We'll wait until someone actually files legal action challenging the placement and the ownership of Warren's Merry Christmas sign to get upset about the prospect of defending it.
At this point it's hard to imagine anyone or any organization would be sufficiently misguided as to construe the greeting on the south bank of the Allegheny as evidence of an establishment of religion by the Warren municipal government.
Yes, the city government does house the letters in a city-owned garage in the off-season, and technically owns the sign, which was offered as a gift by the private citizens who built it and labor to erect it every year.
As for considering it a violation of the First Amendment in those respects, that's a long stretch.
The sign has been a seasonal landmark in Crescent Park for the past 70 years. In that time we highly doubt that anyone unfamiliar with it would pass by on a snowing winter's evening and proclaim to their mind's ear: "Gee, Christianity must be the official, declared and legal religion of Warren, Pennsylvania, forsaking all others."
In fact, those who see some religious significance in the words "Merry Christmas" will likely see that in the sign and never once consider who owns it, who stores it or even who pays for the electric to light it. Others will simply see it as a symbol of a community that comes together periodically to do something to make their town a more inviting place.
This doesn't mean that we don't believe in the separation of church and state. It is an integral and important part of not only our Constitution but our national culture. It's just that we don't believe that the display or the utterance of the words "Merry Christmas" is intended to either convert non-Christians or indicate in any way that other beliefs or lack of beliefs are unwelcome in this community.
So, in that spirt, allow us to wish you a "Merry Christmas."