The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights set up a nativity scene Tuesday in New York City’s Central Park, despite uproar over public religious displays.
The group erected the nativity display not only as an expression of the Christian faith and the reason for Christmas, but also to clear up confusion about the constitutionality of religious displays in public areas, according to a statement from the Catholic League. The nativity set will remain in the park because, despite past crusades against nativity scenes in public areas, religious displays on public property are constitutional, according to Catholic League president Bill Donohue. (RELATED: Archdiocese Sues Metro For Refusing To Run Christmas Ads)
“It is entirely constitutional: no one can stop Christians from displaying a manger scene on public property, just so long as it is considered a public forum, such as a park. Problems emerge when the site chosen for display is on or near a seat of government,” Donohue wrote in a statement provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The New York City Parks Department issued a permit to the Catholic League for its nativity display, which Ernie Chirico and Joe Agosta erected Tuesday on the corner of 59th Street and 5th Avenue. Donahue said that those who oppose public displays of religious Christmas decorations will still have to view it into 2018.
“The anti-Christmas side will be forced to endure the indignity of seeing our nativity scene for weeks to come, right through the new year. To be exact, our foes who take the 5th Avenue bus downtown cannot help but see it. Oh, yes, we proudly have the name Catholic League splashed alongside the crèche’s base,” Donahue wrote in the statement. “This is our way of saying Merry Christmas and Happy Holy Days.”
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