Churches sue over anti-God messages near nativity scenes

11/19/2012 // West Palm Beach, Florida, US // JusticeNewsFlash // Justice News Flash // (press release)

Los Angeles – A dispute over anti-God messages placed near nativity and other religious themed displays has led to a court battle in Santa Monica. As reported by the Associated Press (AP), the nonprofit Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee is suing on behalf of churches for purported freedom of speech violations over availability of public spaces for their Christmas displays.

Charles Haynes, a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center and director of the Newseum’s Religious Freedom Education Project in Washington, is quoted by the AP as stating of the issue, “In recent years, the tactic of many in the atheist community has been, if you can’t beat them, join them… If these church groups insist that these public spaces are going to be dominated by a Christian message, we’ll just get in the game — and that changes everything.”

William Becker, attorney for the committee, is further quoted as stating, “If they want to hold an opposing viewpoint about the celebration of Christmas, they’re free to do that — but they can’t interfere with our right to engage in religious speech in a traditional public forum… Our goal is to preserve the tradition in Santa Monica and to keep Christmas alive.”

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