Governor flooded with calls about display

Dec. 4, 2008 at 7:58 PM
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OLYMPIA, Wash., Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly's viewers tied up phone lines in the Washington governor's office Thursday with calls complaining about a holiday display.

The (Olympia, Wash.) Olympian reported that O'Reilly inaccurately blamed Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire for an atheists' display on the state Capitol's third floor near a Nativity set. Gregoire spokesman Pearse Edwards said the governor's office was getting more than 200 calls an hour about the display.

O'Reilly told viewers this week to call Gregoire. The atheists' plaque talks about the winter solstice and declares there are no gods or devils or angels, the newspaper reported.

The Olympian said the Nativity scene and the plaque were both allowed under a state policy that resulted from a legal settlement reached by the state and Alliance Defense Fund a year ago on whether to allow the Nativity in a secular building.

"The U.S. Supreme Court has been consistent and clear that, under the Constitution's First Amendment, once government admits one religious display or viewpoint onto public property, it may not discriminate against the content of other displays, including the viewpoints of non-believers," Gregoire and Republican state Attorney General Rob McKenna said in a joint statement.

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