Remember back in 2014 all over the world people were complaining about a Christmas sign in Utica? The sign is back in full display for the 2017 season.

The year was 2014. The season was Christmas. The world was fighting about a simple holiday sign in Utica New York at the Utica Fire Department Firehouse 4:

"“HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS WE LOVE YOU” ... Firefighters in Utica, NY are fighting back against a group of atheists who are trying to get their placard removed." - Fox and Friends

Utica Fire Chief Russell Brooks says he will fight the efforts by a Wisconsin organization to force the firefighters at Firehouse No. 4 to remove a sign that says “Happy Birthday Jesus, We Love You.” from in front of the fire station.- Slatter911

Even 7 years before 2014, the sign caused a bit of controversy locally:

"For some people, the sign serves as an inspiring reminder of the meaning of Christmas. For others, the placard has sparked questions of whether such a display is appropriate for a public facility."- Utica OD

So what caused this massive controversy out of a simple sign? The problem people have is that the fire department is a public facility. So, this building should be free of religious mentions and decorations. Personally, I don't see the problem. But I'm just one young gentleman in Utica.

According to several U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the 1980s, as well as President Richard Thompson of the Thomas More Law Center, the Utica Fire Department is well within its right. If such a sign was displayed by itself, that may be a problem, U.S. Supreme Court justices have ruled. But the addition of other holiday symbols, such as Santa Claus, a Christmas tree or a menorah, makes the sign part of a larger – and less religious – holiday theme, the rulings state."

Atheists and the Freedom From Religion Foundation wanted the sign down in 2014. The FFRF sent a letter to Utica Fire Department Station 4 demanding that officials take down the sign, saying it’s little more than a “religious endorsement.” The sign never came down, and every year since the complaints, the sign has remained.

How do you feel about the sign? Do you think it's perfect for Christmas, or do you think it crosses a line? We would love to hear what you think.

Sarah Wheeler/TSM
Sarah Wheeler/TSM




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