Judge Says “Nyet” To Santa Monica Nativity Display

The grinches are showing up early this year

(LA Times) The city of Santa Monica can bar seasonal displays, including a Nativity scene that has appeared in Palisades Park for nearly 60 years, a federal judge ruled Monday.

In a closely watched case that has attracted national attention, Judge Audrey B. Collins denied a request from the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee to erect multiple large displays depicting the story of the birth of Jesus in the park overlooking the ocean. The coalition of churches has erected the displays every December since the 1950s.

But last year, after requests for display spots exceeded the space allotted, the city held a lottery to allocate spaces. Atheists won 18 of 21 spots. A Jewish group won another. The traditional Nativity story that used to take up 14 displays was crammed into two.

This has been going on for years, with the atheists trying hard to shut down the nativity scene.

“The atheists won,” said William Becker, attorney for the Nativity group. He then went on to compare the city to Pontius Pilate, the judge at Jesus’ trial, saying: “It’s a shame about Christmas. Pontius Pilate was exactly the same kind of administrator.”

That they did. Sadly. It’s always a shame that there are people who want to ruin things for everyone else, simply because they are offended.

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2 Comments

Comment by Gumball_Brains Subscribed to comments via email
2012-11-20 14:36:54

Couldn’t happen to a nicer state.

But, it was a lottery. And those wishing to participate were allowed. This is either a sign of the failing religious-ness of America or the increased laxity of believers.

 
Comment by gitarcarver
2012-11-20 15:34:30

But, it was a lottery. And those wishing to participate were allowed.

That would be contrary to a ruling by the Fourth Circuit (covering North Carolina) last year in a case that revolved around prayers before meetings of the City Council.

The Court ruled that even though the prayers did not mention specific religions or deities and that selection for making the prayers was based on a lottery system, the city had to give all religions the ability (not the chance – the ability) to say a prayer before a City Council meeting. This meant that even though there may not have been any members of the Hindu faith in the area, the City Council had to go out and find a representative and insure they would make a prayer.

According to the decision, a “lottery” meant that there would be those excluded from the process and the lottery, by its nature may not include all.

While the California Court does not have to follow a Fourth Circuit’s ruling, it does appear in this case the atheists’ intention was not to allow other points of religious views but to prevent people from presenting those views.

 

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