Irv Sutley Fights Christmas and Wins: Santa Rosa Removes Angels from Government Buildings

(Jeff Kan Lee/The Press Democrat )
(Mark Aronoff/The Press Democrat)
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (CBS/AP) California resident Irv Sutley doesn't like angels and stars hanging on Christmas trees in government buildings. To be fair, he doesn't much like Buddhist or Jewish symbols either.

This holiday season, the self-proclaimed atheist has won a victory against the Sonoma County government, which has ordered officials to remove angels, stars and other religious symbols from Christmas trees in county buildings after Sutley filed a complaint.

County Administrator Chris Thomas issued the order Monday to managers of all 26 county departments, saying it is not the government's role to endorse religion.

Photo: Irv Sutley, most popular man in Santa Rosa, Calif.

"People can worship in their homes. They can celebrate Christmas in their church. They can do all that," he told the Press Democrat. "They just don't have the right to intrude on government property."

The Supreme Court has ruled that governments can celebrate Christmas but cannot support Christian doctrine.

Sutley, of Santa Rosa, heads the county's socialist Peace and Freedom Party.

He says the government should not show favoritism to any religion.

Sutley has previously been successful in stopping prayers at government meetings in several cities.

"I just don't believe government has the right to intrude on anyone and force them into sectarian behavior," Sutley told "I've opposed Buddhist statues, the star of David — anything of a religious nature."

Images Courtesy of the Press Democrat.