Friday, December 29, 2006

Creche police 

Since it's the holiday season and I have some time off, I looked through a very long set of comments on the SCTimes chat board on the usual nonsense of the season, the public display of nativity scenes. In times when people have real civil liberty concerns like the Patriot Act, or violation of private property rights like smoking bans, it's somewhat hard for me to get worked up about someone displaying a stable with figurines on a public square. But when I read this from the ex-Mayor, John Ellenbecker, I had to laugh. He first states (it's a long comment thread, so go to comment #77):
I had court in Long Prairie on Tuesday. I drove back through Holdingford (as I always do - it is not out of the way) and found that the nativity scene is again in front of City Hall - in violation of the Minnesota Constitution and the Constitution of the United States.
That's a nice drive, I guess, if you assume the ex-mayor likes the back roads of Todd and Stearns counties. (Here's a map.) The way most of us go is up I-94 to US 71. A later poster (at comment #123) points out you have to detour offI-94 to drive by the Holdingford city hall. Now, he could have said something like "I took the scenic route on CR-17" or something like that. But no. At comment #130:
When I drive through cities I often drive through their downtowns to see what is new - and I am usually looking for what is new in places to eat and drink. That is why I "detoured" through downtown Holdingford - not that I ever have to justify any of my actions for a twit like you. Tuesday I did drive by their City Hall just to see if the nativity scene was there again.
So let me understand this: On the day after Christmas, driving back from doing his work as a lawyer in a Todd County courtroom, the ex-mayor of St. Cloud decides to detour off I-94 for the expressed purpose to see if some small town has put a creche on public property. As the fellow discussing this with the ex-mayor said later,
[This] reminds me of the old maid that called the cops because she was upset that her male neighbor would walk nude in his apartment without pulling the shades.

The cops came and stated they can't see his window. "Oh you can," she said as she pulled a chair tight in the corner. "Stand on this and look sharply to your left"

There has been a sharp discussion around St. Cloud about neighboring Waite Park having a nativity scene in a city park -- paid for by private money, but erected and taken down by city employees with the other holiday decorations -- but until now nobody has caused the city of Waite Park to stop putting the display out. I'm certain the park will be on the next ACLU Solstice tour, with the ex-mayor taking tickets. "Be vewy kwiet. Cweche twacks..."