A nativity tradition in Elmore, Ohio, was somewhat derailed after an atheist activist group threatened the village with a lawsuit over the fact that the display was placed in a local park.
The nativity had reportedly been present in the public park for decades each holiday season without incident before The Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist activist group, dubbed it a violation of the separation of church and state, WTOL-TV reported.
Officials decided to move the nativity to private property under threat of lawsuit, arguing that they couldn’t afford a costly legal battle.
So, the display is now across the street from the park on a former mayor’s front lawn.
Some locals, though, are less than thrilled over the threat as well as the decision to move the display, with numerous residents speaking out to media and explaining their frustrations.
But it seems that those who are unhappy will be potentially delighted to learn that the town is looking to move the nativity back to the park next year after an attorney encouraged officials to simply make it part of a broader Christmas display.
It seems the overarching display will pass legal muster if secular symbols are mixed in with the religious imagery, so that’s the plan moving forward.
“So as soon as we add Santa Claus, Christmas trees, candy canes with attention not drawn to the nativity scene, legally we’re in better shape,” village administrator Dean Ridner told WTOL.
Next year, it seems the tradition will be back on. We’ll have to wait and see how the FFRF reacts to these proposed changes.