A record-breaking number of Nativity scenes have been put on display in state capitols across the U.S. this Christmas.
The special initiative was carried out by the non-profit public interest law firm The Thomas More Society and the American Nativity Scene, a group that seeks to place Nativity scenes at every state capitol in the country.
As reported by CBN News, state capitols in Alaska, New York, Utah, and Virginia will house traditional nativity scenes first time ever.
"In 2022, we are pleased to announce that 43 State Capitol Nativity Scenes, the most to date, are scheduled to be erected at state capitols this Christmas season," American Nativity Scene President Ed O'Malley said.
Both groups are working closely together to ensure that those desiring to sponsor a Nativity Scene at a state capitol can do so, as permitted by law.
"Many erroneously assume that government entities are prohibited from allowing a religious display," Thomas More Society Vice President and Senior Counsel Thomas Olp explained. "The law is clear. Government entities may erect and maintain celebrations of the Christmas holiday — or allow citizens to do so on government property, including nativity scenes, as long as a crèche's sole purpose is not to promote its religious content and it is placed in context with other symbols of the season as part of an effort to celebrate the public Christmas holiday through traditional symbols."
Meanwhile, Thomas More Society President and Chief Counsel Tom Brejcha said that placing the Nativity Scene was important because of the message it delivers.
"The Christmas message highlights the inherent dignity of each and every human being," Brejcha noted.
While the placement of Nativity scenes on public properties is protected by the U.S. Constitution, atheists and local municipalities have often called for their removal with the threat of legal action.
Earlier this month, in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Mayor Robert Berry requested that a 72-year-old nativity display be removed from a local park after a resident reportedly threatened to sue the city over it. As Christian Headlines previously reported, Berry later revoked his request and allowed the display to stand.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/ivan monteiro
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.