• The legal validity of nativity scenes on public property continues to be a source of controversy. A federal district court in Illinois ruled that a nativity scene on city hall property violated the first amendment’s nonestablishment of religion clause despite the fact that the display was part of a larger display that contained several traditional (and secular) symbols of Christmas and was accompanied by a written notice in which the city disclaimed any endorsement of Christianity or any other religion. The court acknowledged that the United States Supreme Court had upheld the constitutionality of a nativity scene in a 1984 ruling, but it emphasized that the Supreme Court’s decision, unlike the present case, involved a nativity scene that was located in a private park rather than at the official headquarters of a city government. The court noted that the United States Supreme Court has agreed to review again the constitutionality of nativity scenes, and that a decision is expected later in 1989 that hopefully will provide clarification to lower courts throughout the nation. Mather v. Village of Mundelein, 699 F. Supp. 1300 (N.D. Ill. 1988).
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