Nativity Scenes Cause Uproar; Considered Too 'Religious' for Public Displays

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 19, 2003 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Nativity Scenes Cause Uproar; Considered Too 'Religious' for Public Displays


Byline: Joyce Howard Price, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

As in every holiday season, efforts have been made this year to take Christ out of Christmas in schools and at other public events.

A Nativity scene was removed from a showcase in Simmons Elementary School in Horsham, Pa.

"The administration removed it because it was too overt in its religious significance," said a spokeswoman for the Hatboro-Horsham School District.

District Superintendent William Lessa said he "always thought a Nativity scene is a religious symbol so significant that it was not appropriate in the context of public education."

But Mr. Lessa said he is willing to re-examine that question in the wake of parental complaints and publicity that followed his decision to remove the Nativity scene. He said plenty of other symbols can be found in Simmons Elementary, including Christmas trees, a menorah and a symbol of Kwanzaa.

"Christmas has become more secular than ever in the schools," said John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, a public-interest law firm that represents people in cases involving religious freedom.

"Schools are really tightening down ... we're so besieged by the whole secular aspect [of Christmas] that people are getting the idea it's hopeless to complain" when religious aspects are removed, Mr. Whitehead said.

He expressed concern about the Simmons Elementary action but said Rutherford would not have standing to bring litigation.

In another case, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Rhode Island plans to go to court today to try to force removal of a Nativity scene from the Cranston City Hall lawn. Mayor Stephen Lassey invited residents to adorn the lawn with their own holiday decorations.

Residents responded by installing items such as an inflatable Santa and snowmen, a menorah, a 4-foot-tall angel with lights and 15 plastic pink flamingos wearing Santa hats.

"There was not a peep until a Jewish man decided to put up a Nativity scene in honor of his deceased Christian wife. Then, the ACLU announced it was getting involved," said mayoral spokeswoman Robin Schutt.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Nativity Scenes Cause Uproar; Considered Too 'Religious' for Public Displays
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?