Judge rules against nativity scene

21 Nov, 2012 03:00 AM

LOS ANGELES: A US federal judge has denied a Christian group's bid to display a nativity scene in a Los Angeles park.

The US District Court Judge Audrey Collins formalised an earlier tentative ruling.

The lawyer for the Christian group, William Becker, said he would appeal. ''The atheists won and they will always win unless we get courts to understand how the game is played and this is a game that was played very successfully.''

Christmas nativity scenes have been erected in Palisades Park for decades but last year atheists overwhelmed the auction process for display sites, winning most slots and triggering a bitter dispute.

Santa Monica officials snuffed the city's tradition this year rather than referee the religious rumble, prompting churches that have set up a 14-scene Christian diorama to sue over freedom-of-speech claims.

''It's a sad commentary on the attitudes of the day that a nearly 60-year-old Christmas tradition is now having to hunt for a home, something like [how] our saviour had to hunt for a place to be born because the world was not interested,'' the head of the Santa Monica Nativity Scene Committee, Hunter Jameson, said before the hearing.

The atheists were not parties to the legal case. Their role outside court highlights a tactical shift as atheists evolve into a vocal minority eager to get their non-beliefs into the public.

Associated Press



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