Too Much Christmas At The Beaver County Courthouse?

"Merry Christmas" In The Bureau of Elections

“Merry Christmas” In The Bureau of Elections

A small group of Beaver County residents tell the Beaver Countian they intend to take action over what they say is the unconstitutional endorsement of Christianity at the Courthouse.

A stroll through the Beaver County Courthouse reveals itself to be in full holiday cheer. Decorated trees adorning the lobby, the second floor rotunda, and the public meeting room where Commissioners hold their monthly meetings. Several row offices within the building contain decorated trees of their own. Wreaths can also be seen throughout the building, including outside of the Commissioners’ offices.

Many of the trees in the courthouse are decorated with secular ornaments, like the tree in the main lobby which is sponsored by Pamela Tesla, who is the wife of Beaver County Judge Kim Tesla. That tree helps to raise money for the American Cancer Society, and was set up by Mrs. Tesla with the permission of County Commissioners in remembrance of her parents who died from cancer. The tree will be adorned with ornaments containing “the names of loved ones in remembrance or in honor of those struck with cancer,” in exchange for $5 donations. Clerk of Courts Judy Enslen is collecting those funds.

In other locations of the courthouse, the holiday decorations are far less subtle or secular.

Signs saying “Merry Christmas” and similar greetings are hung in many locations, including in the Bureau of Elections. A nativity scene sits next to a decorated tree in the Prothonotary’s office. Santas are displayed in abundance

On December 15th a group of citizens will be hosting a live nativity on the courthouse steps. Sponsored by the Steel Valley Patriots, that all-day event will feature Scripture readings, Christmas hymns, and hot chocolate. Commissioners have compared the event to a demonstration or protest as a rational for approving the use of County property for the gathering. As a condition for use of the property, signs will be displayed as in the past which read “Event Sponsored By Steel Valley Patriots” and “The county does not endorse or oppose this event.”

That annual nativity event has gone largely without protest, with the exception of one man who held up a sign during its first year.

In what Commissioners have called a matter of Beaver County tradition, a Christian prayer can also be heard before each public meeting with rotating clergy provided to the County by the group Christians United.

A group of citizens from Beaver County tell the Beaver Countian it’s all become far too much. The individuals say they’ll be filing a formal complaint, alleging the County has overstepped its bounds and has violated provisions of the US Constitution which establish a separation between church and state. The individuals, who asked not to be identified by name because they fear a possible backlash, say the case law is clear, County officials know better, and that they intend to hold elected leaders accountable for using public facilities to endorse a particular religion… namely Christianity.

But despite two weeks passing since the group first contacted the Beaver Countian, a search of civil court records shows no formal complaint has been filed in the local courts — several attorneys the Beaver Countian spoke to said the residents would likely have to forgo their anonymity to proceed formally against the County.

The County’s law department told the Beaver Countian they haven’t received any complaints from citizens either.

The Beaver Countian will be following further developments with this story, should they actually further develop.

Nativity in the Prothonotary's Office

Nativity in the Prothonotary’s Office

94 comments

  • If it’s ok to decorate for St. Patrick’s day & Valentine’s Day, why not Christmas…

      • So again, Lou, I will state the obvious….

        They are NOT RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS. At one point, St. Patricks day was, but Valentines day, was not. Actually, it was a pagan festival.
        All they are, are big money making days for Hallmark and jewelry stores, no more, and no less.
        Comparing St. Pats and Valentines to Christmas is like comparing kiwi fruit and apples. NOT EVEN CLOSE TO THE SAME THING.

  • People should have the right to display their beliefs regardless. I doubt you’d ask us about any other religion celebrating with religious displays.

  • not enough in my opinion.people are trying to do away with traditions that have been in effect for generations just because they dont like it.sad sad world we live in today.

  • people are ridiculous.. i bet these same people who are compaining, had their houses decorated up for Halloween… maybe some people find that offensive.. nobody told them to take their stuff down.. this is just another part of the pussification of america… everybody is offended by any and everything that they don’t agree with… get over yourselves people.. if you don’t like it, don’t pay attention to it.. for the people compaining: i don’t think a sign that reads “Merry Christmas” is doing much harm to you.. i mean, afterall, you brought your face into the courthouse and nobody wanted to see that…

  • Who gives a damn what others think? Are you people free or are you believing in something that someone else convinced you of? Defensiveness betrays many things but especially insecurity! I celebrate the Yuletide because it’s what I believe….please try and do the same based in your own beliefs. Merry Christmas to you and yours. :-)

    • Of course, why should anyone give a damn about what anyone else thinks? It’s all about self in this wonderfully self centered world we live in. It’s all about “me me me , and what can you do for me, etc etc”. Who gives a shit about what anyone else thinks, right?

      Yeah, and nobody can figure out why kids these days are so fucking self centered, and think the universe revolves around them…..

  • It could only be interpreted as unconstitutional if the courthouse allowed for Christmas decorations, but disallowed an employee from celebrating another religion. People should be allowed to celebrate how they wish as long as it doesn’t interfere with operations or the facility.

    The group who is so opposed to this is clearly very weak minded. Being offended is nothing more than a weakness. Someone who gets offended over something as simple as a scripture reading or a Christmas tree obviously has never had to overcome any real adversity in their lives. If they had, they would realize that they are wasting their precious energy and time “fighting” against something that really just is not a big deal. Life is too short to be so pissed off by something so irrelevant.

    It makes me wonder, do these people exchange gifts on xmas day? Do they get a paid day off? I wonder if they have any qualms about those traditions.

    • Lest we forget here is the text of the 1st Amendment:

      “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.”

      We often forget the second part of the first phrase of that amendment: “Congress shall make no law … prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

      Individuals working for the government decorating their work-space to display their own beliefs, or citizens using the “public” areas to express their beliefs is not the same as the government sponsoring, endorsing, or otherwise promoting any thing… instead the gov’t is doing as it should by not “prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

      Apparently it is not “self-evident” that it is the citizens, and not the government is sponsoring these displays, so a sign must be displayed explaining this.

      • The government is condoning it, by permitting it. That is “self-evident”.

  • Didn’t even read the article yet. My 1st thought reading the title was….You can never have too much Christmas.

  • Sweet, does this mean I should switch from bottles to cans tonight? I could make a hell of a festivus wizard staff/pole.

  • Race baiting or christian trolling…which article is gonna have the most grammatically entertaining comment section. Go!

    • Which was a holy day STOLEN by the “Christians” from the wiccans/heathens, bastardized, and used for their own “Christian” agenda.
      Do you SERIOUSLY believe that Jesus was born on Christmas? WOW….the ignorance abounds here.

      I’d tell y’all to go do some study and background into it, but you won’t. Y’all are more of the “OMG THEY DON’T BELIEVE IN GOD SO THEY MUST BE HEATHENS AND MUST DIE” type of people.
      Good luck with that….

  • We’re ruining this great country and it’s good traditions, one offended person at a time. So sad that we pander to less than 3% of the population like this…

  • My thoughts …. My thoughts ….. Well my thoughts are …. Thank GOD that the Beaver County courthouse hasn’t seen fit to take Christ out of Christmas , like the rest of this obamanized nation has !!!

  • I think they should ban the people who want to ban the things I don’t want banned, IE. Christmas, “In God we trust”, nativity scenes, 10 commandments, menorah’s.. Tho they should take one corner of the courthouse and not decorate it for the Atheist…

  • I understand the separation between government and religion but Christmas is the majority’s decision…. if they were forcing it on people I would feel different….

  • We should be allowed to promote our freedom of religion and speech!! Enough is enough!! We have rights too! We should not have to bend to atheists’ beliefs!! I think it’s time we file complaints against these people who take away OUR rights! MERRY CHRIST-MAS!!!!

  • Actually the Constitution says nothing about the “separation of church and state”. That was made up out of thin air. The First Amendment actually reads “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” Crazy Liberals like to ignore the second part “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. That means you can’t prevent people from practicing their religion. That’s all that is going on at the courthouse. The free exercise of religion.

    • Why, so that you pseudo-Christians can steal that holiday too, bastardize it, and call it your own, just like y’all did with Christmas?

  • You semi-educated monkeys wouldn’t know the constitution if it bit your pussy lips. Slowbama thinks he is a constitutional scholar too.

  • It needs a Festivus Pole and a black Santa. See if you can rally a Satanist. Even the Hindi’s. We need Hare Krishna’s. Taoists. Tell Mr. B to erect a big Star of David. I think the war on Christmas is a big fucking joke. Happy Holidays everyone!

  • They should put up a festivus pole and a manorah.
    BTW for the keep Christ in Christmas people, Christmas was stolen from the pagans years and years ago, so saying keep Christ in Christmas is really not right to say.
    Also it’s a courthouse so all you who say “shall not be infringed” it works both ways. We have freedom of religion, so having one religion represented is kinda like forcing it upon others. You can go to whatever church you want and have a live nativity, but keep it away from a government. Why not just go across the street into the park?

    • THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I was sooo starting to lose hope that there was anyone that was educated here in Beaver County!

    • And also, there is “freedom OF religion, and freedom FROM religion”….but nobody really pays attention to that part, because it doesn’t help with whatever agendas they have going at the moment.

    • Displaying religious artifacts, or signs on public land does not establish a “state religion” nor even a sponsorship of religion. Passing a law (local, state, or federal) telling me that I had to go to a specific church, or doing a specific religious thing or face penalty or jail time… THAT would be sponsoring a religion. The 1st amendment was created to prevent what had happened in England (Church of England) at that time from happening here. I’m not familiar with a “church of beaver county” or even “Church of Beaver” that we must all attend/support or get our heads chopped off… or did I miss something?

      The public square should be open to ALL religions to share and promote. The gov’t should not censor, but instead create an open forum for all to use and celebrate. (my opinion)

  • The blatant disregard for not forcing any one religion in a public forum scares me. What scares me even more is that you sheeple are completely content with it. I love the fact when something you don’t agree with happens it’s obamas fault too. I’m not his biggest fan but he’s not a scape goat. You know there are two other branches of government, right? In my opinion, displaying religious symbols in a public place is the same blatant disregard of other people’s rights. It’s like going to a public space and there not being any wheelchair access or handicap accessible bathrooms. It’s just not right.

  • @ conrad … The word christmas means Christ’s Mass…. Thus Christ being the root word …. December 25′th was just a day we picked to celebrate because nobody really knows to true date of Christ’s birth .

  • this country was founded based on majority rule with minority rights. Unfortunately we have let the liberal politicans and media take over and now it has been turned completely around. I say we need more Christmas decorations EVERYWHERE.

  • I agree Ron. You know this country is over 200 yrs old and it was founded on Biblical principles and because those principles aren’t being followed today, our country is in a mess. Merry Christmas.

  • These comments are 99℅ positive. Why are you creating a problem where there apparently isn’t one? Is the ‘small group’ you?

  • The government should eliminate Christmas as a paid holiday for all government employees. Federal, State and all local government employees. That will solve the problem of the made up “separation of state and religion” clause. If you don’t show up for work, your FIRED! Problem solved. :omg:

  • So, if they are allowed to have Christian displays, then what about displays for our religious beliefs?

    When do I get to see a display for Ramendan and Pastover, along with a display of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, so that he may bless us all with his noodly appendage? We Pastafarians would like to be included also! We would hate to believe that our wonderful county of Beaver would be discriminating against us!
    May peace be with all of you, during this joyous Holiday! R’amen!

    • Excellent post Jennifer! The best! After reading some of the other “comments” yours is the one that many people should pay attention to.

      Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to ALL! That goes for EVERYONE! Christians, Non-Christians, non-believers, UFOologists, The Walking Dead, and the guy who has to clean up after the party!

  • I think its funny that The Beavercountian felt it OK to mention the new owner of the blue Steel in Monaca and even report that he said “do not use my name in your article” yet will not mention who the people are that made this complaint!!! Could it be that he wrote this simply for circulation?? He is making up news to get more readers!!! I don’t believe you would mention Kenny Evens said not to use him in your article and use his quote, but you won’t mention what assholes want to play the religion card at the court house… Shame on you..

  • There are some posters on this site who view themselves as celebrities or special guest stars. It would be nice if the editor ran a sort of curriculum vitae on these folks- with or without naming them. They are such experts on everything that it would be nice to see their education and accomplishments listed. One wonders if they are just the usual BC barstool philosophers or if they have or are actually doing something productive in this area. My guess is most can be found at one of the many and varied social clubs holding court while waiting on their back injury disability check and lamenting how the system is broken and life done them wrong. Let’s see their credentials to opine and lambaste.

    On the topic at hand, it is good to see the county government blow off this particular constitutional point. Unfortunately, they tend to extend that to most rulings…
    Merry Christmas & God Bless you all.

  • Oh, and I think you will find most people would have no problem with Nikki P’s listing of other displays provided that they are unobtrusive, tasteful, nonthreatening and if the spelling of the holiday was correct- unlike most of those in her post.
    Those who are labeled as intolerant for being pissed about the war on Christmas tend to be far more tolerant than those who bitch and complain that they can’t tolerate Christmas displays or greetings. Tolerance is a two way street and those who preach it tend to see it as one way. Happy-whatever holiday you choose to celebrate- that denotes good toward your fellow man. As long as you are practicing a belief that is founded in goodness, decorate and greet as you see fit and I will view it as expressing goodwill toward me- even though I believe differently!
    Could the spaghetti monster display have alla vodka sauce?

    • @Ivan E: Sweetie, do yourself a favor, and google “Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster”.
      Everything that I stated in my post was spelled correctly. Pastafarian, Ramendan, Pastover, and R’amen.

      What I find to be terribly hypocritical is in October, the BeaverCountian ran a story about the employees dressing up for Halloween, and everyone was all up in arms about it! How this was just a waste of money, and how these people were running the county into the ground, etc, etc, etc.
      Fast forward a few months, and here, we have Christmas. Now instead of just a few employees dressing up, we have displays in all different areas of the courthouse. Where are all the people who were bitching and moaning about how the county was being run into the ground by employees who dressed up in costumes for one day?? How is this different than the Halloween issue?
      You have these different displays, which I’m sure there are some that have holiday lights and such on them, which need electricity to operate…..well, how is that not an extra expense to the county of Beaver? Not to mention upkeep with the displays, to make sure that they are within fire codes and all the decorations are within safety guidelines. Who pays for all that extra work?
      All that…..AND YET THERE WERE PEOPLE BITCHING LEFT AND RIGHT, ALL BECAUSE A FEW EMPLOYEES DRESSED UP FOR ONE FUCKING DAY OUT OF THE YEAR, DUE TO TRADITION.
      If you ever need to see a real world example of hypocrisy, look no further than the Beaver County Courthouse, and the commenting section of the BeaverCountian. It’s chock full of every example you would ever need…….

    • Oh, and I neglected to mention, I don’t practice anything, or have a belief system in place. Why should I? Now, if you feel it necessary to pray and believe in your invisible sky god, have at, but why should I have to deal with those gaudy ass decorations??

  • Upon further review, I retract the spelling portion of that comment. Well played on that- shocked I didn’t pick up on it. Can’t argue the hypocrisy in the world. You got me there. All I can do is try not to be part of it. I also couldn’t care less if the dressed for Halloween or any other holiday given the same parameters of my previous post. No problem in you not believing in a higher power and I hope both of us end up in a good place in the afterlife. Please don’t be offended if I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

    • Ivan, I take absolutely NO offense to it, and I also wish you the same. I tell people wherever I may be, if I’m shopping, or whatnot, to have a nice holiday, or a merry Christmas, etc. My belief system is a very complicated one, and i’m comfortable with that. My point mostly was to point out the hypocrisy that was occurring.

      I do wish you and yours a safe and joyous Holiday season, and a very happy New Year.

  • @Nikki P, do yourself a favor sweetie and go decorate your workplace with whatever religious or non-religious propaganda you wish; it might even get you more attention than useless comments on here!

    • You missed the entire point of that.

      Let me see if I can simplify it any more…

      HALLOWEEN: everyone freaks out because some employees dress up for the holiday. Not costing the taxpayers any money, or doing causing any harm, yet people were bitching left and right.
      CHRISTMAS: courthouse has decorations everywhere, costs the taxpayers due to the fact that the displays MUST be maintained, kept within fire codes, and is a drain on resources and utilities.

      Yeah, your right. Absolutely useless comment. If you can’t see the hypocrisy now, then I’m truly sorry, I can’t help you.

    • Also, I neglected to mention, that by having said displays, the county is just opening themselves up for a possible lawsuit.

  • Nikki p I understand that you get a kick out of this. You enjoy conversation and getting reactions from your comments. Just me posting this will prompt you to come up with some kind of devils advocate response just for the sake of conversation. I don’t mind it, that’s what the comment section is for.

    The truth is most of the decorations that people put up in the court house are donated or are decorations purchased and hung by them, with their own pay checks to decorate there work space. Who knows what type of budget has been put in place for holiday decorations? Would it be hard to find out exactly how much tax money is being used for yearly holiday decorations?

    Either way, the people who are complaining about this are over steeping just for attention. They are worried about the ratio of other nationality’s decorations to the ones up for christmas, when they should be worried about more important things.

    Although they may not believe in Christ, or christmas, they must be tolerant of the people who work and go to the court house who do.. As for law suits nobody has posted anywhere that they can’t decorate the courthouse with there own religious or non religious holiday decorations. Everybody has the equal opportunity to decorate.

    • I could care less about the decorations. The point I was attempting to make, was on Halloween, employees dressed up, cost the county nothing. Christmas, it obviously costs the county something.
      Also, the lawsuit portion of my statement wasn’t in regards to someone suing, due to religious beliefs, it was geared more towards if someone possibly could be injured by one of the displays, say, a small child who’s parents weren’t paying attention, or something like that. Personally, I could give a shit less if the courthouse looked like the Griswolds from “Christmas vacation”, my point was the HYPOCRISY, and the double standards.

  • I have nothing to say but (WOW)! To many opinions and not enough compassion for time honored traditions. God bless everyone and I see no problem in keeping Christ in Christmas.