Loudoun Co. Welcomes Back Christmas – Plus Atheists, Jedis


Sarah Kilbey was excited to show the nativity scene to her son Johnny. The manger is back on the Loudoun County Courthouse grounds.

Last year, all displays were banned based on the separation of church and state. The Board of Supervisors then overturned that policy but issued several rules regarding use of the courthouse grounds to grant all groups equal access.

A compromise allows a diversity of displays this year, including a sign put up by the group Freedom From Religion and a "letter from Jesus."

"I absolutely love the manger," Kilbey said. "Love it. That's the meaning of Christmas. Now the other things you're talking about ... not so excited about that."

Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio said 10 permits for displays were issued on a first-come, first-served basis, which allowed the tradition of 50 years to continue at the courthouse.

"The option was no nativity or having the nativity, and together with the American Civil Liberties Union, I worked with others to have the balance, and the balance is: To have the nativity, you have to have free speech," Delgaudio said.

We are told there will be more displays at the courthouse, including a mannequin display of Luke Skywalker from "Star Wars" celebrating "Jedi-ism." There will be another display from an atheist group and another manger.

Some Loudoun County residents are not pleased with the results.

"Personally, I don't think it's very good," David Moyes said. "Instead of having a nice Christmas look in front of the beautiful historic courthouse, we end up having a hodge podge."

Across the street from courthouse, the Lightfoot Restraint is festively decorated for the holiday season, both inside and out. Asked what she thinks of the courthouse displays, co-owner Carrie Whitmer said, "I am just happy to see the Christmas tree back on the courthouse lawn. Well, we had to share with everybody, and I think that's fine."

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