Traditional Holiday Display Debate at Loudoun County Courthouse

Debating the holiday displays outside the Loudoun County Courthouse in Leesburg, Va., has become a new annual tradition. This year, atheists may go to court over the county's new rules for holiday displays at the courthouse.

Wednesday night, the Board of Supervisors approved displaying a Christmas tree, nativity scene, Santa and a Menorah on the lawn.

Last year, anyone was allowed to put up a holiday display as long as they were among the first nine approved. Many of them, such as a skeleton Santa on a cross that was vandalized several times, drew complaints from the public.

“The Board of Supervisors again simply felt that the best thing to do is to disband the policy on unattended displays and simply put up a small traditional Christmas display … celebrating the holiday,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott York said.

This year, the public can put up displays but can’t leave them unattended.

 “The Board … is providing a forum for religious groups, and providing this special access for Christian groups is a special privilege that they’ve essentially taken away from other groups,” Virginia Director for American Atheists Rick Wingrove said.

York said he believes the Board's new policy will survive any court challenge.

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