Watch CBS News

Churches uses live Nativity displays in response to ban

In Santa Monica, California, this year's Nativity displays at a park will literally come alive.

In response to a city ban on permanent Nativity displays in Palisades Park, a public place, some church organizations have staged a live, temporary Nativity scene using people to portray Joseph, Mary and other figures from the Bible, CBS Los Angeles reported. A different church will stage a live Nativity scene until Dec. 23.

"We want to have a positive effect here in the community, because the nativity scenes have been a positive thing for the whole community, anyway, and we want to keep it that way," said Pastor Keith Magee of Trinity Baptist Church.

In June, the Santa Monica City Council barred private displays in the park in response to atheists' complaints of having religious displays on public property.

"It's a legal principle. It's our Constitution that, in order for the religious groups and people like me, who are not religious, to be free, we need to separate the church and the state. It's good for all of us," an atheist recently told CBS2/KCAL9.

Prior to that, Nativity displays have been a tradition at Palisades Park for years. Last month, a Los Angeles judge denied a request from churches to have the city open the park's spaces to private displays.

"It's a sad, 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 our savior had to hunt for a place to be born because the world was not interested," said Hunter Jameson of the Santa Monica Nativity Scene Committee.

CBS Los Angeles reported that several churches are suing in response to the city's ban, while the city is asking the court to reject the lawsuit.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.