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12/1/2012 10:02:00 PM
Photo: Making spirits bright with the 58th annual Courthouse Lighting
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
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Highlights from the 30th Annual Christmas Parade and the 58th Annual Prescott Courthouse Christmas Lighting December 1, 2012.

People bask in the light of the Yavapai County Courthouse after the 58th annual Courthouse Lighting in downtown Prescott Saturday night.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Article comment by: Tax Money is Not To Promote Christian Church

Lights yes, holiday songs yes, good cheer, sense of community yes, by all means!
Christian hymns no, biblical quotes no, Jesus birth pageant no. The latter is clearly COP and the county promoting one religion (Christianity) over all others. Read carefully the first amendment of the US Constitution! It is, indeed, illegal for tax monies to be used to promote religion in this manner!

Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Article comment by: @ peed off

A professor for a literary-realism class once referred to this as the "excretory view of the universe." Must be a depressing vantage point: being "pissed off" about reindeer (where does their poop fall on Christmas eve?) Stop and smell the (manure-nourished) roses

Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Article comment by: Free Speech

Neutrality is the desired state... If what someone does makes someone else uncomfortable, we should be looking for ways that ALL people can feel comfortable. If you've ever been subjected to sexual harrassment, then you can understand those that feel "religious harrassment." Everyone should be able to enjoy holiday activities, but they shouldn't be specific to one religion or belief system. Birth of Christ is not Santa Claus. The two can be separated.

Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

@$20,000 Tax Payer's Money..... I got news for you: IT'S LEGAL! So you can pontificate all you want about your constitutional expertise (sic). But you know what: This ain't a constitutional issue pal. Find me something about a Christmas celebration in there. The city council says we light the place up and guess what, WE LIGHT THE PLACE UP. And if it costs money they can approve that too. Everybody's a constitutional expert these days. Riiiiight!

Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Article comment by: Peed Off

There was a huge crowd at this event but almost as many dogs as people.

I saw several people with several dogs---one with four. Dogs were peeing on live trees, defecating at the curb and on the lawn, and
with no one attempting to police or control

Dog owners who do this display selfish,
irresponsible behavior. It spoils the event for
others who come to enjoy it, and leaves
destruction behind.

Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Article comment by: Again, Dear People...

First Amendment is freedom OF religious worship, not freedom FROM in the public square (or Plaza, in our case). The reading of St. Luke's gospel passages doesn't establish any religion, it simply tells the most wonderful story ever.

You can attend next year, we welcome you! Just wear your earbuds and listen to secular holiday songs on your iPod to make it more enjoyable for you. Then, after the "reveal", enjoy the lighted trees on the Plaza.

Simple solution!

Posted: Monday, December 03, 2012
Article comment by: My Own Opinio

Aww, peeps. I am an atheist and I would be terribly sad without the annual courthouse lighting. It's gorgeous and so much fun. Putting lights in the trees is tied to a much older religion than Christianity. No one was hurt. The government already spends so much money on extremely stupid things. What's $30k more?

Posted: Monday, December 03, 2012
Article comment by: NEVER CHANGE PRESCOTT

Love the Christmas feeling in this town and pray it never changes. All non-believers are welcomed to leave. Bye bye

Posted: Monday, December 03, 2012
Article comment by: Wrong Number

Good common sense was wrong, it is $30,000!

Posted: Monday, December 03, 2012
Article comment by: the wino

Where would the UNITED STATES of AMERICA be with-out "GOD"?
As the Greatest Nation in the World "WE THE PEOPLE" are BLESSED.
a vietnam veteran

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2012
Article comment by: $20,000 Tax Payer's Money To Promote The Christian Religion

If Good Common Sense is correct below… and COP coughed up $ 20,000 to put on this Christian church pageant! It is clearly illegal when one considers the US constitution's Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and the Incorporation Doctrine which applies the laws in the Constitution to State and Local governments: The establishment clause has generally been interpreted to prohibit 1) the establishment of a national religion by Congress (or any governmental agency), or 2) the preference by the U.S. government of one religion over another. The first approach is called the "separation" or "no aid" interpretation, while the second approach is called the "non-preferential" or "accommodation" interpretation… in other words, separation of church and state.*
Clearly, there is no doubt, the City of Prescott and Yavapai County are officially, and illegally, promoting, encouraging, and therefore, establishing the very specific mythology of the Christian Religion! There were no other religions represented at the Plaza Saturday evening. It is beyond my comprehension how the COP's Mayor, Council Yavapai County's Board of Supervisors and their supporting attorneys signed off on using $20,000 from the COP and ??? from the County taxpayer money to establish the Christian religion as the preferred religion of the City and County? If the City and County were taken to court on this issue they would loose! Hmmm, maybe not a bad idea!

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2012
Article comment by: k t pinkerton

i moved back to the state of my father two years ago.after 30 years in the army,cali was wearing quite thin.i get the looks in cali like i did in the 70s in uniform. that being said, the court house lighting was the first time i was able to attend. it was nice and every body i saw/came in contact with was haveing a good time.i wish i had a coulple of more buck's to spend in town , but thats the breaks.
kt pinkerton,ssg,US ARMY ret. god bless all here.

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2012
Article comment by: Matt Towns

I heard a joke once that said, sum up an atheist funeral....... ALL DRESED UP AND NO WHERE TO GO!!!! I love Christmas and I love my home town of Prescott, God bless everyone even if you dont want it

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2012
Article comment by: Re: Disappointed Prescott Gal

I agree with Disappointed Prescott Gal,,,,,I would like for us all to embrace a more global approach to the season. Regardless of your religious preference, in the US we are surrounded at this time of year with songs that reflect the "Holiday Spirit". There are so many choices of songs that represent the season without reflection an exclusively Christian or other religious point of view. Regarding we are the Christmas City, perhaps it is time to change our name from Arizona's Christmas City to Arizona's Holiday Lights City. It would more represent what has been created at the plaza thru all the trees having lights. We can have holiday lights and songs about the holidays without representing any one religion, rather the spirit of a season of caring, joy and coming together. And…furthermore if city or county money was used to support this function, than I agree it seems that it should be not used to the exclusive highlighting of Christianity over other citizens choice of religious expression.

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2012
Article comment by: Good Common Sense

Folks who say this isn't funded by the City of Prescott need to check their facts. The City 'grants' money to this event every year in the amount of about $20,000 (somewhere around there) out of their tourism promotional funds...

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2012
Article comment by: Martin Elmore

@ Sinking Ship

Well, you started out OK with your comment but then you got your brain all tripped up about atheists and what we believe. I hope I can help you unravel the few neurons you have and get you back on the right track.

Atheists do not believe there is a god, a devil, a heaven or a hell, angels, saints or any of the other paraphernalia religious people require to justify their belief in an imaginary pantheon of deities somewhere in the clouds above earth.

The atheists I know do not care one iota about your beliefs and the required rituals you undertake. We simply believe you should hold your public expressions of joy and faith on your own property...not on property owned by the various state entities.

We believe you, and only you, should bear the full costs of any such expression with the state contributing zero dollars towards the costs, including the daily costs of electricity to power the lights that illuminate the angels and any other religious symbols.

It is that simple !!! You already get a total tax break on your church properties, just say thanks for the "government-supported religion" you get and confine it to your own property.

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2012
Article comment by: dog on

Who pays for the electricity for this event? If it is all donated then I guess some of these posters are correct, but if as I suspect, it is paid for with tax dollars as well as the maintenance and clean up (some of you are some really filthy pigs) afterward then it is in some way supported by the government.

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2012
Article comment by: Sinking Ship

No tax dollars were spent on the celebration. If a Hannukah, Ramadan or Kwanza, etc. celebration were to be held at their own expense I would attend!!!

It doesn't matter to me whether the religion is one I espouse. What I enjoy is the freedom of Americans to worship as they please. And to see their joy at being able to enjoy that freedom in a country that 200+ years ago our founders fled to and fought for to assure that they could always do so. No more religious oppression,

Yes, there are atheists. I suppose that being free to NOT believe in a God is not enough for them. They want to deny all other faiths the ability to believe and express those beliefs? That is hilarious and one of the most ignorant arguments I have ever heard.

Yes, I agree that the state should not sponsor a religion. As well, I believe that the state should make no law regarding religion, such as refusing to allow faith based celebrations. The state needs to stay out of it, and allow Americans to have a faith of their choice and freely express it.

Why is it that a joyous time can't be experienced by all. We should be able to accept the beliefs of others without trying to force our beliefs on others. Be happy for each other and support each other.

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Ramadan, Happy Kwanza and Happy Winter Solstice or whatever your heart desires!!!

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2012
Article comment by: tired of it all

To the so called Athiest above...I'm not the most religious person in the world but the Courthouse Lighting is special to me. It is a time to celebrate the coming Christmas season and share it with good friends and family. And what happens in the town of Prescott is special! What's next? You will rant that everyone but you were having too much fun at Aker Night also? NO ONE is shoving anything down your throat, not yet anyway...

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2012
Article comment by: to the atheist

This entire celebration was paid for through donations. The lights are done by aps and the performing children were from Miller Valley elementary school. NOONE was paid to be there, therefore this was not a government production. Those who were there were there by choice. I agree with the others that if you dont approve or believe in this type of celebration DONT GO!!!!!! You may believe that God and all the other things involved are just myths but alot of us BELIEVE. "Freedom of Religion" does not mean that I am not allowed to impose on you, it means that you are free to tell me I am wrong and walk away from my celebration." If you dont believe in God, do you believe in evolution? I DO NOT, under any circumstances believe that my ancestors were apes, or slugs, or whatever. If that were the case then why did some of us evolve and others are still stuck being monkeys? Christians are the ones who should worry about our rights being taken away, not atheists. When you believe in nothing then you have nothing to defend. Us Christians are no longer allowed our freedom of religion at school, in public buildings or government buildings. This government was created on christian beliefs and I WILL pray or celebrate my religion ANYWHERE, ANYTIME with anyone who wants to participate. Its people like you who could just stay away from these celebrations but instead want to ruin it for the rest of us. Do you celebrate Easter? Religious............even if you just hide eggs for your children, what are you teaching them if you dont believe? You are teaching them confusion. You either do or you dont. By being there last night you chose to go to a religious celebration. Have you ever said, "OH MY GOD", out of angst, excitement, anger or anything other emotion? If so, deep down inside you must believe because I dont believe in the easter bunny and therefore have NEVER said "OH MY EASTER BUNNY!!!!"

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2012
Article comment by: Janet Glenn

If you don't like the traditions of this city. Then don't attend them stay home and leave the rest of us to enjoy this traditional event and YOU should stop forcing YOUR BELIEFS on the rest of US! I would say that at least 95% of the people who have been born here or moved here because of the traditions of Prescott! God Bless THE CHRISTMAS CITY!

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2012
Article comment by: To All Athiests

Please explain why you should be the only group allowed to display your beliefs in a public setting.

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2012
Article comment by: disappointed prescott gal

I am disappointed in the courthouse lighting this year. I have gone to every court house lighting in my life (minus one or two) and i dont remember it being a church like setting... thats how i felt. i remember the kids getting up on stage, singing fun christmas songs.. like Rudolph the red nose reindeer .. and much more.. not just hymns ! I agree that Christmas is a RELIGIOUS holiday, but the court house lighting shouldnt feel like a church session. another odd thing for me.. when did everyone get so lazy and bring a chair for the lighting....... handicap people.. SURE! but i remember when we all stood and enjoyed the celebration, then walked around ... did i miss the memo to bring chairs and be lazy? Well.. its too bad things change so much! "every bodys home town" doesnt feel like "every bodys" home town anymore....

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2012
Article comment by: Mary Weir

The Courthouse Lighting last night was attended by the largest crowd I can remember. Does anyone have an estimate of crowd size???

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2012
Article comment by: Really ?

Honestly! Why do people have to take hometown community event like this and pick it to death?

For those FEW here that feel the need to trash, complain and otherwise destroy the beautiful event that took place yesterday, let me make a suggestion to you.

Take that energy and put it toward doing something worthwhile, something good for our community. Everyone that attended yesterday's events left with a feeling of community and holiday spirit (except for Mr. Humbug/Athiest that felt the need to unload here).

Haters gonna hate. If you don't like what we do here, there are plenty of other places to live. We love this tradition ... if you don't, we feel sad for you. Merry CHRISTmas!

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