The battle over a nativity scene in Athens, Texas, reached new heights this weekend when up to 5,000 supporters flooded the town square. Their purpose? To stand firmly opposed to the attacks a prominent atheist group has waged on the religious display.
As the Blaze reported earlier this month, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, a group that frequently targets the presence of faith and religion in the public square, is demanding that a nativity scene be removed from public property.
On Saturday, thousands of supporters assembled in Athens Town Square to rally around and support the religious display. According to WTKR, some likened the ever-intensifying scenario a “holy war.”
Supporters of the nativity scene claim that there’s an attack on Christianity in America. “It’s time for us to stand together and protect the very principles that made this nation great from its birth,” said Pastor Nathan Lorick, a nativity scene supporter. “We’ve become so busy with our lives that we’ve forgotten our first love.”
Watch Lorick speak, below:
Rather than a protest, WTKR reports that the event resembled more of a church service, as thousands said prayers and sang hymns. “What we need Christians is to stand and say Jesus Christ is the only way,” Pastor Derek Rogers proclaimed.
See protesters, below, singing a Christian praise and worship song:
Critics though — mostly atheists — believe that the scene is offensive and that it should not be present on government property (the nativity is currently positioned in front of the Henderson County Courthouse). The Daily Mail has more:
Saturday’s rally passed without incident and included speeches, patriotic music, Christmas carols and prayers.
The FFRF sent a banner to the court house that it wanted displayed, with a very different message than the birth of Christ.
The group’s banner read ‘At this season of the Winter Solstice, let reason prevail.’
‘There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but a myth & superstition that hardens hearts & enslaves minds,’ it finished.
The sign was initially put up by a mystery man, but was later removed because the proper compliance forms hadn’t been filed. While the FFRF is known to sue if it doesn’t win in these sorts of situations, the town, so far, shows no signs of backing down.