The Dallas Board of Aldermen has elected to continue displaying the town’s nativity scene in its traditional space on the court square despite legal threats from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
A nativity scene is a special exhibition of art objects that represent the birth of Jesus, particularly during the Christmas season. According to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the nativity scene was in violation of a Supreme Court ruling that bans religious displays on government property.
“For me as a Christian, to be asked not to celebrate is a violation of free speech,” said Monty Self, a resident of Dallas, according to the Gaston Gazette. “Having the Nativity doesn’t mean government endorses it, it means they’re honoring the holiday.”
Although they will replace the crèche as well as other secular Christmas symbols with decorations having no religious affiliation, many residents are happy with the decision to not remove the exhibition as a whole.
“That’s a victory in and of itself, that they’re at least willing to stay the course and find a middle road,” said Dallas resident Sarah Jordan, who protested by organizing a live Nativity stand-in with more than 100 community members on the court house lawn. “They’re not backing down … and staying within the parameters of the Supreme Court rulings.”
The town faced threats last Christmas as well when a private business owner displayed the scene outside of his shop. Town leaders worked with attorneys in a similar fashion to find a solution that worked best for everyone.
“The community always plays a big role in what we decide, but the legal part was our main concern,” Mayor Pro Tem Allen Huggins said. “It took a good bit of research, but I think we did the right thing.”
“This issue is in our own backyard, and we as a community will not be bullied,” added Jordan.
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