Blustering Blasphemers Bullying Belen

Our people are killing one another. Our families are deteriorating. Alcohol and drugs are out of control. Our national government is borderline non-functional.

Plenty to worry about. Do you know what the Freedom from Religion Foundation is worried about? A Nativity scene in the Belen, New Mexico public square. The metal sculpture has been there 23 years.

Belen – the Spanish name for Bethlehem – says the display is a historic art piece. The religion haters say it is a violation of the separation of church and state.

Maybe it is. Such has not been litigated and Belen will fight hard if challenged by a lawsuit. My friend Clara Garcia, longtime editor of the Valencia County News-Bulletin, tells me consensus in town is the historical display would be legally justified for the same reasons the court threw out a suit challenging the Three Crosses greeting visitors to Las Cruces.

One very sensible solution being considered by the city of Belen is to sell the property to the likes of a historical organization. That is good thinking, but the aggressive, publicity-seeking Freedom from Religion Foundation crowd says their organization wants to be the buyer.

 Reading the statements of Belen Mayor Jerah Cordova, one gets an insight into how much chance the God scoffers have to acquire that land. Susana will endorse Hillary first.

I happen to be a firm believer in the separation of church and state. Not so firm, however, that I understand the extremism of the likes of FFRF. Look, if Belen erects a cross above the entrance to City Hall and installs holy water fonts, or if Belen Consolidated Schools requires Bibles carried in the hallway, we’ve got ourselves a problem. But a metal sculpture of the Nativity? Hardly religious anarchy.

One Freedom from Religion Foundation member said the Belen display is “intimidating” to those who do not believe. Really? Intimidating would indicate fear, in this case the same irrational fear I might experience walking through a cemetery at midnight. Boo.

So you stroll through the Belen park and it’s like, “Oh no!  God touched me! Eeeeewww. Somebody help me, please! I’m starting to pray!”  Unlike our beloved deceased, God is alive. But one thing you can pretty much count on: God most likely won’t touch you if you don’t want to be touched.

We are a nation of laws. I liken the Belen Nativity scene violation, if indeed it is a violation, to a guy who jaywalks on a deserted street. The cop watches the law breaker, decides no harm, no foul. But if the fellow pulls out a gun and starts shooting out street lights, the police are all over him.

In my view, Belen’s Nativity scene is not shooting out street lamps.

Our people are killing one another. Our families are deteriorating. Alcohol and drugs are out of control. Our national government is borderline non-functional.

Maybe, just maybe, what we need – wherever we put them – are more Nativity scenes.