The nation's War on Christmas controversy has reached Pitman, New Jersey, where atheists are railing against a Knights of Columbus banner that is hanging over a street in the middle of the town. The message, which reads, "Keep Christ in Christmas," has non-believers frustrated, claiming that its presence may be a Constitutional violation.
"Unnamed residents" who live in the borough reportedly contacted the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the well-known atheist group based in Wisconsin, to defend them against the sign's presence (the FFRF frequently claims that "unnamed" sources are behind their threats). The group has asked the town to remove the sign.
Andrew Seidel, the FFRF's constitutional consultant, believes that the banner should not be hanging over the town's Main Street. “It’s a group endorsing religion over a public right of way,” he said.
The town's mayor, Michael Batten, though, doesn't agree. “I think it’s a sad state of affairs that our country, we kowtow to the minority and not the majority of people who like that sort of thing to stay,” he said. Batten claims that the sign is attached to private property and that it merely hangs over a county road.
According to CBS Philly, some residents have already seen a Christmas display be removed because of its presence on government property. But because this banner is on private land, the case against its presence is more difficult for non-believers to prove.
While the town doesn't seem likely to remove the sign, the FFRF has another idea up its sleeves. If it can't beat Pitman, it will join the town by posting its own sign. According to Seidel, it will read:
“At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."
According to one resident, the Knights of Columbus' sign has been hung during the Christmas season for the past 45 years.