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Texas City Facing Pressure Over Nativity Scene Gets Public Support From the Governor: Don't 'Cave to Atheist Demands

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"Public acknowledgement of our religious heritage is entirely consistent with the Constitution."

In this July 25, 2011 file photo, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott talks with the media as he leaves the Tom Green County Courthouse, in San Angelo, Texas. The slogan goes, Don t Mess With Texas. But these days, a more appropriate cry might be: Try it, Washington, and we ll sue. Abbott has filed 27 lawsuits against the federal government _ litigation that has cost his state nearly $2.8 million. That includes more than $1.5 million in salaries for state employees working on the cases, nearly $250,000 in court costs and the travel expenses of attorney general s office personnel, and roughly $1 million for outside counsel and expert witnesses, according to records obtained by The Associated Press using the Freedom of Information Act. (Credit: AP)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R.) is urging the city of Orange, Texas, to keep a Nativity scene displayed outside of its city hall after town leaders decided to remove it following calls by an atheist organization for the city hang a "Happy Holidays" banner next to the crèche.

Abbott called on the city and its residents to “stand up to the demands of a select few who wish to see God thrown out of the public square," the Dallas Morning News reported.

In this July 25, 2011 file photo, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott talks with the media as he leaves the Tom Green County Courthouse, in San Angelo, Texas. The slogan goes,  Don t Mess With Texas. But these days, a more appropriate cry might be:  Try it, Washington, and we ll sue.  Abbott has filed 27 lawsuits against the federal government _ litigation that has cost his state nearly $2.8 million. That includes more than $1.5 million in salaries for state employees working on the cases, nearly $250,000 in court costs and the travel expenses of attorney general s office personnel, and roughly $1 million for outside counsel and expert witnesses, according to records obtained by The Associated Press using the Freedom of Information Act. (Credit: AP)Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott (AP)

Orange city manager Shawn Oubr previously told the Beaumont Enterprise newspaper that the nativity scene would be removed to avoid a possible lawsuit.

However, the atheist group said it never threatened to sue.

The governor then turned to social media, echoing his earlier call for the city to "stand up."

"I urge the City of Orange to keep their nativity scene & not cave to atheist demands," Abbott tweeted.

“As the U.S. Supreme Court has continually held, public acknowledgement of our religious heritage is entirely consistent with the Constitution,” Abbott said in a statement. “The Constitution commands accommodation of religion rather than hostility towards it."

Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter

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