Nativity Scenes Appear At 43 State Capitols
Many people erroneously assume that governments are prohibited from religious displays, such as menorahs and Nativity scenes.
Celebrations of the Savior’s birth are scheduled with 43 State Capitol Nativity Scenes across America this Christmas. Thomas More Society and American Nativity Scene are helping a growing number of private citizen groups across the nation to display Biblical manger scenes on government property this Christmas season.
“In 2023 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 Ed O’Malley, President of American Nativity Scene. “The message of hope delivered by the Baby Jesus celebrates the joy of new life,” O’Malley added. “This troubled world can benefit from more hope and more joy.”
American Nativity Scene works closely with attorneys at Thomas More Society to make sure that anyone who desires to sponsor a state capitol Nativity scene are able to do so, as allowed by law.
“Many erroneously assume that government entities are prohibited from allowing a religious display,” explained attorneyThomas Olp, Thomas More Society Executive Vice President. He said: “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. We pray that the Nativity scenes of this Christmas season will help to foster a sense of unity and peace on earth.”
Attorney Tom Brejcha, Thomas More Society President and Chief Counsel, spoke to the importance of displaying the Nativity scenes. “The Christmas message highlights the inherent dignity of each and every human being,” he stated.
Pro bono legal work by Thomas More Society attorneys 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.”
The following state capitol buildings featured a Nativity scene in 2022: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Thomas More Society is a national not-for-profit law firm, based in Chicago, that is dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and freedom. It has successfully argued cases reaching from local trial courts to the United States Supreme Court.