I lived in Santa Monica for over 25 years before moving to Mar Vista, Calif. Despite the comments of Kathryn Dodge, I never felt threatened or hostile to public religious displays in Santa Monica (“Spare us your preaching,” Letters to the Editor, May 1). I too am a taxpayer, but I felt that the manger scenes celebrated the diversity of our community.

Ms. Dodge makes some points about the public religious displays being in violation of our Constitution. Really? Let’s see, the First Amendment prohibits the establishment of a state religion. Were the displays year round? Were citizens compelled to spend time praying at these displays? Were citizens who did admire them given preferential treatment or benefits by the government?

Ms. Dodge is free to admire or ignore the displays, what is the big deal?

The First Amendment also provides for the free exercise of religion. In Ms. Dodge’s constitutional view, religious people must observe inside their churches or in the basements of their homes or within the closets of their apartments. No public display of religion in this community, right Ms. Dodge?

I am curious if Ms. Dodge has any opinion on the crosses that have been on display every weekend just north of the Santa Monica Pier. This is a weekend anit-war/memorial display to show how many people have died in Iraq. Maybe the City Council should ban those crosses and have them replaced by peace signs.


Jason Meisler

Mar Vista, Calif.

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