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December 4, 2008 4:22 PM

War on Christmas: Holiday displays crowd Washington state Capitol building

Posted by Kate Riley

Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times

Some people check out a sign posted by the Freedom From Religion Foundation at Washington's Capitol Monday. The sign reads in part, "Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds" and is meant to counter the nativity scene (at right) a local Christian put up in the same day.

Welcome to the Northwest Voices online community's current discussion,

The state of Washington's policy to permit displays honoring winter holidays at the state Capitol has made the national talk shows. After a Seattle Times story this week, Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly took after Gov. Chris Gregoire for permitting an atheist group to put up a display next to a Nativity scene depicting the Christmas story and a menorah, commemorating the eight-day Jewish festival of Hanukkah. Then, other commentators including MSNBC's Keith Olberman criticized O'Reilly for his views.

As the issue heated up, we asked our new Northwest Voices online community the following question:

Should any religious symbols be displayed on government property? Or do you think the state has adopted the right policy?

Read their responses below and leave your own. If you would like to be part of the Northwest Voices online community, send me an email:

The governor's office reported receiving about 200 phone calls an hour Wednesday.

At the heart of the controversy is the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which had a press conference Monday and placed a sign in the Capitol that read in part:

"Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

Friday's Times editorial takes the position that the sign should stay: "The more the merrier. God bless them, everyone."

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