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Voters in Detroit suburb reject mandatory Nativity scene

By The Associated Press
11.08.07

BERKLEY, Mich. — Voters in a Detroit suburb have rejected a proposal to require that a Nativity scene with Jesus, Mary and Joseph stand at City Hall for about one month around Christmas.

Berkley voters rejected the proposed city charter amendment 2,275-1,861 on Nov. 6, the city clerk’s office said. It said turnout was 36% in the city of about 16,000, located about 10 miles north-northwest of downtown Detroit.

Advocates of placing a Nativity scene on public property circulated petitions for the vote after the City Council decided last year to move the display to a church lawn. The American Civil Liberties Union had threatened to sue the city over the display.

The proposal would have required that a Nativity scene that “includes figures of the infant Jesus, Mary, and Joseph” go on display at City Hall from the Monday after Thanksgiving through Jan. 6.

The U.S. Supreme Court has found that Nativity scenes on public land do not violate constitutional guarantees of religious freedom if the Christian religious elements are mixed with secular decorations (see Lynch v. Donnelly, 1984, and Allegheny County v. ACLU, 1989).


Related

'Tis the season for disputes over holiday observances

New Jersey town officials turn to state municipal league for guidance on how to handle religious displays on government property. 12.04.06

W.Va. town adds Jesus to Nativity scene
Move follows flurry of news reports on infant's absence from St. Albans display; parks official had said Baby Jesus was left out to avoid conflict over church-state separation. 12.06.06

Wash. state sued over denial of Nativity scene
Man asks federal court to end 'unauthorized prohibition of religious expression' at state Capitol in Olympia. 12.29.06

Ten Commandments, other displays & mottos

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