"It's all or nothing in these cases," he said. "If the government opens up and creates a limited forum, it can't practice viewpoint discrimination. But it can say, well, we're not going to have any.... There has to be a level playing field in the public sphere."
Since 1953, the coalition each December has erected a tableau of scenes depicting the birth of Jesus Christ.
A few years ago, the tradition offended Damon Vix, an atheist, who applied to put up a booth next to the Nativity story. Last year, he encouraged other atheists to flood the city with applications, including a satirical homage to the "Pastafarian religion" featuring a representation of the "Flying Spaghetti Monster."
To keep things fair and legal, the city held a lottery to parcel out slots. Atheists won 18 of 21 spaces. A Jewish group won another. The Nativity story that traditionally took up 14 displays was jammed into two.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Santa Monica may bar Nativity scenes in public areas, judge rules
I think the churches ought to sue the Atheists for conspiring against them. And I think the judge is completely wrong. But, hey, what do I know?