If you drive through Pitman, NJ, you will see a banner hanging across the main drag which has in big letters, “Allah Akbar.” That’s a transliteration of the Arabic that means “God is Great”. No one should object to that. After all, our national motto is “In God We Trust.” We pledge allegiance to the flag “under God.” But there’s a large contingent of people in that town who object to the banner praising God. They’re not atheists, but Christians who object to extoling God’s greatness in another language. (I’m pretty sure God understands Arabic.)
Most of the above paragraph is a lie. Yes, there’s a banner in Pitman, but the words were Photoshopped. The real image is here; the banner says “Keep Christ in Christmas.”
I don’t celebrate Christmas, but if those who do want to remind people about the religious meaning in their holiday, that’s their business. But they have no business using public facilities to do so. They can put the slogan on their homes and churches, but by placing it on a main thoroughfare, they are using public resources to promote a religious belief. I’m willing to bet that many of these same so-called religious Christians support Lowe’s bigoted decision to withdraw advertising from a television program that depicts Muslims in a positive light.
Those who wear their religion on their sleeve must be insecure in their beliefs. Why else do they need to be constantly reminded about God and Christianity? My message to my Christian friends is keep Christ in Christmas and follow the teachings of your Jewish carpenter by feeding the hungry, supporting the poor, and promoting peace instead of conflict. Don’t disenfranchise your non-Christian fellow citizens as the Tea Party wants to do (below). Merry Christmas.
Thanks for writing about this! As a chapter leader with Delaware Valley Americans United for Separation of Church and State, I alerted AU's National office to get their advice on this issue. You raise some very good questions about this banner controversy!ReplyDelete
The borough of Pitman has disclaimed any jurisdiction over this, asserting the sign hangs over a county road, and is attached to privately owned poles, and is therefore a zoning issue, if anything. This is ridiculous, as it hangs over Pitman airspace, so it is Pitman's issue. Of course a sign like this does not belong on public property, but I wonder if it's worth fighting over as we have bigger fish to fry and the Christmas, er, Holiday season will be over in a few weeks.ReplyDelete
I may have more to say about this.
1) I'm pretty sure the expression is Allahu Akbar, not Allah Akbar.ReplyDelete
2) Like others, I might not "like" a banner promoting Islam, but I would not consider it the job of government to order it taken down from private property. There is nothing inherently offensive in either banner.
3) Assuming your establishment clause beliefs are principled, and not just Christian-bashing, I trust you would want government to order the Allahu Akbar banner removed under penalty of law.
4) Since you are the only person I know who would want this hypothetical banner forcibly removed, it makes your opening paragraph pretty silly.
An excellent follow-up article is here.ReplyDelete
The "excellent follow-up article" advocates climbing the pole and stealing the banner as a remedy. Leftist thuggery.ReplyDelete