Defends religious content of Shining Light displays

To the editor:

I am writing in response to Dr. Eugene W. Feldman, D.M.D., of Lewistown, and his letter to the editor regarding Derry Township Board of Supervisors’ allowance of Shining Light Through the Darkness to use Kish Park.

I believe, Dr. Feldman, if you go back through the minutes of the Derry Township Board of Supervisors you will find that the Board has allowed use of Kish Park to many different organizations this year. I believe they have already established rules for use of public land by the public.

Allowing use of public land by the public it is intended to serve is by no means an endorsement of that organization. To single one organization out of many and deny access because that organization displays some “mythical and/or religious figures” would be a government prohibiting free religious expression.

Might I suggest you walk through the park and look at the names of some of the organizations that have put up displays. You will find some that are not “faith-based” organizations. Whether they choose to put up “mythical and/or religious figures” is entirely up to the group or organization that is displaying. Each display is the responsibility of that group. Meaning if you put up a display you fix the lights, upright anything that might blow over and you pack it up and take it home afterwards.

Each participating group also contributes toward the cost of electricity for the park. There is no fee charged to enter the park and even the concession stand items are free. If you want to give a donation, you may.

I understand that some people have a problem with religious symbols in public places, but it is allowed by our government. It has a historical precedence and everyone should be tolerant of what others believe and choose to display.

You may not agree with the board’s choice of allowing access, and you may not agree with the different organizations’ displays, but tolerance is a two-way street. Can we both use it together?

Crystal Jost