WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Nativity scenes banished from public property in Santa Monica following lengthy battle

Have you been following the Nativity display battle in Santa Monica, California?

This account from The Los ANGELES TIMES updates developments, and provides context....


Posted at 8:17am on November 20, 2012 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Tue, Nov 20, 2012 8:36am
Without getting into the merits of the "separation of church and state," I'll just say some of these Nativity scenes are way over the top, tacky and silly.

I've had neighbors with life-sized mangers, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 32 shepherds, 127 sheep, and enough lights to be spotted from the International Space Station. There are two other troubling developments: Christmas lights on before Thanksgiving, and lights which stay up well into February.

Tue, Nov 20, 2012 8:59am
teatime: Here Here!!!!

Back in the early 80's (I believe) there was a huge statue of the Virgin Mary in Rodney Square. Produced by a local artist. It's now at a local church. What is the problem? The Nativity scene (a simple one!) is part of the Christmas story. You don't have to like it. Just get over it.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Nov 20, 2012 9:01am
Teatime: I've never seen a Nativity scene with all that you describe. I've seen some yards that have a small tasteful Nativity scene with the rest of the yard filled with Santa, lights, and all sorts of lit-up junk. I agree though, all that crap sure takes away from the Nativity scene.

The question to be asked in that Santa Monica story would be: Is the display costing the city government any money, or are all costs borne by that Santa Monica Nativity committee (which is not part of the city government) and all the city is doing is just letting them place the Nativity scenes in the park? Second question would be: Does, or would the city allow other religious folks (including the atheists) to also set up displays again, without cost to the city at other times? If the answer is yes to both of those questions, then it does not seem unreasonable for Santa Monica's government to allow the Nativity scenes. The point is treating all groups the same. Any and all churches are allowed to use public school facilities for church services as long as they pay so that there is no cost to the school. So the same principle should apply to using a public park for a religious display.

Tue, Nov 20, 2012 12:30pm
127 sheep? Do you have a link? I'm at loss why someone even counted them...

Tue, Nov 20, 2012 12:41pm
Ha, ha, in fact just yesterday on social media, I got a picture of a child with contorted face expressing the warning... "Brace yourself, for the onslaught of all the putting Christ back into Christmas posts...."

So far, it is still under control.

Point is, bringing this up and making a big deal of it, is simply done to drive a wedge into normal people who normally get along fine. Making a big deal of it has no real purpose other than make people angry at each other...

Seriously, would any of us think it was completely out of the question if a Nativity scene were put up on the courthouse lawn of a Southern Alabama rural county? Likewise, is anyone really surprised that on the courthouse of where Hollywood lives and plays, there is controversy over a Nativity scene, in a spot where other religions don't have free access?

It is ironical that those who most proclaim state's rights over issues they disagree with, such as abortion, and homosexual marriage, are the first to get bent out of shape because a state, or a local community that has values different from themselves, decides to exercise those same rights...

It should be celebrated that Alabama can put up Nativity scenes and Malibu can take them down... After all, isn't that the country our ancestors fought for?

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Nov 20, 2012 1:19pm
Kavips: I didn't read the entire article, did it actually say that other religious groups don't get to have the same free access? If it did, then I would back those who are upset with that Nativity scene. IF it says, that space is available to any religious group during the year as it is for the Nativity then the protesters are off base and THEY are being narrow minded, etc. THAT is the real issue. Is that space free and available to all groups?

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Nov 20, 2012 6:28pm
I finally got around to reading the entire article. If I were that church coalition I'd find a church on a main road, as near to the center of town as possible and use their facility and put up their 14 panel depiction of the Birth of Christ. Maybe on the evenings when the depiction is being displayed, each church could take a turn of having some sort of Christmas Generic Christian celebration service inside the church, so that folks could also come in and spend some time worshiping the real Prince of Peace. Maybe also have coffee, hot chocolate, cookies, etc, for folks to munch on after the service as they can then get to know one another. Maybe all the coalition churches pitch in and help offset electric and heating costs, etc, so it isn't a costly burden for any one church. Talk about the Christian community pulling together and working together to being the message of the Christ Child to the public. What a better approach.

Tue, Nov 20, 2012 7:12pm
After the liberal nut jobs get through outlawing Christianity in the public square, then Nativity scenes on your private property will be next. Once that happens, you won't even be able to have your Christmas tree showing through the window!

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Nov 20, 2012 10:57pm
Mrpizza: That would never get passed, two reasons. [1]. No government money is used on your own personal property, so they can't invoke Separation of church and state. [2]. So many people who put up Christmas decorations (yes, many that are very tacky) that it's big business, so the businesses plus all those folks who do put up decorations on their personal property, would protest such a bill in Congress.

Wed, Nov 21, 2012 1:10pm
Mike: In due time all Christians will be hated and despised by the world just as Jesus warned all who follow him. It won't be long before a nativity scene is called hate speech...or at least anti-Islamic speech offending "the prophet".

Obama was right....we are no longer a Christian nation. God is being removed from our country more and more each day.

The Puritans who first came to this country (pilgrims) came to escape religious persecution and to start new lives free to worship their God.
If you haven't seen the movie Monumental I recommend a watch this Thanksgiving. It is a bit cheesy but tells the true story of the Pilgrims...who laid the foundation for our country.

Happy Thanksgiving to all here and may God bless you and your families.

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Nov 21, 2012 3:30pm
EarlGrey: Until that day comes, I'll continue to have a Nativity Scene in my front yard (that my wife and I set up about two weeks before Christmas), our only Christmas decoration. It's a quiet very low key display that only has one spot light shining on it so it is visible at night.

Most folks probably don't notice it as they drive by as many of the neighbors on my street by my house have all sorts of bright lights, flashing things, inflatable santa's, reindeer, Christmas trees, etc, etc. But that's OK, its a gentle reminder to any who do notice, of what this season is really about.

We live in a fallen world EarlGrey and Mrpizza. We can't change that. So we serve Our Lord in a world that will get more hostile towards our faith. It's happened before in history, and will happen again.
Our job is to be faithful. We may have to change how we do or present the Gospel, but we serve a higher authority as our job again is to seek God's will, and be used by Christ and the Holy Spirit to make disciples.

Be safe if you're traveling, and have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Wed, Nov 21, 2012 4:31pm
Happy Thanksgiving to all, and God bless.

Wed, Nov 21, 2012 5:41pm
Your world may have be fallen and it should; but the rest of ours, has risen. That is a world where God works though individual people and God enables those people to make decisions that propel society forward, because they now have money to spend. Satan in the form of the Republican Party, has struck down America,and has given all resources to the rich. Today, there is hope that not all the money which was stolen as it had been in the past, will sit unused at the top of the economic ladder.

Today, there is a chance that we can finally grow the middle class, and bring back the moral society we all had growing up. it will happen as did then, as long as was back then there are no Republicans to throw roadblocks against enabling the middle class to ask for and get higher wages!

There is momentum. We are moving forward in this country to a place where God's work can again be done, because we finally have taken back the resources now just sitting in hedge funds and shadow banks, and we will finally put them back into doing good for God...

In fact, by our actions we have actually become a more religious nation, one that not only includes Christians, but Jews, Muslims and all who believe a person's main duty is not to enrich themselves financially, but to enrich all of ourselves in any way we can...

Happy Thanksgiving. :)

We should all be grateful America has spoken.

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Nov 21, 2012 9:36pm
Kavips: I wasn't speaking in a political sense, GOP vs DEM, right vs left, etc. I was speaking in a spiritual sense. what I was saying applies to Christians.

Jesus said: "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is you do not belong to the world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:18-19.

St. Paul said: " Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight." 1 Corinthians 3:18-19.

Jesus tells us: "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." Matt 10:28.

So maybe that will offer a better insight to what I meant when I said, "We live in a fallen world EarlGrey and Mrpizza. We can't change that. So we serve Our Lord in a world that will get more hostile towards our faith. It's happened before in history, and will happen again.
Our job is to be faithful."

So whether or not a Christian is a DEM or a GOP, or even like me an Independent, those scripture verses apply to anyone who's a true follower of the Risen Christ. At some point your walk with Christ is going to come into conflict with this fallen world, etc, etc.

So for now I can still set up a Nativity in my front yard, as this is still America and I still have that right. What many Atheists forget is they too can set up an anti-God display in their front yard IF they so choose.

In that Santa Monica story, the town drew lots to see who and which groups got to set up in the park. The Atheists got 17 of the 21 spots, that church coalition got 3, a Jewish group got the last remaining spot. Yet, that wasn't good enough for that guy. I give the city of Santa Monica a lot of credit as they were trying to find a way to make it work fairly for all, but the Atheist guy still wasn't happy, because he wants to inflict his view that no religious group should be heard in the public square, other than his anti-religious view. THAT is wrong and I can't believe the judge saw it that guy's way, but then again this is a fallen world.

That's why I suggested the church coalition just use one of their church yards and just not bother with the city park. It isn't worth the hassle.

Just remember, the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight.

Thu, Nov 22, 2012 12:04am
Mike: With regards to the nativity scene issue, you're right that no such law would be passed. However, keep in mind that most of this outlawing of Christianity has been done through the courts, which is how the ACLU and other organizations from hell skirt around the political process.

Thu, Nov 22, 2012 12:12am
MFD: In a previous post you mentioned Love of Christ church. I think you've confused it with Word of Life. WOL is the church with Pastor Dave Carey which is now located at Rt 72 and OBP. Love of Christ with Pastor Steve Harvill was originally located next to the old Lowe's at the Stanton underpass and is now located in Bear on Route 7 south AKA Bear-Corbitt Road.

Just wanted to clear that up for you. God bless.

Thu, Nov 22, 2012 12:14am
Oh, speaking of the Stanton underpass, once upon a time a flooded a car out there. This was back before they built all that new highway over the top of it.

Is there anybody else on this blog who has a Stanton underpass tale to tell?

Thu, Nov 22, 2012 3:52am
Mike it appears I mis-read your take, and riffed off the "we live in a fallen world" without understanding the context of which your were speaking.

Simply, Christians will always be put upon, is what Jesus is saying. If a ruler tell you to worship him, and you say no, you worship God, it will cause conflict. If your boss wants you to adjust paperwork so automatic bank accounts transfer 5% more into his business account that the vendors agreed, and you disagree based on your principals, it will cause conflict. If a president wants to give the rich tax breaks and you stand in the way, it will cause conflict...

That essentially was what Jesus was trying to say. Look, you will not be seen as being "like everybody else." You will be seen as being different. Many will flock to you; but many will resent you, primarily because you have a sense of justice, and will not stand silent when you see it misapplied....

There is a story of a girl in Rome, who was burned in the arena to make an example of Christianity. Up until she died, she prayed for God to forgive her persecutors, and thanked him for bringing her home (heaven) so soon. Such devotion shook the hearts all who heard it. It almost converted Rome to Christianity a hundred years before Constantine. It forced the Romans to examine their shallow lives and realize they had nothing offering such resolve....

(I'm sorry I don't have the reference, but it should be easy to google. It is a great story. )

The point is, that having preachers demand this and that from elected rulers, makes them no different from the pagan priests who did the same.

How one lives their life, is what makes all the difference in the world. If someone says they are Christian and robs, kills, and rapes, not too many are going to follow that religion. But if one is always happy, doesn't mind giving to help out, and has a big heart, Christianity is well represented....

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Nov 22, 2012 9:45am
Kavips: Well said. The story of that Roman woman is quite compelling, but makes the point of what it is to be a Christian. Here's the link I found: http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/martyr.htm

How one lives their life is what St. Francis of Assisi was referring to when he said, "Preach the Gospel at all times, if necessary use words". Unfortunately, way too many of us, myself included, who call themselves Christians tend to use words, but forget that our lives need to match our words.

Mrpizza: I've actually been to both and did get the names confused. You are correct, Word of Life is Pastor Carey's church on Old Balt. Pike. Both W of L and Love of Christ are, at least when I was at them, good churches. Thanks for catching and correcting my lapse in memory.

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