Monday, January 7, 2008

Atheist display repeatedly vandalized

WEST CHESTER — "The “Tree of Knowledge” in front of the county courthouse was vandalized Saturday night, marking the fourth time in the last month someone has defaced this monument to atheism.

Members of the Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia put up the 15-foot evergreen just before the Christmas season and have been monitoring it ever since.

The atheist group got the idea for the tree after seeing the menorah and nativity scene that the county had allowed religious groups to place on the courthouse property. County commissioners granted approval for the tree, allowing the Freethought Society for the first time to put up such a display.

While the religious displays have drawn little public ire, the “Tree of Knowledge” has been a source of many complaints."

It is strange how freedom of religion sounds so tolerant--but really, how tolerant is a compulsory religious attitude? Why is any religion, so long as you have one, necessary?

Freedom to choose any religion should be as vital as freedom to abstain from religion without shame, harassment, disenfranchisement, discrimination, and the like.