Santa Monica Sued Over Nativity Scene Ban

Wednesday, 10 Oct 2012 12:54 PM

By Alec Weisman

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A California Christian group has filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Santa Monica in an effort to overturn a recently instituted ban on exhibiting Nativity scenes in Palisades Park.
 
According to the Los Angeles Times, the group responsible for exhibiting an annual holiday presentation of Nativity scenes in the public park for almost 60 years, wants to restore the tradition.  
 
William J. Becker, Jr., an attorney for the Nativity proponents, told the newspaper the group would seek an injunction to require the city to permit the display until the outcome of the lawsuit has been determined.
 
The Santa Monica City Council voted to prohibit private displays in Palisades Park after atheists protested in June.
 
Before the ban on all private displays in the park, the city had sought to resolve complaints about the Nativity scene by initiating a lottery system to determine how 21 park spaces devoted to private displays would be divided up.
 
Atheist groups won 18 of the 21 spots in the lottery, a Jewish group won one, and the Christian group was forced to shrink its traditional Nativity scene from 14 spaces to two.

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