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‘Keep Christ In Christmas’ Sign Stirs Controversy In South Jersey Town

By Robin Rieger

PITMAN, N.J. (CBS) — Some residents of a South Jersey town are calling a Knights of Columbus banner that hangs over Broadway in Pitman, a sign of the season.

It reads “Keep Christ in Christmas.”

“I think it’s wonderful, Christ is Christmas,” said Maria Marandino of Vineland.

Some unnamed residents who live in Pitman and who believe the sign that hangs across Main Street violates the Constitution, contacted the Freedom from Religion Foundation in Wisconsin that promotes separation of church and state. The group’s consultant told Eyewitness News by phone that they’ve asked the town to remove the sign.

“It’s a group endorsing religion over a public right of way,” said Andrew Seidel, the group’s constitutional consultant.

The town’s mayor says the sign is attached to private property and hanging over a county road.

“I think it’s a sad state of affairs that our country, we kowtow to the minority and not the majority of people who like that sort of thing to stay,” said Mayor Michael Batten.

Some residents say a nativity scene was removed from a Christmas display because the park it was displayed in is Pitman’s property.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation says they will look for private property in Pitman now to hang their sign, which reads:

“At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds,” said Seidel.

Anna Dora Shipley said the sign has been hung every Christmas in the 45 years she’s been here. She doesn’t like the Foundation’s sign but says they have a right to put it up.

“Just don’t take mine down,” said Shipley.

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  • chaffer

    As a Christian, many public venues, media, advertising contain things which offend me, but I don’t somehow think I own the world, nor do I seek to sterilize it from everything I don’t like. The Freedom From Religion people need to stop whining and grow up.

    • Mary

      Thank you! Not only that, but the “Keep Christ in Christmas” sign isn’t offensive and rude as the Ascetic Atheists groups’ is.

  • Earl Taylor

    Why is it always the majority that suffer from these kinds of things…it is time for the people to say “I AM MAD AS HELL, AND AM NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE”..If the one person that does not like the sign, would just not look at it, things would be fine.,..To that sign hater …MERRY CHRISTMAS….

  • Chris

    Christmas IS about Christ. We stole it from a pagan holiday initially, and then it was founded in the US as a holiday to celebrate the birth of Christ.

    IF you wish to celebrate this holiday WITH us, then you are welcome to do so. However, do not attempt to belittle, malign, edit, or destroy the purpose of the holiday in the process. If that is your view point, then perhaps you don’t need to celebrate Christmas with the rest of us. Perhaps you need to start a holiday of your own, called something else, not Christmas.

    • Mary

      Actually, you have the history of Christmas being celebrated in December mixed up a bit, but that’s not really important.

    • Ace915

      They have one already on April 1st of every year!

  • Teddy

    If I have to look at abortion clinics and needle exchanges every day when I’m walking around downtown, I think you libs can handle a banner one month out of the year.

    • Gay Lib

      I couldn’t agree more!

      In fact, I will let you sing Christmas carols in school if we can end the war on drugs.

      • chaffer

        “LET you…” ???

      • Swibbie

        Oh how nice. “Gay Lib” is going to “let” me sing Christmas carols in school.s. FYI, I don’t need your permission to do that, I will not ask for your permission to do that, and I WILL do that as much and as long as I like.

        If you don’t like it, don’t listen. Apparently you are good at not listening, because you must have slept through civics class.

      • jasperddbgghost

        Infection: Gay Lib

        Cure: Curb Stomp.

  • Maggie

    Christmas is the celebration of the birth of the only Son of God; His name is Jesus and Amen!

    • Chumley

      I am a son of god.

      • Stephen Wilkins

        Let’s see you do some water walking.

  • Don Mendonsa

    it is OFFENSIVE as an American to have MY American Culture spat upon. CHRISTmas is part of our American culture. Too many are offending us Americans when they try and replace it with “Holiday” Holiday refers to CHRISTmas and New Years combined. There are NO Holiday gifts or Holiday Lights, they are Christmas Gifts and Christmas Lights and Christmas tree etc. Please EVERYONE push back on anyone “all of the media and a large part of commerce” that has removed the word Christmas and offensively replaced it with Holiday. DO NOT let this element disrespect our Culture as Americans. Anyone else is Free to celebrate their culture on OUR land, but they have NO right to try and Change our Culture on Our land !!!

    • Gay Lib

      What about Hanukah?

      I get gifts for Hanukah

      • snuffy

        You’re gay AND a liberal. Boy you really do have issues, lol.

      • jasperddbgghost

        Someone took a dump on this Phaggot’s Menorah.

  • JustAGuy

    What would these “unnamed residents” want? Merry ______mas?


    Not only have the militant atheists been attacking Christianity, but Muslims are getting intio the act too.

    • CKAinRedStateUSA

      Perhaps they could tolerate “Merry Little Holiday,” which is the phrase that Caribou Coffee is pushing.———-And they could play records of Bing Crosby singing that old favorite “Have Yourself a Merry Little Holiday.”———Or “I’m Dreaming of a White Merry Little Holiday.”——–Or they could see that classic movie “A Merry Little Holiday Carol.”———-Or read from the Dr. Seuss classic “How the Grinch Stole Merry Little Holiday.”———-Or attend a reading of that classic poem “Twas the Night Before Merry Little Holiday.”———Or sing that German carol “O Merry Little Holiday Tree.”———-Or sing that 1950s favorite “All I Want For Merry Little Holiday Is My Two Front Teeth.”————-Or . . . . . .

  • T. Williams

    “At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds,” said Seidel.

    So, Seidel, it’s ok to force your opinion/belief system on others. Double standards is what I call that. As a person who celebrates the Solstice, your message disgusts me.

  • Gilbert from Arizona

    FYI: Lord is the title. As Dr. or Mr. Jesus is Yeshua or Joshua in Hebrew which means God saves. This is Jesus’ only name. Christ is Kristos in Greek which means Messiah. The Christmas Day is only for Lord Jesus Christ. No one else. One and only one holiday here. As a Christian, I really think Christians should celebrate the resurrection of Jesus more than any other. Every man is born, every man dies, but only one, the Son of Man is resurrected. If we didn’t have the resurrection of Christ, then there would be no Christianity. This truly makes Jesus God.
    Merry Messiahmas

    • Cpl Chaos


    • CKAinRedStateUSA

      Agree re: Resurrection Day.———–To most Christians I know, that is the holiest day of the year.———But, alas, without Christmas, whenever the Messiah was born, there never could’ve been Resurrection Day.

  • Jason

    Typical Liberal trash. Another day, another hate story, different topic yet the same philosophy. Why do Liberals hate this country and hate God so much I wonder? They really are very much cut from the same cloth as Al-Qaeda and they don’t even see it.

    • Caleb Everett

      Al-Qaeda is a religious organization. If the town allows the Christ sign over the road shouldn’t they have to allow the Freedom from religion groups sign as well (assuming business owners were ok with it)?

      • Isaac

        You are really crossing the line there! First off, educate yourself, read the Quran and please find a text within it that justifies what Al-Qaeda promotes, you won’t. Talk to any educated Muslim who speaks Arabic and therefore can read the Quran in its original text and you will find Al-Qaeda goes against everything that the Quran stands for.

      • jasperddbgghost

        Someone took a dump in Isaac’s stocking.

    • george

      I think it’s because liberalism IS a religion.

  • Disgusted

    How about, if you’re offended, don’t look at it?
    If you want a winter holiday “kind” of like Christmas, by all means have one and name it something appropriate like “Insane Compulsive Gift Giving Day”.
    This IS a religious holiday, like it or not, no matter how hard you try to secularize it.

  • Jesus

    Hang your sign in Wisconsin, Seidel. In YOUR town. We don’t celebrate the “Season of the Winter Solstice” in Pitman, NJ – In fact, there is no such thing.

  • Christmas sign controversy - TeamstersOnline

    […] […]

  • Santa Clause

    Christmas, it’s a Christian Holiday. Don’t celebrate it if you don’t believe in it. And having a sign celebrating it, and expressing what the holiday is about is not pushing any type of religious views on anyone. I think persecuting people who want to celebrate it for what it is about, the birth of Jesus, is medieval. We can have black history month, even though its exclusive, we can have independence day, which can be taken sensitively by the English, we can have thanksgiving even though we all know what has happened to the native Americans, St Valentine’s day everyone seems ok with… However when it comes to Christmas, the big corporations are out to make money, and they can’t just depend on Christians during the month of December to do it, so they need to appeal to all. And thus the seed is implanted into people’s minds to lobby for this idea by expressing that this holiday is some type of taboo holiday all of a sudden. I just laugh when you need to be tolerant to everyone’s race, sexual preference, and religion…unless it has to do with Christianity or Catholism.

    • everett

      If you are going to argue for Christmas as a christian holiday don’t have a tree, give gifts or tell you kids about Santa or his reindeer. And probably don’t have it during historical Saturnalia. Before Jesus was born there was a roman holiday that occurred the week leading up to dec 25. The holiday involved the pagan tradition of decorating trees, rape and ritual sacrifice. Gifts come from Saturnalia, mistletoe comes from the norse, Santa is a pagan tradition.

      • Gina

        Wrong!!! Do a little research before you leave a reply. Check out Saint Nicholas. He was a wonderful Catholic bishop.

      • Isaac

        That was prior to the Catholic church adopting the holiday and modifying it. You can twist and tweek everything into anything. It is not what the holiday once stood for, but rather what it stands for today and has for a longer time than it existed as a pegan Roman Holiday. All Christians know or atleast should, that it is more likely that Christ was actually born during the late summer or early fall. It does not change the fact that the day has for many years been about the celebration of the birth of christ. Glad to see you know how to use google though there smart one!

      • jasperddbgghost

        Someone took a dump in everett’s stocking.

      • Jeremy

        Who cares about what it was in the past. Totally irrelevant to what people relate to now. Does not change a thing about it being Christmas and what better event to replace a pagan festival of all things. The church has taken hymns that were written according to bar tunes. There have been other similar adoptions like rock music and who knows what else that was used to reach people who were otherwise off the track.

  • JoeIndustry

    “It’s a group endorsing religion over a public right of way,” said Andrew Seidel, the group’s constitutional consultant. If you take this to the next level, this group would object to bumper stickers on cars that use or park on the public right of way. Go Knights of Columbus!

  • TCS

    First-Let the unnamed come forward. The accused has a right to face the accuser. GUTLESS
    2nd.What does Wis have to do with what Pa. does.

  • Charmaine

    Here we go again with the evil one deeds!Poeple need to stop with this Atheists type thinking! Mind your business and move on! You do not own that property where the sign hangs.Whta is the problem if it was hanging there all those years? That is what is wrong in this world! There is too much evil and hate,the evil rearing thier ugly head and it always seems to be around before Christmas comes!we need sprituality more then ever now of all the terrible things happened throughout 2011!Let us pray!

  • Jen

    “Unnamed Residents” complaining?! Don’t have the courage to complain – reminds me of the muslim terrorists that are always covering their faces – true cowards at best

  • iGreg

    I have a gesture I would like to make to the anti-Christians out there who can do nothing but hate Christianity. I like to refer to the gesture as the “fickle-finger-of-fate.”

  • larsw

    If it said let’s keep “Muhammad in Mecca” no one would have noticed or said anything. THAT’s how you know Jesus is real!

  • omstrat

    as usual have no idea what the Constitution says about religion. It simply says there can not be a state religion. It does not say anything about anyone expressing their beliefs publicly. This is always a leftist ploy because they believe the government is God .

    • Bruce

      No, According to them there is No God

    • Bill Diller

      Exactly! Our nation’s sad state is the result of this craziness.

    • T. Williams

      Lots of people love to scream Constitutional Rights when they think it’s convenient, despite not knowing the limitations of those rights.

      It’s simultaneously amusing and disgusting.

    • attitudijudi

      You are correct. There cannot be a a government religion. There is no law in the Constitution that enforces separation of church and state. If there was no Christmas then the whining athiests would not have Christmas vacations or good Christmas vacation movies. I feel very sad for these people. They have no soul.

  • Jim

    It sounds like the representative from the foundation is the one with the hard heart

  • Eric

    Just because the city endorses it doesn’t mean that the constitution prohibits the sign. The constitution was designed to keep the federal government from forcing religious views down our throats. Each state was intended to to have the right to endorse religious views, if they want. Each state was a different sect of Christianity during the drafting of the constitution, no state wanted any other to tell them how to worship.

  • jake

    The millions of Christian Latin American immigrants/aliens now living in the US are laughing at you and your silly predictions.

  • lvh

    Enough already.
    MERRY CHRISTmas :)

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