I've moved on to a better forum (scienceforums.net). Facts matter, and I don't have the time or energy for putting up with the pretense that they don't. PM me if you'd like me to get in touch with you when I'm done developing my own forum system, likely towards the end of 2013.
“And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”
~ James Madison, letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822
First of all, am I the only one that caught this:
"Following the December 2011 controversy, the Santa Monica City Council voted in June to bar any future unattended private displays in Palisades Park, including Christmas crÃ¨ches <I have no idea what this means btw> or atheist exhibits, regardless of content."
No one was even banned from putting up a display. What was banned is putting up an unattended display.
And there is no case of discrimination or even free speech violation here. The city doesn't have to allow people to put up scenes of any kind on public property, even if they allowed them to do so in the past. Most particularly if they can prove that leaving up unattended displays attracts illegal activity, i.e. vandalism, in the park and could leave the city liable for any damage done to the property of those who are allowed to leave things up in the park.
Now, I do think that some of the signs were inappropriate, but that is still their right to do so and should not make a difference to the other actions that occurred. Had I organized the sign thing, I would have left it to signs about other things, but that is just me. This guy won the right to put up his signs, fair and square. The same exact actions would have occurred had none of the "religion questioning" signs been displayed. Considering the vandalized signs/displays that we have seen weren't those that questioned religion, it is safe to assume that vandalism would have occurred if all of them would have been simply non-Christian messages or non-Abrahamic religious messages. Which would have still led to the same consequences.
My opinion is I'd rather have nothing displayed in a park to begin with. I find parks to be pretty without huge displays set up in them. And it makes it worse that all those had cages around them. It looked stupid. I think the city's decision was a good one. Everyone can just find private property to put up their beliefs/signs/displays on, and it will probably look better than what was up in the park. Especially since people tend to care much more about how something looks if it is on their property than if it is on public property.
"A woman is like a teabag, you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water." - Eleanor Roosevelt
Keep your religion out of other people's marriages.