After Iowa city modifies Nativity, angry pastor claims critics want to "kill Christ"
Pastor Adam Todd spent Christmas Eve spreading lies about atheists
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A Christian pastor in Iowa is furious that a Nativity scene outside a government building was modified to include Santa after an atheist pointed out how it was illegal for them to promote only Christianity.
Earlier this month, I wrote about how the city of Toledo had this display of the birth of Jesus outside the fire department:
Atheist Justin Scott was driving through the area when he saw that and knew it wasn’t permitted under the law. He contacted the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which sent a letter to city, and despite protests from conservative Christians in the area (and the elected officials themselves), the city eventually modified the display to include Santa and a reindeer.
I said weeks ago that there’s an argument to be made that this still a Christian-only display because it went from promoting the faith to promoting the commercialization of the faith... but since case law isn’t strong here, the city can probably get away with it.
Justin’s reaction at the time was about as kind as it could have been. He didn’t gloat. He spoke as if this was an innocent mistake that just required a small correction:
“I don’t believe there’s any ill intent by the city of Toledo,” Scott told Des Moines station KCCI-TV. “I think it was just something that was nice, it was a nice gesture by a nice family. They put it up and nobody bothered to notice that it was actually a constitutional violation.”
He was right about the law; the original display was illegal. He also didn’t tell the city to put Santa in the display. That was their decision to avoid creating an open forum where any group could request their own displays be erected in the same area.
None of that mattered to Pastor Adam Todd of Solid Rock Bible Church, also in Toledo.
On Christmas Eve, Todd railed against Justin and claimed the modified display was an example of people trying to murder Jesus.
I was gonna bring it up later in sermon. I'll bring it up right now. You know the coward that wanted to take the Nativity down here at the fire station? When they asked him for a comment: I never intended for nobody to take it down!
BS. That's what that is. A liar. I never intended for them to have to take it down. Sure you did! You just wanted to cause problems! But you’re gonna act like it was a noble—You never meant no harm. Sure you did! You act noble but have evil in your hearts…
An out-of-town evil man sticks his nose somewhere it had no place… just to demean Christ... He doesn't care about Santa. He just wants Santa to be up there to make a mockery of the Nativity, to demean it. So he can go around saying It’s just two imaginary fairy tales now.
That's why he's around. He sees it as a victory because he could put an imaginary creature, Santa, beside our Nativity. And in his mind, he's won, because he's just demeaned and defaced our Nativity.
You know, next year, I told my family, by next year, we need to have us something that’d fit in, same style, to go with our Nativity. We ought to have, over here, lurking in the shadows, a King Herod, with a knife, looking to kill Baby Jesus, and then tell everybody that's the representation for atheists. That way we're all inclusive, we represent everybody.
And we can represent atheists by having King Herod over here. We can represent Satanists by having King Herod over here trying to stab little baby Jesus, because that's all that's going on.
I mean, I'm dead serious. We ought to do that! King Herod has a place in every Nativity and he represents the atheists and the cowards and the Satanists because all they're trying to do is kill Christ.
That’s the true spirit of Christmas right there: A depiction of King Herod trying to kill Jesus, representing the atheists and Satanists who… just want government officials to follow the law.
Needless to say, Adam Todd is lying and exaggerating in the name of Baby Jesus because reality isn’t working in his favor.
Justin didn’t intend to take down the Nativity. He correctly said the Nativity, as it stood, was illegal on government property. The city could add non-Christian elements to it (which they eventually did, sort of), allow other groups to apply to put displays in the same area, or have no displays at all. They chose Option #1. Justin didn’t “deface” the display; if adding Santa is that offensive to this pastor, then he should blame the city for making that decision.
Justin didn’t demean Christ either. If anything, city officials did by tying Jesus to government and making the Nativity a cause for controversy, detracting from the message of that story.
Adding King Herod to the same display, by the way, wouldn’t make it “inclusive” no matter what this guy thinks it symbolizes. Adding more Christian fiction to a display of Christian fiction still makes it Christian fiction.
None of these groups are trying to “kill” Christ because none of the groups he mentioned think about Christ that much to begin with. Adam Todd is so desperate to feel persecuted, he turned a simple legal question into a murder mystery.
If adding Santa to a Nativity display threatens his religion that much, his faith must not be very strong to begin with.
Ultimately, this sermon is just symbolic of how batshit crazy some people can get when their sacred cows are called out by people who understand how law and government work. Adam Todd refuses to admit that the government—at any level—can’t treat Christianity as the official religion. Instead of just admitting that the display was illegal, he treats non-Christians as wannabe murderers.
It would be more shocking if that kind of reaction weren’t so damn commonplace.