I feel like I'm the only one that read the linked article. Maybe it's just that I'm the only one that thought that this was a good thing that happened and had a good resolution?
So normally, Santa Monica had a big old huge nativity scene in the local, publicly owned city park. Now normally what happens these days, is that some people don't like the nativity scenes (or maybe it's a GIANT CROSS in the park, or Bible verse at the court house, or whatever). Maybe they're not Christian. Maybe the religion has done bad things to them or their loved ones in the past. Maybe they just strongly believe in the separation of church and state and think that public lands/buildings should not be a billboard for specific religions. Maybe they have other reasons, or some combination of the above reasons. It doesn't matter - to them, the religious stuff on public land is offensive. On private land - well, people can and do put up whatever the hell they want on private land. People leave Obama hanged in effigy from the trees in their front yard and no one can do a damn thing about it because it's covered under the first amendment as free speech. But on public lands, we don't have to put up with religions bullying their way in and making everyone look at their stuff.
Normally what happens, is that one or more people sue or get the ACLU to sue on their behalf to have the religious stuff taken down because of separation of church and state. Then there's a long, expensive court battle. This time, someone just went to the city and asked for equal representation. The city said, "Ok, fine." So the dude put up a sign where he was told that he could put up a sign, that read, “Religions are all alike — founded upon fables and mythologies.” That's a famous quote by Thomas Jefferson by the way. The article implies that he might have had some other stuff written or up in his display, but it didn't detail what. I'm pretty sure that it wasn't anything really bad or newsworthy, otherwise they would have emphasized it.
You have to remember that this is PUBLIC LAND. This is supposed to an area that's for EVERYONE'S usage, not just Christians. It's unfair for one group to put up the equivalent of a billboard in the park, while no one else gets to put anything. It shows a bias for government choosing one group over another. It's intrinsically unfair to anyone that's not in the group that gets to put up their display. That's why the Supreme Court of the United States of America has ruled that in situations like these on public land, that someone else that comes along and asks for equal space shall be given it. So, the Catholic Church has a big giant nativity scene in the public park? Well, if the Jewish Temple wants to put up a giant menorah or Star of David, they have to be given equal space. If someone else wants to put up a giant Flying Spaghetti Monster, they too must be given space. And if I want to put up a kung fu Buddha ripping the spraying, bleeding heart out of dragon and devouring the heart because I think that's super rad, they have to give me equal space too, God help you all.
Um... where was I? Oh... Actually, that was three years ago. Last year, he told other people that they should put in their own applications for equal time, and some did. A Jewish group won a spot and put up something. Some atheists won some spots, and the church won two spots. They had to reduce the size of their display by 7 times, to get it down from 14 spots to 2. Last year, there was some vandalism of one of the atheist's places.
This year, the city decided not to deal with the hassle, the vandalism, or the politics. They're just not allowing ANY public displays. So the churches sued the city, because they still wanted to put up their religious thing in the park, even though the city said "no". The judge tossed the case out; the city is within its rights.
Well, Santa Monica has over 50 churches, so I'm pretty sure that they can find some private land to put up their display in. Meanwhile, people who want to go out and stroll in the park don't have to be assailed with turning a corner and suddenly finding themselves in Jesus Land. Granted, most people probably wouldn't care, and some people would be happy about it, but others would find it highly offensive.
So, it took a few years for it to all play out, but the government didn't have to spend a bunch of time defending itself in court. The only people who are out any money would be the church groups who filed the motion. Filing the suit probably didn't cost a whole lot, but they might have had to pay for their lawyer if they didn't have someone doing it pro bono.
Am I really the only here that sees this as a victory for the good guys? Because if so, that would be kind of sad.