NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - An annual "Merry Christmas" sign on a North Andover fire station has been ordered removed.


Town officials told firefighters last week to take down the homemade sign after they said people complained.

Fire Chief William Martineau said Monday that the sign was made by firefighters about 50 years ago and never had been an issue before.

The order comes a week after selectmen voted to allow a menorah display on the town common for only one day instead of all eight days of Hanukkah. They said a new town common policy only allows displays to stay up for one day, no matter what they are.

Town Manager Mark Rees said the town's public buildings should not be displaying things specific to a particular religion.

___

Information from: Eagle Tribune, http://www.eagletribune.com

Related
Bah! Humbug!: Town outlaws Merry Christmas sign


Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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there has been no real critical appraisal on when and how the eight-pointed Maltese Cross was introduced into the Order of St John of Jerusalem and it has nothing to do with St. Florian (a Catholic thing).
should be jackass not jackdt its freedom of religion you f'ing MASSHOLE
Many Religious Right activists have attempted to rewrite history by asserting that the United States government derived from Christian foundations, that our Founding Fathers originally aimed for a Christian nation. This idea simply does not hold to the historical evidence.

Of course many Americans did practice Christianity, but so also did many believe in deistic philosophy. Indeed, most of our influential Founding Fathers, although they respected the rights of other religionists, held to deism and Freemasonry tenets rather than to Christianity.

And thus the problem with Christian Fundamentalism and America thinking they know so much.
THE COUNTRY WAS NOT FOUNDED ON CHRISTIAN BELIEFS! Get your history correct!
The United States Constitution serves as the law of the land for America and indicates the intent of our Founding Fathers. The Constitution forms a secular document, and nowhere does it appeal to God, Christianity, Jesus, or any supreme being. (For those who think the date of the Constitution contradicts the last sentence, see note 1 at the end.) The U.S. government derives from people (not God), as it clearly states in the preamble: "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union...." The omission of God in the Constitution did not come out of forgetfulness, but rather out of the Founding Fathers purposeful intentions to keep government separate from religion.

Although the Constitution does not include the phrase "Separation of Church & State," neither does it say "Freedom of religion." However, the Constitution implies both in the 1st Amendment. As to our freedoms, the 1st Amendment provides exclusionary wording:

Congress shall make NO law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. [bold caps, mine]

Thomas Jefferson made an interpretation of the 1st Amendment to his January 1st, 1802 letter to the Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association calling it a "wall of separation between church and State." Madison had also written that "Strongly guarded. . . is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution of the United States." There existed little controversy about this interpretation from our Founding Fathers.

If religionists better understood the concept of separation of Church & State, they would realize that the wall of separation actually protects their religion. Our secular government allows the free expression of religion and non religion. Today, religions flourish in America; we have more churches than Seven-Elevens.

Although many secular and atheist groups fight for the wall of separation, this does not mean that they wish to lawfully eliminate religion from society. On the contrary, you will find no secular or atheist group attempting to ban Christianity, or any other religion from American society. Keeping religion separate allows atheists and religionists alike, to practice their belief systems, regardless how ridiculous they may seem, without government intervention.
John Malcom,
How dare you attempt to use both logic and historical documentation to argue a point. Clearly you have no idea that these arguments are always based on a glaring lack of logic and an overabundance of zealotry and dogmatism.

May the Great Spaghetti Monster Bless You with HIS Noodley Appendage, Ra men. ;)
Every Fire Department in the states and every International Union MUST send these people a christmas card. They are getting rediculous with this. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE FROM CANADA

MERRY CHRISTMAS North Andover MASS.

a frost bitten canadian boy
Cool, you don't believe in the meaning of Christmas. All of you can work the HOLIDAY so the rest of us believers can have the day off with my family and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. Thank you
I SAY AGAIN IT WAS NOT A CONCEPT OF OUR FOUNDING FATHERS
"...prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." - isn't the order to take down the sign a prohibition as such? If everyone in the house agrees to put up said sign, why should they not have the right to do so? Just as if there was one dissenting voice, they would have to take it down out of respect. In 99% of cases, people are tolerant enough that even if part of the crew were non-religious, or of a different one, they'd take no issue with the sign going up. What tears us apart is the radicals on both sides of the fence.
Jack, The hardship for the non-christian firefighter comes when the majority of his fellow firefighters elect to display a sign and he has to go along as real part of his team or be the station whiner. The Constitution has tried to assure us that there will be no single official American church and that each of us will not be punished for practicing our religion of choice. Ours is a freedom of religion and not a freedom from it. I believe it is less a problem of religion than it is a problem of watching traditional values slip away at every turn. Many of those values are based on long standing and time honored religious concepts. So, when people call for the restoration of those moral and ethical values, it is the religious flag (and mostly Christian) they find themselves waving. You and I have been here before. I've kept my word. You are in my prayers. I'm not off to Wal-Mart. I'm off to celebrate the birth of Christ. Merry Christmas friend.
Reply by john clare 12 minutes ago
should be jackass not jackdt its freedom of religion you f'ing MASSHOLE


John Clare, I can take being called a jackass or a f'ing MASSHOLE, it's no bother to me. Enjoyably you more than anyone else that has responded has clearly proven why both this argument and attitudes like yours are the problem. So many have cried that it was intolerance that forced the signs from the station yet you have so crystal clearly shown the depth and extent that religious intolerance truly is. Congratulations for proving the point better than anyone else. You are a gleaming example of religious intolerance and arrogance wrapped up in one remarkable piece of steaming christian spirit.
ok...that's it...where are the people that complained ?...they have to do it behind the "backs" of the good people that still believe in a Merry Christmas no matter what...this country is "goin to hell in a hand basket"...heaven help us...and may the good Lord look down and see the people that still believe...and will wish EVERYBODY to have a Merry Christmas !!!!!

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