Pa. town opts for private Nativity display

Sunday, November 11, 2012

ELLWOOD CITY, Pa. — An attorney says he plans to erect a Nativity scene in front of a former church to dispel a threatened lawsuit by an atheists’ group which opposed a display in front of a western Pennsylvania borough building.

Attorney Joseph Bellissimo says he’s paying for the new display in Ellwood City, about 35 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. The borough had its own display for about 50 years.

Residents wanted to fight the threatened lawsuit by the Freedom From Religion Foundation of Madison, Wis., but borough officials feared they’d lose. The foundation’s co-president, Annie Gaylord, said the group simply didn’t want the display on public property.

Bellissimo told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the borough manager approached him about putting up the new display. The lawyer owns and plans to convert the former church building into a restaurant.

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