LTE: Atheists Actions Nothing Short of Hypocrisy

A reader makes his thoughts about Loudoun’s courthouse holiday display clear.

So now Rick Wingrove, head of the Beltway (NOVA) Atheists, is rounding up his troops so-to-speak (hope this is a non-offensive word) to speak at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors’ Business Meeting against Supervisor Reid’s recent remark, as quoted in the Washington Times, in which he characterized the actions of this group as it pertains to the Loudoun County Courthouse seasonal displays as akin to those of “terrorist.”

While it is obvious that Mr. Reid‘s choice of words was somewhat over the top, and one that he has already expressed his regrets about using, and which pales in comparison to the behavior of the Atheists themselves, the Atheists will take hold of this opportunity to move their agenda forward in the public arena, by highlighting Supervisor’s Reid’s faux pas. 

Of course Mr. Wingrove and friends will ignore the fact that their aggressive, and mocking approach to promote their self-serving interests, oftentimes triggers such knee-jerk characterizations from those whom they openly and harshly criticize. A recent example, was aired on the O’Reilly Factor show just last week, when host Bill O’Reilly called the American Atheists’ President,  David Silverman, a “fascist” right to his face as he was pushing his organization’s so-called “Separation of Church and State” agenda. For the record and as I have repeatedly pointed out in the local media, nowhere in the U.S. Constitution is that term referenced; but more on that later.

What is so interesting about Mr. Wingrove and his organization is that the one thing that comes across crystal clear to all but himself and his group is that their very actions and activities are often wrapped in a shroud of hypocrisy, inconsistency and deception, all in one.

Examples of this include:

  • Wingrove’s public assertions that all the members of the Loudoun County Courthouse Grounds and Facilities Committee (LCGFC) are “Christians,” sans anything to support such a claim, while stating in a written news article that one of its members is a “closet atheist.”
  • Questioning whether Jesus Christ even existed, and therefore implying that the celebration of his birth in the holiday known as “Christmas” is a ruse, while he himself will celebrate (and annually hosts) the entirely made-up holiday of “Festivus,” a holiday that has its roots dating back to 1966, when a writer created this event to commemorate he and his future wife’s first date, which was some decades later the subject of an episode of the sitcom TV show Seinfeld. 
  • The ongoing claim that Wingrove’s organization is not engaged in a “War on Christmas,” while the combative terms of “battle” and “fight” are oftentimes quoted on his organization’s website and in the local press.
  • Mr. Wingrove loudly proclaims that the Beltway/NOVA Atheists had nothing to do with the insulting skeleton Santa display that the focus of much outcry at last year’s so-called holiday displays, which is totally truthful, yet go on his organization’s website to see the photo of how very much he shows his approval of same with his ear to ear grin and thumbs-up sign as he stands near this despicable anti-Christmas icon.
  • Wingrove and company’s so-called Separation of Church and State “fight” appears to be solely focused on Christianity (which by  the way, in and of itself is not a specific religion), while totally ignoring governments’ recognition of other faiths, which on a local level have included Judaism and Hinduism to name just two.
  • Wingrove seems willing to ignore the far more grandiose annual Christmas and Hanukah celebrations that take place in neighboring Washington, DC, which include a formal religious ceremony and utilization of the government’s U.S. Marine Corps band, while voicing his strong objection of a simple and small seasonal display in Leesburg, VA.
  • Larry Mendoza, who is an officer of the local Atheist’s organization, is allowed to speak at a local high school about his organization’s secular-progressive virtues. But ask Larry and friends what how he would react if a member of the local clergy was allowed to do the same thing, as it relates to the matter of Creation by Divine Intervention?
  • The assertion by some within and outside of his organization that they are not seeking publicity, (a recent alleged rationale for why they do not bring their “fight” into the District).  But just look at Wingrove’s latest posting about his plans for his Dec. 8 attended display at the Courthouse Lawn (which is the same day as the Town of Leesburg’s “Christmas and Holiday Parade”) and you will clearly see how he is relishing the thought of being present while many members of the local press will be in attendance.
  • The frequent deliberate act by Wingrove and others within his organization to avoid the use of the word “Christmas,” as though it was some kind of obscenity, by replacing the first syllable “Christ” with other letters of the alphabet or by using the term “Holiday Tree” when in fact it is a “Christmas Tree.”  One of his organization’s officers continues to call the Town of Leesburg’s Dec. 8 parade a “Holiday Parade,” a name I successfully petitioned the Town Council to officially change, along with that of the now-named Christmas Tree, back in 2010.
  • The unsubstantiated claim made by some that the LCGC seasonal display recommendation included a discussion of “top cover.”  No such statement was ever made as is evidenced by the minutes to those meetings which are posted on the county’s official website.

There are so many more examples that can be stated, but in my view what this group needs to recognize are four simple, hard FACTS:

  1. Christmas Day is a federal holiday and has been such since 1870.
  2. The crèche is a legitimate and widely recognized symbol of Christmas and in particular, its very roots.
  3. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states in part that: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment (emphasis added) of a religion…”
  4. The display of this symbol on government property does NOT serve as an act by a government body as it having ESTABLISHED a specific government religion.

Until such time when then American Atheist organization and its affiliates are able to get Congress to revoke the federal holiday of Christmas as such, I would suggest that they sit back and enjoy what it truly represents, which is “Peace on Earth and Good Will to All.”

In closing, Happy Hanukah, Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year to all!

John Mileo
Lansdowne, VA

Dave Butler December 05, 2012 at 02:19 PM
If it was a "science" talk, I hope the gist was Evolution = science. Creationism, et al = not science.
Larry Mendoza December 05, 2012 at 03:08 PM
That is exactly what it was. I made sure the kids understand the difference between SCIENCE and Religious Beliefs.
David Weintraub December 05, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Interestingly, one of the speakers was a young man who identified himself as a member of a Catholic church, I don't recall which one. He seemed to believe that the board might prohibit his church from displaying icons on their own property, and asked them to please not do that. It's interesting because it raises the question of what some of these people are privately telling others in their communities - are they actually spreading the falsehood that churches will be banned from having their own displays? It looks like that might be what they're doing. Since the position of church-state separation is the rational and constitutional one that most people are quite capable of understanding, are the special rights seekers now reduced to making up a new fabricated threat?
David Weintraub December 05, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Exactly, Dave. The meaning of "federal holiday" is precisely the opposite of what Mr. Mileo continues to assert. It couldn't possibly be government endorsement of celebration of any religious aspect of Christmas, by definition. This is an example of someone so blinded by his privilege as a member of "the majority" that he can't see the most obvious and glaring flaw in his argument, even when it's been pointed out to him repeatedly.
Paula December 06, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Thank you, Mr. Mileo -- you speak the sentiments of many.


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