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Freedom of Religion - Part 1

• Can nativity scenes be displayed on government property during the Christmas season? The United States Supreme Court attempted to clarify this issue in an important decision. For a number of years, a county government permitted a Roman Catholic group to display a nativity creche on the main staircase of the county courthouse during the Christmas season. The creche included figures of the infant Jesus, Mary, Joseph, farm animals, shepherds, wise men, and an angel bearing a banner proclaiming "Gloria in Excelsis Deo" (glory to God in the highest). The creche bore a plaque stating "this display donated by the Holy Name Society." The creche was surrounded by poinsettia plants, but otherwise no other seasonal figures or ornaments were located nearby. A municipal building located a few blocks away presented an annual holiday display each December on a public sidewalk outside the main entrance ...

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  • November 1, 1989

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