Christmas displays with Baby Jesus to be put up in 32 US state capitols
November 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The American Nativity Scene organization and the Thomas More Society have had a fruitful partnership over the past decade assisting the public display of privately owned nativity scenes in state capitols across the United States. This year, their goal of seeing a public nativity display at every state capitol is drawing closer to realization, with 32 such displays set to be erected.
In a Thomas More Society press release, American Nativity Scene president Ed O’Malley said 2020 will be a “banner year … with 32 manger displays scheduled to be erected at state capitols this holiday season, up from 27 in 2019.” Saying this year has been extremely hard for people due to the government’s reaction to the pandemic, he emphasized that “the message of hope delivered by the Baby Jesus (is) more important than ever.”
Thomas Brejcha, president and founder of the Thomas More Society, explained the rationale and legal justification for the displays in a video uploaded to the social media site Parler on Thursday.
“We believe very much that people of faith ought to be heard in the public squares of our country so their voices are participants in the marketplace of ideas,” he said.
“If folks don't hear from us, if they don't hear our message, we won't be able to reach them. This is a very important part of what we call evangelization – taking the word of God and the Christian message out to the streets,” he continued, emphasizing that erecting nativity displays is one way of doing so.
Brejcha assures those hesitant to undertake this initiative out of fear that they will face legal resistance that such fear is groundless. “We do this in a way that the ACLU approves,” he said.
“It's an exercise of free speech in a designated or traditional public forum … because there are political rallies in these locations, and if political rallies are allowed, that means it’s a traditional or designated public forum, and therefore if you get on your soapbox and spout your politics you're free … to get on your soapbox and preach your religious faith. By that same token, you can put up a nativity scene,” he continued.
He noted that there are certain limitations that may have to be observed in pursuing this project, giving as examples the fact that in certain places time constraints are placed on how long the nativity scene may be displayed. For example, whereas in Texas and California the display is limited to a week, in Missouri the display lasts a mere three hours.
Nevertheless, Brejcha says they have never encountered complete resistance. “We've never had to file a single lawsuit to get these nativity scenes put up,” he said. “If we do have to sue, we will sue. But we don't need to because as I say even the ACLU agrees our theory is valid, and it’s a winner.”
Those who are zealous to share the good news of Christ’s birth are encouraged to contact the American Nativity Scene for a free Nativity set, and are assured of free legal assistance if necessary. “In all of the 50 states, we have a benefactor who sends these nativity sets free of charge to anybody who is willing to put them up, keep them in the off-season and take care of them. We’ll take care of the legal work, without charge,” Brejcha said.
The American Nativity Scene can be contacted at this address, phone number, and email: