Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," old friends and new! If you're just happening on this little love fest, please be forewarned: 'Tis not necessarily the season to be jolly around here. This is New Jersey. It gets dark at 4:30, and people's hands rest perpetually on the horns of their cars, pressing violently as needed. Fa la la HONK HONK! Humbug.
We had some road work done in Snobville this summer, and they lopped a little bit of land off the public library property. Our borough Xmas tree is now closer to the street.
Today, when I drove past, I noticed that someone had erected a nativity scene under the tree. Not far away there was a menorah, wishing everyone a Happy Hanukkah.
It was the same last year, but the displays were not so close to the street. And somehow it didn't bother me, because, after all, the tree itself is Pagan.
This year it bothers me.
Snobville has a Jewish population but no synagogue. Snobville has a charming Baptist church on Main Street with a huge nativity scene. Do we absolutely, positively need religious symbols on public property? No one asked the Garden State Pagan Alliance for a holiday sign. I would make one, but I suck at art.
Time for Plan B.
I've got 500 little pocket-sized copies of the U.S. Constitution. Tomorrow a dozen of them are going into the nativity scene, all propped open at the First Amendment. Over the protests of the Spare, one will also be posted at the base of the menorah.
I have no objection whatsoever to religious-themed displays on religious or private properties. But my taxes pay for the library, and I don't see a Pentagram on the grounds.
There have been highly-publicized fights about this in other towns of every size. I don't prefer to exercise my snit in a big public forum. It's so much easier to give Baby Jesus a little light reading to brighten his stay in the manger.
If you need some copies of the Constitution for your own community, contact me, email me your address, and I'll get some off to you. I'd have given you more notice, but the nativity scene just went up in Snobville -- so I can't promise delivery by December 25.
But I will deliver.