The Leesburg Christmas Battles Continue

By: Will Horne
The issue of separation of church and state has long been argued over and has caused countless legal debates. In Leesburg, Christmas time for many years has been plagued by the arguments over what legally can and cannot be displayed at the downtown Courthouse. There are many strongly opinioned residents in Leesburg fighting for different sides of the argument. Some people want the Courthouse to be completely open to any display, while others want nothing at all to be displayed.
Last year the Courthouse Grounds and Facilities committee dictated that no displays would be allowed at the Courthouse and that would be the end of it. But this year, on September 8th, Loudoun supervisors voted on a plan allowing the first 10 applicants that wanted to put a display at the Courthouse to do so. The spots were filled quickly, and the final outcome included a Christmas tree, two nativity scenes, four atheist signs, a Christian sign, and a Jediist display. Even with the essentially equal-sided result people are still bitter.
Both of the sides have strong arguments, citing things like the U.S. Constitution, Freedom of Speech, and the Bible. It is a battle that may never be won, and there will always be people who are not happy with the outcome. But people become too angry and hateful to remember what the holiday season is about, and the real issue is the emphasis on fighting rather than traditional Christmas love. Whether the Christians or Atheists get more endorsement of their beliefs should not matter as much as what Christmas time means for everyone. Political agendas should be put aside during Christmas, and all arguments be ceased.
People that support disallowing all displays argue that it is only fair if no one gets representation, and that otherwise there will be too much bias in what is put up. While in the end it would be fair, it would not satisfy many people and the debate would go on. A nativity scene put up with friendly intentions of spreading holiday joy gets misinterpreted as a threat against the Atheist community, and the same happens with other groups. People should not feel like they need to respond belligerently with each other during the holiday season.
If people want to display something representing their own personal beliefs, biased or not, shouldn’t they be allowed to? What harm is done by representation? Are people so weak that a simple display could significantly sway them and their beliefs? If no harm is being done, no insults being made, and it makes people happy, then the display is appropriate. The oversensitive people that claim to be insulted by certain displays are overlooking the generous and loving spirit of Christmas, and need to open up their mind and heart to everyone. The Jedi sign that was put December 16th was intended not to endorse Jediism but to poke fun at the whole Courthouse display controversy. Hopefully people can realize that their opponents are just humans too, and that it is silly to be fighting over anything during Christmas time.