The problem erupted after a Columbus man apparently complained about equality of religions in displays at state parks.
After a letter to the business manager of Ohio State parks regarding symbols of religion, an order came down to remove the nativity scene which the Garden Club has provided. the letter told all start parks in the state to take down their nativity decorations.
On Friday, Dec. 7, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland intervened.
Under current law, government entities (city halls, courts, public schools, etc) can generally acknowledge religious holidays so long as they do not create an impression of endorsement of religion by the government, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Strickland issued an order mandating that Shawnee and all state parks continue their traditional nativity displays.
And he appears to be well within the law, according to the ACLU. “Just because a nativity scene or other religious display appears on government property does not necessarily mean that it is owned or is being displayed by the government, using tax dollars. Many local and some state governments have within their boundaries public areas whereby citizens are permitted to erect displays, including those of a religious nature, of their own choice” says the Ohio ACLU web site.
This is right in my parents’ backyard. This lodge is really fancy (at least by southern Ohio standards), and most of the folks who stay there are upper middle class folks, who come from places like Columbus and Cincinnati to explore the wilderness in the luxury of fancy hotel.
I wish somebody I know would go up there and put up a Menorah, and see how the locals respond. In my experience, a very large majority of southern Ohio folks are all for freedom of religious expression, when it in involves Christianity. But if somebody went up there and put up a Menorah or any other non-Christian symbol, they’d throw a fit.
I remember around the time I graduated from high school when there was some court decision about prayers at graduations. The administrators and students really wanted to have a prayer (of the Christian variety, of course), so they decided that the graduating seniors could vote on whether or not to have a graduation prayer. I bet I was the only person to say that I didn’t want a prayer. Of course, this was a school was everyone was a Christian or person like me, who was tired of Christianity. Nobody was Muslim; nobody was Jewish,;and if anyone was an atheist or any other religion, they wouldn’t say it publicly.
This is one nice thing about living in a town with a noticeable non-Christian population. There seems to be a great deal more tolerance.