City Commended for Voting to Keep Nativity in Park
(Franklin, PA) — The end of November, the City of Franklin received an email from a family in a neighboring town complaining about the Nativity display that had been present in the city’s Bandstand Park for as long as anyone could remember. To press the issue of a possible violation of the separation of church and state, the author of the email, who simply signed it “RM, SJ and family,” cc’d the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the Wisconsin based atheist group. The American Family Association of Pennsylvania (AFA of PA) is headquartered in Franklin and immediately began offering information to the mayor and city manager. The AFA of PA commends City Council for unanimously voting on Monday night to keep the Nativity scene and to add secular items to the display in order to counter any future accusations of violating the separation of church and state.
“Mayor Doug Baker and City Council were willing to look at the information presented and to act in such a way to save the Nativity scene, which had enormous community support as was evidenced by letters to the editor in our local paper and public comments during the meeting. I was able to again outline steps during the meeting that the city could take to preserve the decades-old Nativity scene and avoid any church and state issues that might be brought up,” remarked Diane Gramley, president of the AFA of PA.
During this time of year, we see more and more attacks on this federal holiday — Christmas. Until recently the display of a Nativity scene on government property had never been an issue. It was simply considered part of the holiday season and not an offense. In recent years there has been push back by those who identify as non-religious, atheist or secularist and in an attempt to remove all religious aspects of the holiday have demanded government entities throw out their Nativity scenes. This act itself is a violation of the separation of church and state as the government is blocking a Christian message.
“This is an excellent example of a city that was willing to do its homework on the issue and quickly make the right decision. The addition of secular items will not mean the expenditure of taxpayer dollars, since community members have offered to donate these items. Again, Franklin’s mayor and city council made the right decision and the AFA of PA supports them 100 percent, “further commented Gramley.
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