The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is at it again, attempting to force two American towns to remove their nativity scenes from near government buildings. But Jay, Florida, and Brookville, Indiana, have no intention of removing the real meaning of Christmas from public display.
Instead, the city of Jay declared the nativity scene as surplus property, which was then acquired by the Santa Rosa County Ministerial Association. It now stands at a busy corner at the town's main stop light—ironic, say nativity supporters, because many more people will see it there.
Brookville is going a step further and ignoring FFRF's letters and instead rallying around its nativity. The town even planned a candlelight walk for this past Saturday as a show of support.
American Pastors Network says FFRF's actions are a direct attack not simply on religion but on religious liberty in America.
"Anyone who actually takes time to study our nation's history and read the writings of our founders—not the interpretations of those writings written 200 years later—knows that religious liberty and the acknowledgement of Almighty God as the source of that liberty are the bulwark of our nation," said APN President Sam Rohrer. "Threats like these against towns that want to display nativities are a blatant attack on our God-given and constitutionally protected freedoms.
"Groups like FFRF base their arguments on the sound bite of 'separation of church and state,' but again, history proves these arguments wrong, as Thomas Jefferson's famous 'wall' was in response to the sincere concerns of the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut that religious freedom might be considered a favor granted by government rather than an inalienable right given by God. FFRF would do well to remember that Jefferson himself attended congressionally approved church services held in the U.S. Capitol building itself—the seat of American government. The truth remains that public displays of the nativity scene on government property in no way violate the Constitution. FFRF's attempts to stifle religious liberty, however, do."
In 2012, FFRF also targeted a nativity scene in the town of Century, about 25 miles from Jay. In Century, the nativity was also purchased by a church, placed on donated property and illuminated with donated electricity.
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