Nudity, Jesus and Public Displays   3 comments

What’s a city?

It’s a place where people gather.  By living closely to each other, we derive benefits such as better education for our children, easier access to healthcare and a  broader array of food sources.  We get 24/7 grocery stores, movie multi-plexes and a Starbucks on every corner.

A city provides public spaces for the public good, such as parks.  And now we get to the problem of the day.

The Santa Monica nativity spaces were next to a sidewalk, but kept inside a chain link enclosure.

Yesterday, a judge in Santa Monica ruled that the city of Santa Monica has the right to not allow nativity scenes in public parks.  This really blew up last year, when a group of determined atheists decided it was time to end the domination of Christian displays in Santa Monica’s Pallisades Park during the Christmas season.  The atheists were apparently tired of the tradition that began in 1953: nativity scenes were faithfully put up by a group of Santa Monica churches every year.

The atheists banded together and pressured the town council to give them a chance to display their alternate message in that same public park … and eventually the city decided to hold a lottery to see who would get the 21 spaces in 2011.  The final lottery score:  Christians 2, Jews 1 and atheists 18.

This year, the city decided that they didn’t want to play any more, so they passed an ordinance that the public spaces would not be used for any displays.  The Santa Monica churches sued, the court held for the city, and in 2012 there will apparently be no Santa Monica parks with static Christian, atheistic or Jewish displays.

I’m actually OK with this.  I am a Christian, and I deplore the tactics of the atheists that decided that their philosophy should hold sway over a long-standing, international tradition.  However, I agree that the Christians in this case should not be given undue benefit or advantage by the city.  But couldn’t the atheists have done their public displays in January?  Why did they need to destroy the status quo in order to be satisfied?

They won the votes, however, the city got the judge to agree, and that’s where we stand.  No public park space to be appropriated for religious, or un-religious displays.  Well, OK, then.

Now we go to San Francisco, where the city lawmakers are voting today about whether they should allow unrestricted public nudity.  The law in question does allow special event nudity, mind you. There’s apparently some traditional clothing-optional events in the Bay Area … and the city leaders wouldn’t want to lose those, apparently.  The proposed law even allows some semi-public nudity, where people have to erect (sorry) visual barriers between their bodies and the general public.  Well, OK, then.

However, some residents want the right to, uh, strut their stuff any day, every way.  They don’t want their desire to expose their flesh to be limited, “like in the Dark Ages.”

The city lawmakers seem to disagree, however, and think there should be some limits to the pubic displays (sorry again).  We’ll see how the vote turns out.

Who controls the city?  The people, through their elected government.  We are a nation of laws, and your elected officials actually make decisions about what laws to create, and what laws to end.  Sometimes your votes really do matter.

In Santa Monica, a very vocal minority derailed a 58-year old tradition of placing nativity scenes in a public park because they simply didn’t want them there.  They got the votes, and that’s the way it will be in 2012.

In San Francisco, a very vocal minority wants to increase their public exposure, but in this case it appears they do not have the votes.  We’ll see later today.

Or, hopefully, we won’t.

UPDATE November 20:  As expected, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted today to ban public nudity in most circumstances.  Special event nudity is still allowed.  Here’s the LA Times story.

3 responses to “Nudity, Jesus and Public Displays

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  1. I’m sure that group of atheists is also very vocal in seeking “tolerance” in other social areas.

  2. Pingback: Be Beautiful … But Not Here |

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