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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Tony Phyrillas
Bio: Tony Phyrillas
Date:  November 29, 2007
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Atheists get their own holiday display

The atheist group's display is entitled "The Tree of Knowledge" and it will feature a 15-foot evergreen with color copies of book covers as "ornaments." Some of the book covers will include the Bible, the Quran, "Ethics Without God," "Why I Am Not a Christian," and "Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism."

If you can't beat 'em, might as well join 'em.

A Southeastern Pennsylvania atheist group that has tried unsuccessfully for years to prevent public religious displays at Christmas, has decided to try a new tactic.

The atheists, who also failed to have a Ten Commandments monument removed from the Chester County Courthouse, now want to put up their own holiday display next to a Nativity scene, a Menorah and a Christmas tree in West Chester, Pa.

News that The Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia wants to put up its own holiday display was first reported by The Daily Local News in West Chester.

The decision by the Chester County commissioners to permit the atheists to display their "holiday tree" could serve as a seasonal model for other communities, according to reporter Jennifer Miller.

The new policy allows any group to put up a seasonal display on county property if it meets design, insurance and safety requirements.

That's a far cry from what the atheists originally wanted: An outright ban on public displays during the holidays.

"It makes us feel like whole citizens to be able to participate in this way," Margaret Downey, president of the Freethought Society, told the Daily Local News.

The group's display is entitled "The Tree of Knowledge" and it will feature a 15-foot evergreen with color copies of book covers as "ornaments." Some of the book covers will include the Bible, the Quran, "Ethics Without God," "Why I Am Not a Christian," and "Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism."

I've heard of the first two books. Not familiar with the atheist tomes.

Chester County's new policy allows qualified applicants to set up a display between Nov. 30 and Jan. 15. The deadline to apply for a display has already passed, so the atheists are the only new addition to the outdoor display this year.

"If this works here, we're going to encourage other Freethought groups to do the same," Downey told the Daily Local News.

The county received four applications, and all were approved. In addition to "The Tree of Knowledge," the courthouse lawn will feature a Christmas tree, a Menorah and a crèche this year.

In case you'd like to join those fun-loving atheists for a festive tree dedication, The Freethought Society will hold a "tree ceremony" at 5 p.m. Saturday at the courthouse, located at 2 N. High St., in West Chester.

I've written before ("The left declares war on Christmas") about atheist Grinches trying to steal Christmas from the 85 percent of Americans who are Christians, but this appears to be a reasonable compromise.

Celebrate whatever you want, whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or the Winter Solstice. More power to the atheists for wanting to display their "Tree of Knowledge." Just don't mess with Christmas.

Tony Phyrillas
http://tonyphyrillas.blogspot.com (Columnist)

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Biography - Tony Phyrillas

Tony Phyrillas is a leading conservative political columnist and blogger based in Pennsylvania. He is a veteran journalist with 25 years experience as a reporter, editor and columnist for several newspapers. Phyrillas received recognition for column writing in 2010 from the Associated Press Managing Editors, in 2007 from Suburban Newspapers of America and in 2006 from the Society of Professional Journalists, Keystone Chapter. A graduate of Penn State University, Phyrillas is the city editor and political columnist for The Mercury, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper in Pottstown, Pa. In addition to The Mercury website (www.pottsmerc.com), his columns are featured on more than a dozen political websites and blogs. Phyrillas is a frequent guest (and occasional host) on talk radio and has been a panelist on the "Journalists Roundtable" public affairs TV program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN). Phyrillas was named one of the '10 Leading Greek-American Bloggers in the World' in 2007 by Odyssey: The World of Greece magazine. BlogNetNews.com ranked Phyrillas the Most Influential Political Blogger in Pennsylvania for three consecutive years (2007-2010). You can follow Phyrillas on Twitter @TonyPhyrillas


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