Gwen,Some thoughtful ptoins. I do have a few questions/comments. First, with regards to what you say is a waste of taxpayer money; I'm curious if you have figures as to how much money governments actually spend on Christmas decorations. In the case highlighted in the article Rachel originally referenced the creche was provided for by an outside organization. In my hometown, most of the decorations in the center of town were provided by the local Knights of Columbus. I would presume that a majority of towns are like this.I also do not believe that secularizing the public square necessitates the removal of all religious symbolism, particularly seasonal imagery. This is of course debatable but the notion of full removal of religion from the public sphere seems impractical and implausible. I would argue that secularization (which may be as hard to define as religion) is a lack of compelling public belief; that is a secular society is not one that is devoid of religion or even devoid of religion in the public sphere, but one in which it is easy and reasonable to not believe.And our society is not simply a secular society; it is a secular Latin Christendom, which is markedly different than a secular Muslim society or even a secular Eastern Christendom. So cultural tradition, I believe, can be a compelling government reason for the display of Christmas decorations (not tradition for the sake of tradition, but the sense that the promotion of certain cultural traditions is good for society). Additionally a government can always make a compelling economic argument which would have varying degrees of plausibility depending on the town; but since many town centers are economically depressed due to suburban sprawl and big-box retailers, anything that brings people into the center of town (to see the yearly nativity, for example) can be viewed as a compelling government interest.Again, because religion is so hard to define and our constitution is often frustratingly vague, these questions aren't easy. I think it's beneficial if we think of secularization not as the loss or removal of religion but the addition (and permission by society) of other worldviews.In that way, I would say that your attempt to link public school with public square for purposes of equating similar allowance and proscriptions for religious thought is missing a subtle difference. Is the person who encounters the religious expression unreasonably compelled to conform to the religious views of the expresser? In the case of a teacher expressing them in class, this clearly puts undo pressure on the student to conform or agree with the religious expression because of the nature of the authority. What about a traffic cop who wishes you Merry Christmas ? I think it's possible to perceive that, given his level of authority over you, that you might feel that a non-Christian might get less protection or be treated less fairly if, say, you were driving with a non-Christian religious symbol in windshield. But what about the clerk who wishes you Merry Christmas when you go down to city hall to pay your water bill? Is it reasonable to believe that non-Christians are getting crappier water service? Clearly not. It is not that every religious expression by any government employee is an implicit endorsement of that religion by the government, per se. Or, for a more absurd example, does the town of Corpus Christi, TX have to change it's name because a Pastafarian doesn't like writing the body of Christ on her return address labels?So I would say, does the government allowing (or actively putting) a religious display on public property de facto endorse religion insofar as the average person who encounters it feels compelled by the government to publicly believe or support that religion? I don't know, maybe this is too strict a reading; but I feel that it's better if we think of secularization as the addition of unbelief to the public sphere rather than the subtraction of belief.