Cities ban nativity scene

Savanna Gharibian

(December 14, 2012) — For nearly six decades, Santa Monica displayed nativity scenes in Palisades Park, until this year. It all started in 2010 when Damon Vix, an atheist, felt that the tradition offended him; he then persuaded other atheists to take some display spaces. He and other atheists obtained 18 out of 21 spaces. Some people did not like this. This dispute caused the city to ban the Nativity Story display, ending a 60-year tradition. The Santa Monica city court ruled that the city should not be forced to allow the religious group to publicly display religious symbols, such as the nativity scene. Despite the city’s ruling, the Christian community is still displaying the nativity scene, except it’s on private property. Although being able to display the scene is better than not displaying it all, the court’s ruling is still unfair. I feel that this is a complete violation of the First Amendment, which prohibits “impeding the free exercise of religion.” According to this statement, shouldn’t all religious communities be able to express themselves in public? Clearly, this is not happening in Santa Monica. The Santa Monica court banned the religious displays because, according to the Supreme Court, government cannot allow certain forms of expression on public property but forbid others. However, I don’t see how a display of the Nativity scene could possibly have impeded other people’s views. If someone really does not like something, I think it is best for them to ignore it and let people do as they please. The point is, we’re all different, and we should be able to peacefully live in the same community without taking away each others’ rights. What Santa Monica did was not the best thing to do. They silenced the voices of the religious communities and also ended the six decade-long tradition. All religious communities should be allowed to express their views because the First Amendment says so. This means that during the holiday season, people should be able to express their religion with Nativity scenes, menorahs and other religious symbols. Santa Monica’s six decade long tradition of public holiday displays ended, all because of an unnecessary uproar.