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Published On: Tue, Dec 20th, 2016

Michigan: City of Menominee park nativity scene returned as officials agree to add Santa, ‘secular symbols of holiday’

A Nativity scene has been returned to a City of Menominee park after it was needlessly removed due to a complaint from the atheist group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Liberty Counsel offered pro bono defense to reinstate the City’s long-standing Christmas tradition of displaying a Nativity scene in a city park. The FFRF sent numerous complaints to the city for several years questioning the policy of having a Nativity on public property. Menominee City Manager Tony Graff said the display was taken down shortly after being put up this year. The city attorney determined that the display was “a violation of our own policy” governing what can be put up on public property. However, Liberty Counsel instructed the city manager to return the Nativity to the park and add secular items to the display, which they have planned to do.

Nativity scene in Daley Plaza, Chicago Ill. photo screenshot of news coverage

“Publically-sponsored Nativity scenes on public property are constitutional, especially when the display includes other secular symbols of the holiday,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “We commend Menominee city officials for their courage to heed our counsel and reinstate the Nativity to its rightful place. We stand by the city and will offer legal counsel to any city facing threats from the FFRF or other individuals,” said Staver.

Liberty Counsel has launched its fourteenth annual Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign, pledging to be a “Friend” to those who recognize Christmas and a “Foe” to those who censor it. The campaign educates, and if necessary litigates, to make sure that Christmas and Christian themes are not censored. Liberty Counsel provides a memorandum to offer guidance regarding publicly and privately sponsored religious holiday displays, religious holidays in public schools, and the rights of public school students in the context of religious holidays.
An updated Naughty & Nice List is also available, that catalogues retailers that recognize and those that censor Christmas.
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