Atheists have taken over a two-block stretch in Santa Monica, Calif., shutting out Christians who have held a nativity scene in the exhibit space for more than a half a decade during Christmas time.
The two blocks of the park space overlooks the ocean and usually fourteen scenes displaying the birth of Jesus Christ attract tourists and residents to the space. However, this year, atheists took over the space, bringing the nativity tradition to a halt.
A group of churches are now angry and charge the atheists with organizing against Christians by manipulating a lottery process to take over the parks.
The leader of the atheist group, Damon Vix, claims he is just looking for fair treatment to present his beliefs in a public square, according to reports.
He even says that the park shouldn’t allow any religious nor atheist expression at the park. Therefore, the atheist group hasn’t put anything up in the park space to express atheism.
Vix, says he is part of growing movement of atheists standing up for their rights, according to sources.
“It’s a very exciting time for us that we’re having more of an impact in our society,” Vix said.
Vix, who calls himself a civil rights activist, is a freelance prop maker, living in Burbank, Calif. He claims that atheists have been discriminated against “since high-school”, when Vix became an atheist.
Hunter Jameson, the Nativity scene committee chairman representing more than a dozen Santa Monica groups (mostly churches), says that church members plan a 2012 petition to the city to prevent this year’s events from repeating itself.
Jameson says that there is a militant atheist movement that is trying to drive out vestiges of truth.
“They’re trying to deny the truth that this nation is founded on Christian principles,” Jameson said in a report.
The atheist group has reportedly won 18 of 21 exhibit spaces, leaving only three plots to Christian and Jewish groups who want to erect their religious displays.
According to Jameson, there is no objection to the atheists being there, but they don’t want them to deprive Christians of their freedom of speech.
“You add everything together, there would be enough room in the two blocks to take care of all the displays. It’s a matter of portioning the space fairly,” Jameson says.
The atheist group was able to take over the majority of the park’s exhibit space by loading up the applicant pool, making up 11 of 13 applicants. Vix and the other ten California partners he recruited make up the 11-member committee. According to Vix, they are not all atheists, but they joined because they disagree with the city’s policy of supporting religious displays.