Delaware Town Bans Nativity Display That's Been a Tradition Since the 1930s

(Photo by Walter Chávez on Unsplash)
It's been a tradition in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, for nine decades: A nativity on the town circle. Not anymore.

A church tried to renew the local tradition of displaying a nativity scene last year and asked the city for permission. Understanding they had permission, Saint Edmond Church, supported by the Star of the Sea Council 7297 (the Rehoboth Beach Council of the Knights of Columbus), put the nativity scene back.

It was just one of many holiday displays that are placed on the site every year, including a Christmas tree; holiday lights and light displays; and a large Santa's House on the Boardwalk erected, owned and displayed by the local Chamber of Commerce.

But one day after the display went up, the city called and ordered the nativity scene removed, saying the religious display could not be on public property.

The decision proved to be unpopular with many local residents. Last month, during a television interview about the nativity display, Mayor Paul Kuhns said, "City policy is not to have religious displays (like the nativity scene) on public property or city property."

The Knights of Columbus then asked if they could place a nativity scene on the Boardwalk near the town circle, like the Chamber of Commerce is allowed to do with its Santa's House.

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