On Friday morning, members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation placed this sign next to a nativity scene in front of a government building in Olympia, Washington’s capital city:
I have no idea why the nativity scene was permitted on the property in the first place, but in any event, the FFRF sign was gone within an hour and later found in a ditch. In covering this story, the increasingly ramshackle Cable News Network reported:
An atheist sign criticizing Christianity that was erected alongside a Nativity scene was taken from the Legislative Building in Olympia, Washington, on Friday and later found in a ditch.
I’ve always scored pretty well on tests of reading comprehension, but I still have a lot of work to do, because no matter how hard I squint I see no mention whatsoever of Jesus or the Christian deity on that sign.
But in the spirit of jumping to conclusions, I’ll assume that whoever made off with the 50-pound sign is or are a Christian or Christians. This is what makes me smile about “modern” civilization and its puerile adherents to traditions of antiquity: Here we have a cult that touts turning the other cheek and not stealing as two of its foremost imperatives, and in response to a slighting of superstitious faith we see vengeance, spite, and theft. Mix in the fact that an all-powerful skybeing evidently needs larcenous henchmen on the ground to have His back, and this incident, like many others, tells any curious beings monitoring us from outer space all they need to know about religion. Without hypocrisy, it would wither and die in a trice.
At Pharyngula, PZ Myers is urging people not to respond in kind–that is, to avoid pilfering or defacing religious symbols. He’s right, of course, but there’s an undeniable appeal in fantasizing about ways of wrestling in the metaphorical mud with the righteously blinkered. For my part, I decided that in about a week and a half, I’m going to head out in the middle of the night, gather up the many nativity scenes on locals’ lawns (I’m in Virginia, remember), and arrange the whole collection in front of the nearest church in the form of a massive orgy including fifty-seven wise men, nineteen prematurely priapic baby Jesuses, one hundred and twelve drunken shepherds wearing Yankees hats, several camels and donkeys wearing Red Sox jerseys, and six toothless crack whores with angel wings. To this menagerie I would add a Domino’s pizza delivery boy with a Hitler ‘stache driving a chartreuse-colored cement truck over a monument of the Ten Commandments covered in Crips graffiti, the lyrics to Stairway To Heaven, and a Fibonacci sequence; a JumboTron showing the members of the Backstreet Boys re-enacting the Scopes Monkey Trial; and a twenty-foot-tall statue of Richard Dawkins wearing a huge, genial grin and nothing else.
Once the mescaline wore off, I realized that this would involve quite a bit of work.