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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 9, 2008 at 3:31 PM

Church and state

Worship the Spaghetti Monster in your own home

A statue of Jesus, an anti-religious solstice sign and now there is a display for Festivus, a joke holiday, at the Capitol building [“Capitol holiday-display controversy turning into ‘circus,’ ” Times, News, Dec. 6].

It’s a joke all right.

Gov. Christine Gregoire and the Department of General Administration have learned a very valuable lesson about the separation of church and state, courtesy of the gutsy Freedom From Religion Foundation.

The state had the option of either keeping our government property free of religious displays or allowing every display under the sun. Our state government has now learned that it made the wrong choice.

I can only hope that other state and local governments around the country, having witnessed this embarrassment on national TV, will vicariously learn the same lesson.

Here is the moral of the story: If you want to look at a plastic baby Jesus, read about the winter solstice, dance around a Festivus Pole or raise a noodle to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, you can do so in the comfort of your home and/or your local house of worship.

You can celebrate your holiday as you wish, and no one has to look at nonsense in the state Capitol, which belongs to all of us.

A win-win for all, and for all a goodnight.

— Matthew J. Barry, Issaquah

Where’s the line?

I can’t help but be amused at the indignant responses by the religious community at any hint of opposition to the concept that there might not be a god. They choose to push the boundary of separation of church and state and react with horror that someone might call them on it.

Since the atheistic community has no outward symbols of their beliefs except words and logic, any appropriate response must be in those terms. Be that as it may, pulling their chain is almost too easy, so I suppose we should be ashamed — not.

— Brian Hogan, Kent

Practice your faith

As a Christian, I understand the turmoil caused with the display by atheists at the state Capitol, but for those who have stated they are offended, ask yourself how offended an atheist might be by a religious display.

As Americans, the right to free speech is cherished, and at times like these we must fight harder to protect the right. I thank Gov. Christine Gregoire for having the courage to protect the right for everyone, not just those with whom we agree.

We can be offended but we must not censor. If one group of citizens has access to display their beliefs then all groups should have access to do the same.

Is the Christian response one of anger and harsh words or is it hatred? How can a display that you can choose not to read challenge your faith? Should we not respond with kindness, caring, understanding and compassion, or does the anger in our response only strengthen the message being rallied against?

Thank you, governor, for being a true protector of freedom.

— Dan Hally, Clarkston

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