Wednesday’s Roundup: Atheist nativities, Matisyahu’s beard, marriage woes, Evangelical sway

God or luck?

In Santa Monica, a pair of atheists won the rights to 18 out of 21 spaces reserved for holiday displays at a city park, leaving more than a dozen churches who had previously used 14 of the 21 spots out in the cold, or what passes for cold at Christmas in Santa Monica.

The city developed a lottery system to make awarding the spaces more fair, but allowed individuals to bid on up to nine spots each. A coalition of churches got two spots, a Jewish group got another. Two atheists scored 18 spots. Don’t play cards with those guys.

Good news (for the believers): the atheists are only using three of the spaces. Bad news: their holiday messages include quotes like the one from Thomas Jefferson: “Religions are all alike — founded upon fables and mythologies.

The Lubavitch Hasidim, an Orthodox Jewish community, will use their spot to display a big Hanukkah menorah, as they like to do.

It is unlikely that Matisyahu, the Hasidic reggae star, will be lighting candles on that menorah this year since he shocked the devoutly Orthodox Jewish world by shaving his beard (that’s the new him, at left) and tweeting a cryptic explanation.

Read full post here.

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