What kind of person wants to ban a 57-year-old Christmas tradition?
As we reported, a Christmas nativity scene that has been displayed at the Canonsburg, Penn., Burough building every winter season for the past 57 years is being removed after one citizen wrote to city officials to complain. According to Canonsburg Borough Manager Terry Hazlett, the citizen was upset because the creche was "disrespectful" to residents who aren't Christian and should not be displayed on public property.
"When you have separation of church and state, you don't have much choice," Hazlett told the local ABC News affiliate.
The complaint was sent from 33-year-old Megan Hartley. In today's increasingly cyber world, it's not too hard to find out more information about who Ms. Hartley is and to conjecture about her motives behind the complaint.
Hartley is a college grad, single mom and a fiction writer who especially enjoys dabbling in the supernatural, including a seemingly unhealthy fascination with demons, vampires and gore. In one of her short stories posted online, Hartley describes the point of view from a demon in Hell by describing the mutilation of a human:
It all starts with just small proficient incisions. Then inch by inch tearing away the skin, slowly and deftly ripping away flesh and letting it flutter to your feet. The delicate skin rips easily so being able to detach it in one piece takes practice but practice I've had. The inner arm, the inner thigh, the eyelids, the genitals, I can remove them all without a single tear. Thicker skin like the bottoms of feet are tricky in their own right, they want to crumble and fall apart. There really isn't much to be done about that. The rest of the body is easy; all you have to do is cut the outline of what you want to remove and then peel. I suggest small segments, it makes the process last longer. But before you know it you have finished with the first layer. The first layer takes the most skill, the most dexterity. After that it is all simple carving of the meat and organs. When you get down to the bones there is little left you can do with a knife but shear them. If you put a little muscle into it you can work the body down until there is nothing left. It is just remnants at your feet waiting to be made whole again so that you can start over… maybe this time with fire.
Hartley has also entered and won video contests, including an award for "Darkest Video" from the "Damned in Darkness Awards."
Since the nativity story broke, Hartley has taken to her online blog to celebrate getting the religious creche banned. In a post titled, "I made the news...", she wrote:
Every year for the past six years I sent a letter to the Borough asking for the removal of the Nativity from in front of the Borough building. This year I found out who I should be addressing the letter to and got action, much to my surprise.
Well the Nativity is up but it is on private property. But it has caused quite the stir. I even got interviewed by the local news though they ended up not showing me on TV.
What kills me is that Christians seem to think that I've trampled on their rights somehow.
Hartley has reportedly received a number of negative emails since the local news media reported the story, but she stands by her assertion that the nativity scene was inappropriately displayed.
"I'm standing up for my rights and for the rights of others," Hartley told WPXI Pittsburgh, "and if that ruins something for someone else I think they are looking too far into it."