Christians in Santa Monica, California, have refused to back down to atheists who have successfully pushed for a local ban on unattended nativity displays in local parks. TheBlaze already told you about the loophole that believers found in the new regulations imposed by city government — one that allows for live reenactments of the Christmas story to still take place in Palisades Park. So, over the weekend, to the chagrin of secularists, believers put on quite the show.
On Saturday, the live nativity unfolded in an effort to rail against atheists’ efforts and city-wide regulations that are seen by some as squelching free speech. In contrast to past years, which included large-scale depictions of the Bible’s story of Jesus’ birth, actors came together in costume, complete with a wooden manger. Additionally, the Christians putting the show on sang traditional Christmas carols in honor of the holiday tradition.
As for the motivation for continuing the nativity, one could easily argue that such a sentiment is tradition. This year marks the 60th annual presence of Christmas imagery in the public park. And, according to the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington, D.C., the loophole of creating a live display made perfect sense.
“We noticed that all the bans were for unattended displays, so we thought, what about a live nativity? What about having people there?” he explained in an interview with KNBC-TV.
Interestingly, the live display was not put on by the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes committee, the owners of the traditional display involved in the recent legal dispute. However, the group did advertise the event on its web site.
Watch an NBC report about the live nativity, below:
As for the massive displays that graced the Palisades Park for decades, a private business has opened up its land to display these Biblical scenes. Watt Companies, a real estate business in Santa Monica, California, will host the Christian themes from Dec. 9 through Jan. 5.
“We are deeply grateful to the Watt Companies for donating display space that will allow all of Santa Monica’s distinctive Christmas Story to continue spreading the message of joy, hope, and peace found in the Christ child’s birth to residents and visitors,” said Hunter Jameson, chairman of the Nativity Scenes Committee, in a statement on the group’s web site.
Watch, below, for more:
As TheBlaze has reported, for the past year, atheists and Christians have been battling over the presence of nativity displays in public parks in Santa Monica. In an effort to temper the bickering, the city inevitably implemented a ban on all religious speech in local parks, thus ending a nearly-60-year tradition of having a display in Palisades Park. But the battle clearly hasn’t ended.
These newfound actions have helped to keep the nativity display — at least in some form — in place.