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People always argue that groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation go after “petty” church/state separation cases, and they should just let some things slide.
Like New York’s Utica Fire Department Station 4 with a “Happy Birthday Jesus” sign outside its building. What’s the harm, right?
Well, not only are they selling shirts promoting Christianity, other fire departments are now following their lead, like the Whitesboro Fire Department (also in NY):

And the Yorkville Fire & Hose Co. Inc.:

And the Barneveld Fire Department:

There are many others (including volunteer fire departments) where these came from.
You can argue that wishing Jesus a happy birthday isn’t that big a deal, but I wonder how many taxpayer-funded organizations need to start doing the same thing before people realize this is just another way of promoting Christianity through the government. If we give them an inch, they’ll take a mile. They always have.
That’s why I support groups like FFRF, which go after all the church/state separation violations they can, big or small. They get a lot of shit for tackling these smaller cases, but what’s happening with these fire departments is just indicative of what Christians will do when they believe they’re above the law.
It won’t be long before these departments become more explicit with their faith-pushing. Maybe it’ll be a Nativity scene. Maybe they’ll put up a cross symbol. Maybe they’ll all put Bible verses on their equipment. Eventually, these things become “tradition,” making it that much harder to stop.
It’s a giant game of Christian Whac-A-Mole. And it never ends.
(Thanks to Joe for the link)

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.

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