S.C., Pa. Nativity scenes removed, then restored

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Nativity displays in two states have sparked complaints and

  • In Charleston, S.C., a South Carolina fire station that removed a Nativity display after a complaint has put it back up after adding other holiday decorations.

    The Charleston Fire Department announced today that one of its stations had modified its holiday display to comply with U.S. Supreme Court rulings. The station has added a menorah, Kwanzaa Kinara, Santa Claus, elves and reindeer.

    Chief Thomas Carr Jr. says the change made it clear the display celebrates the holiday season, and the Nativity scene is one part of that.

    The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter dated Dec. 17 to Carr and Mayor Joe Riley asking that the display be removed because it promoted one religion over another. The letter said a local resident had complained. The creche was taken down late last week in response.

  • In Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Santa, a snowman, an elf and other secular figures
    have joined a Nativity scene at a courthouse, resolving a controversy over the
    display of religious holiday symbols in a public space.

    Luzerne County commissioners had removed the creche and menorah from the
    courthouse lawn last week after receiving an objection from the ACLU and
    Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

    The groups told the county that the displays were an unconstitutional
    government endorsement of religion.

    ACLU attorney Mary Catherine Roper told the Associated Press yesterday that
    she was satisfied now that the county had added secular symbols to the

    The Nativity scene is county-owned and has been placed on the lawn in
    Wilkes-Barre for decades.

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