- The Washington Times - Friday, November 27, 2009

It’s that time of year

Christmas trees aren’t even up yet but already lawsuits and the threat of lawsuits are making their way across the nation over Nativity displays. Some are calling it freedom of expression, while others are complaining that the public displays are violating the separation of church and state.

The nation’s capital is not above the fray.

Two groups, District-based Faith and Action and the Christian Defense Coalition, are participating in Operation Nativity and the Nativity Project, a national campaign designed “to confront the erosion and hostility toward public expressions of faith especially during the Christmas season,” a press release said.

The D.C. display was erected Nov. 19 outside of the U.S. Supreme Court, and it included live actors.

“The traditional creche, portraying Mary, Joseph and the Christ Child, along with the angels, shepherds and wise men, remind us all of what Christmas is all about,” said the Rev. Rob Schenck, president of Faith and Action. “We like to refer to this effort as keeping Christ Mass” in the nation’s capital.

Not to be outdone, the American Humanist Association scheduled a Nov. 23 news conference to unveil its holiday ad campaign. Last winter, the organization’s ads were displayed on Metrobuses and said, “Why Believe in a God? Just Be Good for Goodness’ Sake.” The new campaign is supposed to include ads on Metrorail and Metrobus.

But the Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, said he wants expressions of faith restored in the public square.

“The Nativity Project and Operation Nativity are reminders that our Constitution provides freedom ‘of’ religion not freedom ‘from’ religion,” he said. “By encouraging people of faith to publicly display Nativity scenes across the nation, we are not only encouraging people to embrace our religious liberty and First Amendment freedoms but we are loudly proclaiming the powerful message of Christmas.

“Our hope and prayer is that thousands will display this powerful message on their front lawns and in front of public buildings all across America during the Christmas season.”

Now hear this …

“Sodom in the nation’s capital.” That is the headline on nationally syndicated columnist Star Parker’s Nov. 23 piece, which exposed the city’s soiled socioeconomic laundry. She said Brookings Institution scholars cite the breakdown of traditional family as a major factor and then she asks whether D.C. Council member David Catania, sponsor of the same-sex marriage measure, is out of touch with needy constituents.

The Archdiocese of Washington said the legalization of gay marriage would require termination of its social services to some 68,000 of the city’s poor - including about one-third of its homeless, said Mrs. Parker, founding president of the Coalition for Urban Renewal & Education. “The reaction of D.C. Council member David Catania was essentially ‘so what.’ According to him, ‘their services are not indispensable.’

“Is Catania out of touch with the needs of D.C.’s poor?” asked Mrs. Parker.

“No,” she answered. “He just has different priorities. More important to him, and more important to D.C.’s left wing City Council, is advancing moral relativism and the indulgences it feeds.

“This is more important to them than feeding the poor or recognizing the values that would get them out of poverty.

“It should concern every American as we watch our nation’s capital city transform officially into Sodom.”

… And this

A congressional subcommittee held a hearing Nov. 18 on autonomy for the nation’s capital. The panel is considering legislation that would relieve Congress of its constitutional directive.

At the hearing, the mayor and the chairman of the D.C. Council testified in favor of greater autonomy as voices of the people. But that didn’t sit well with the president of Concerned Women of America, who was keenly aware of the fact that the mayor, the council and elections officials do not want D.C. residents to vote on a marriage initiative.

The Concerned Women of America, whose mission is rooted in protecting and promoting biblical values, did not mince words in its reaction to D.C. leaders’ testimony.

The group’s president, Wendy Wright, said: “The D.C. Council reeks of rank hypocrisy. For years they have demanded that D.C. citizens should have the right to vote for congressional representation, which is in direct contradiction to the Constitution. Yet now they are denying D.C. citizens the right to vote on marriage, an institution so fundamental to America’s well-being that territories were not allowed to become states unless they kept marriage between one man and one woman. D.C. officials are proving, once again, why they need congressional oversight. They need to be reminded that citizens are not serfs.”

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