isn't that just what our indicted officials thought when they used public offices to ruin this county? It is.
Those of you that want to display your faith, I encourage you. Under no circumstances should you expect to do it on property you share with others that don't share your faith. That's what private property is for. Use it.
Finally: Decorations are frivolous expenses for those who can afford them. Luzerne County is in no such position. As the expense of decorations are being borne by the public, some of whom will always go unrepresented, it should never be done.
"It's a RELIGIOUS only display on GOVERNMENT property. A big NO NO. What's there to understand?"
SINCE WHEN? Go ahead asshole, show anywhere in the U S Constitution where this nor permissible and by what means and when this ended.
c'mon lets hear your big and stupid valley mentality mouth again
Look, I'm not saying whether I agree with the college kid or not, but maybe the blog comments here cursing the kid out an verbally abusing him and claiming he has no right to an opinion because of the youth of his years can be cited as reasons why younger people are discouraged about becoming more involved in politics and expressing their opinions--when they try to do so their opinions aren't respected and they're booed and told they don't know anything, no matter how well informed they may be. That kid has "done something with his life"--he's going to college, and whether you agree with him or not he's brave enough to publicly stick up for his rights and the rights of others all while knowing that he will have to take abuse from his so-called "elders"--because calling a young man an "uninformed asswipe" and "wuss ass" and a "freak" and whatever else you all have called him is a great indication of YOUR maturity and the WISDOM of your YOUR years! DISGUSTING! Didn't your mommies teach YOU about MANNERS and Politeness when they were breast-feeding YOU well-adjusted little babies that you are???? SHAME ON ALL OF YOU!
Y'all have it wrong: it isn't a religious display so much as it is a plea for divine help from the people remaining in the courthouse who have yet to be caught and plead guilty for something. It's obvious that they need it, desperately.
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