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Some Good News: RECORD-BREAKING Number of Nativity Scenes Displayed at State Capitols in 2022

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Celebrations of Jesus Christ's birth are scheduled at nativity scenes placed at 43 state capitols across the country this Christmas. 

The Thomas More Society, a not-for-profit national public interest law firm, and the American Nativity Scene, a group dedicated to the display of nativity scenes at every state capitol throughout the U.S. during the Christmas season, are helping a growing number of private citizen groups across the nation to display Biblical manger scenes on government property this Christmas. 

State capitols in Alaska, New York, Utah, and Virginia are scheduled to feature the traditional display of the Holy Family with Baby Jesus in the manger for the first time this year.

"In 2022 we are pleased to announce that 43 State Capitol Nativity Scenes, the most to date, are scheduled to be erected at state capitols this Christmas season," said American Nativity Scene President Ed O'Malley.

The American Nativity Scene works closely with attorneys at the Thomas More Society to make sure that those desiring to sponsor a State Capitol Nativity Scene can do so, as allowed by law. 

"Many erroneously assume that government entities are prohibited from allowing a religious display," explained Thomas More Society Vice President and Senior Counsel Thomas Olp. "The law is clear. Government entities may erect and maintain celebrations of the Christmas holiday – or allow citizens to do so on government property, including nativity scenes, as long as a crèche's sole purpose is not to promote its religious content, and it is placed in context with other symbols of the season as part of an effort to celebrate the public Christmas holiday through traditional symbols."

Thomas More Society President and Chief Counsel Tom Brejcha echoed the importance of displaying the nativity scenes, especially in times of social or political controversy. 

"The Christmas message highlights the inherent dignity of each and every human being," Brejcha noted.  

Pro-bono work by the attorneys at the Thomas More Society ensures that citizens who privately fund religious displays on public property are accorded their right to do so as guaranteed by the 1st and 14th Amendments of the United States Constitution. 

A permanent federal injunction banning discrimination against religious speech assures that the Christmas crèches are protected from erroneous applications of the widely misunderstood concept of "separation of church and state."

Nativity Scene in Arkansas Park Can Stay for Now

In recent years, nativity scenes displayed on public property have been criticized by atheist groups and oftentimes local municipalities are threatened with litigation unless the display is removed. 

As CBN News reported earlier this month, a nativity scene that has been part of a decades-old tradition in a local Eureka Springs, Arkansas park will remain on display during this Christmas season. But whether or not it will be allowed to continue in the future remains to be seen. 

Mayor Robert "Butch" Berry had asked the Great Passion Play Executive Director Randal Christy to remove a local sorority's historical nativity scene from Basin Park. The play's officials had taken over the annual display for the sorority a few years ago. 

A city resident had threatened to file a lawsuit saying the nativity scene violated his constitutional right to freedom of religion.

"That's all you've got to do nowadays to get city governments to cave in," Christy told The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette about the display in Basin Park. "You just have to threaten a lawsuit. They're going to scramble and avoid their court costs even though they've got an attorney on file. If it's all about Jesus, it's not even worth a few hundred dollars of court costs."

The mayor conferred with other city officials who advised him it might be best to remove the display. "We either had to have it removed or we had to allow everything to be displayed, including people who worship Satan," Mayor Berry said. "Based on that, they said it was best if we just not have anything at all."

For now, the city will issue a permit to the Great Passion Play for $25, so they can keep the nativity scene in the park this year. But the municipality may draft a policy in the future regarding displays in the park, according to The Gazette

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About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of