The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Local News

December 23, 2008

Library keeping Nativity despite complaint

Atheist demands removal as Christians protest


Scott said she would gladly display a Jewish menorah or other religious holiday symbol within the library if one had been donated.

This was the first time, she said, that anyone had taken issue with the display.

When he heard about the controversy on an Internet forum, Brad Laub, program director at the Elwood YMCA, said the facility would proudly display the Christmas scene.

“This is another sign of the war on Christmas and Christianity,” he wrote on the forum.

Elwood is hardly the first community to experience controversy around the scene of Christ’s birth.

A county in Wisconsin is being sued over a Nativity scene on public land, while the Washington state capitol is now filled with different religious and secular displays in protest to its Nativity scene. Atheists posted an anti-religion sign near the Nativity and others actually erected a 5-foot aluminum pole celebrating the “Seinfeld”-inspired fictional holiday Festivus. An Ohio mayor is fighting to keep a Nativity display in front of the town’s municipal building after receiving a letter condemning the display from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

For Capps, Christmas without symbols of Christ isn’t an option.

“That’s what Christmas is all about, Christ’s birth,” Capps said. “Art should be able to be displayed in a public scene.”

Capps said she wished the unknown atheist would ignore the Nativity. “If he doesn’t want to see it, don’t go there — don’t look. If there’s a place that allows smoking, I don’t like smoking, so I don’t go there. If you don’t like the Nativity scene, don’t go there.”

Stout, a pastor at Joy Christian Church in Elwood, said the idea of a separation of church and state was being misinterpreted by atheists and other groups.

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