Following controversy this week over the presence of two nativities in dining halls at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, the outpost’s commander has announced that the Christmas scenes will be moved to the base chapel.
The decision hands a pointed victory to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a church-state separatist group.
Capt. J.R. Nettleton told the Miami Herald that no one has ever complained to him about the nativities being present in public cafeterias, noting that the displays have been presented there for the past 10 years without incident.
In the end, though, after reviewing an anonymous complaint from 18 officers who took their grievances to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Nettleton decided to comply with their demands.
“The spirit of the Navy’s policy on this is, if it’s religious, it goes to the chapel,” he said. “It’s more appropriate there.”
Military Religious Freedom Foundation president Mikey Weinstein told TheBlaze on Wednesday that the nativities were unconstitutional inside the public dining areas.
“The law is clear. Either you include all religious faiths or you do not,” he said. “These nativity scenes are completely appropriate over at the chapel. They are completely … egregiously unconstitutional where they currently reside.”
Weinstein also said the majority of his clients for this particular complaint are actually Christians.
“For the record, 11 of our 18 clients are practicing Protestants and Roman Catholics,” he said. The rest are Jewish, Muslim, atheist and agnostic.
In the end, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s demand for the nativities to be moved to the base’s chapel was granted and the controversy — at least for now — has come to a close.
Read more about the story and the initial complaint here.
Featured image via the Military Religious Freedom Foundation
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