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Santa Monica's 60-Year-Old Nativity Scenes Move to Private Property

  • Religion Today
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2012 Dec 04
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Despite having to relocate to private property after losing a legal battle, the 60-year-old Santa Monica tradition of displaying a nativity scene during the Christmas season will continue, the Christian Post reports. Since 1953, the city has allowed a nativity scene to be displayed in Palisades Park, but that ended last year after a dispute between churches and atheists over whether the display belonged on public land. When a group of atheists overwhelmed the city's lottery system to win most of the available display space in the park, then erected some anti-religious displays and left most of their space empty, controversy erupted; the city then banned private, unattended displays at the park. A Los Angeles federal judge dismissed a Christian group's lawsuit to force Santa Monica to reopen spaces for the displays, but the decision was expected to be appealed. Meanwhile, the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee said the nativity scene display would debut Sunday at a location on the 2700 block of Ocean Park Boulevard, and would remain there until after Christmas. "The community Christmas tradition will return to full strength this year with 14 scenes featuring life-size figures depicting events surrounding Christ's birth," organizers said.