FFRF asks Michigan town to remove bible nativity scene


The Freedom From Religion Foundation is requesting that an unconstitutional nativity scene be removed from a Michigan town.

An exhibit of the manger scene of Jesus Christ’s birth has been put on display on the lawn of the Oscoda Township hall building, which houses the police department and fire station. To FFRF’s knowledge, there are no other holiday decorations on the grounds.

“It is unlawful for the town to maintain, erect, or host a holiday display that consists solely of a nativity scene, thus singling out, showing preference for and endorsing one religion,” writes FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert. “The Supreme Court has ruled it is impermissible to place a nativity scene as the sole focus of a display on government property.”

Displaying an inherently Christian message on government property unmistakably sends a message to citizens and visitors that Oscoda endorses the religious beliefs embodied in the display. When the town displays this biblical manger scene, it signals the government’s approval of Christianity, thus alienating the nearly 30 percent of Americans who are not Christian — including the 23 percent who are nonreligious.

“Public nativity scenes ostracize this growing population of nonbelievers and non-Christians in their own community,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “There are plenty of private grounds and places of worship where religious displays may be freely, and legally, placed.”

When the government endorses and shows preference for one religion over others, it strikes a blow at religious liberty by forcing taxpayers of all faiths and of no religion to support a particular expression of worship. FFRF is insisting that the city take immediate steps to remedy this First Amendment violation.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with roughly 30,000 members, including nearly 730 members in Michigan. FFRF’s purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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