Published On: Thu, Dec 17th, 2015

Minnesota town, Wadena takes down nativity after atheist lawsuit threats, now ‘hundreds’ of displays set up

A Minnesota city to take down its Nativity scene after lawsuit threats from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) prompting residents to take matters into their own hands, blanketing the town with nativity scenes in response…hundreds of them.

Wadena officials conceded to the FFRF, which threatened to sue the city over the forty-year-old display of the Nativity scene. Wadena officials sold the figures to the Wadena Ministerial Association for $25, who displayed it on private property.

The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue commented, “It is entirely legal to put a manger scene on public property, as long as it is privately paid for and it is a public forum, i.e., an area that is open to art displays, concerts, rallies, and the like.”

 Check this out! After an atheist group forced one Minnesota city to take down its nativity scene, residents took matters into their own hands!

Posted by Fox & Friends First on Wednesday, December 9, 2015

“For the past twenty years, the Catholic League has erected a life-size nativity scene in Central Park,” Donohue noted. “The New York City Parks Department grants us a permit every year. All that needs to be done is to apply for a permit.”

Disappointed Christians responded to the Wadena city council decision in various ways.

The headline in the Star Tribune is how there are now “hundreds” of nativities.


“Holy families are starting to outnumber the 4,000 residents of this central Minnesota railroad town.”

“The whole community has come out to support this,” An Open Book bookstore owner Gillette Kempf said. “It’s an expression of who we are as a community and what we believe. We believe in the Nativity.”

Mayor George Deiss said, “I’m hoping we lit a little spark and the rest of the nation will catch on.” Deiss himself has at least eight Nativity scenes on display outside his home, and he estimates that Wadena residents have put up at least one thousand.

“I’m really proud of my town. I’m hoping we lit a little spark and the rest of the nation will catch on,” Deiss said.

photo Alyson Jones

photo Alyson Jones

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- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

Displaying 12 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Ian Cooper says:

    Yes, believe it or not, Christians can put up nativity scenes on their own property. What they can’t do is put them up on public property, unless they also allow atheists and others to do the same. So by all means, folks, put up your own displays. You were allowed to do that before too – it’s hardly a revolutionary act. Nor does it change the fact that the government is legally required to give equal treatment to all religions, and none.

  2. Mark Moore says:

    Anytime Christians force Christianity into the public square they open the public square to every other religion and philosophy. Equal treatment is a fundamental tenant of United States law and not just in regards to religion. Every time a Christian agues for Christianity in the public square, that Christian is arguing for access by every other religion and philosophy whether that Christian intends to or not. That is the way the system works in the United States. Once the public square is forced open to Christianity it is forced open to all others with an idea.

    If Christians want monkey gods and Festivus Poles, and Satanists parading about then the thing to do is force Christianity into the public spaces and the rest have an open door to follow.

    • Ray says:

      It’s “freedom OF religion” not “freedom FROM religion” – officials should be elected, vote and be held accountable for the displays in their town. If a town elects to put up a nativity then they should be allowed to and the angry atheist needs to get more citizens from his/her town to get their Festivus pole erected at City Hall. The existence of Christmas trees, nativities and the mention of Christ for years hasn’t created a “National Religion” or an “endorsement” as proposed by atheist extremists, it just shows how selfish and spoiled our citizens have become.

      You should feel honored to live in America, the land of the free where you HAVE the freedom to be offended and will don’t execute those who go against the grain, like in *coff coff, the Middle East

      • Anthony says:

        “Freedom of, not from.”

        Logic would dictate that the former must include the later. But logic clearly isn’t your strong suit And as far as a national religion goes, would you be okay with money labeled “one nation, under Allah?”

        • Brandon Jones says:

          Having nativity scenes on government property doesn’t create a national religion

          • Anthony says:

            So which religion should get to put their displays up?

          • Brandon Jones says:

            The Supreme Court has ruled that “governments only have to accept displays from private parties when the government ‘intentionally’ opens government property for public discourse…. If there has been no such intent of the City and County to open up their property to private expression, they can merely erect their own holiday displays. The government can do precisely this and still maintain the freedom to reject all requests from private groups to erect displays.”

            That said, I don’t think we should reject very many. We should have to follow public decency and obscenity laws and this should be done ONLY by local citizens, NOT group from remote locations (the Satanic Temple in New York cannot erect a statue in Oklahoma).

            I’m not opposed to Islam, Judaism and other faiths being represented.

          • Anthony says:

            So you’re asking a local government to promote only Abrahmic faiths. Sure sounds like a violation of the establishment clause to me, which the supreme court has ruled on over and over.

            This is why the city council took down the display. Because they knew they’d likely lose in court.

            I’m overjoyed as an atheist to have this outcome which is the sensible legal one.

            If you want your religion on display, it should be at your church, or in your home, or on your property. Not on property we all share.

            This country doesn’t just belong to Christians. It belongs to people of all faiths, creeds, and races.

          • Brandon Jones says:

            “So you’re asking a local government to promote only Abrahmic faiths.”

            I’m not. I’m asking the local government to decide what goes on their public property, not an atheist objection from a group who is based in a different state. I’m ok with your Festivus pole with a little sign who states who funds the display being there. I’m ok with Islam and Judaism being represented – inclusion NOT exclusion. Freedom OF religion, NOT freedom FROM religion

    • ADF says:

      ADF Legal Counsel Jonathan Scruggs: “The courts have been clear that the government can erect Christmas displays, including Nativity scenes, without having to honor demands that atheist displays also be allowed on government property. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has already addressed this exact issue.”

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