(December 19, 2013 -- Chicago) An early Christmas gift is available to those who would like to display a privately sponsored and funded Christmas nativity scene in a designated or traditional public forum, either inside or close to their state capitol or city hall next year, in December 2014. Applications will be accepted between now and December 25, 2013 for a free creche display, available for use in any traditional or designated public forum. The first 50 manger displays approved will receive no-cost assistance in the legal permit process from the Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based not-for-profit public interest law firm that has facilitated the display of religious holiday tableaux throughout the country. Applications for the free creches are subject to the approval of the American Nativity Scene Committee, a group based in the Chicago area that is dedicated to the display of nativity scenes in every state capitol throughout the United States during the Christmas season, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor.
- WHAT: Apply for a free nativity scene for a state capitol or city hall via the American Nativity Scene Committee
- PLUS: Receive free legal assistance for the permit process from the Thomas More Society
- WHEN: Apply between now and Wednesday, December 25, 2013
- APPLY AT: http://americannativityscene.com/how-to-order.html
"These privately sponsored and funded religious displays in traditional or designated public forums are constitutionally protected," explained attorney Tom Brejcha, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Society, "It is the First Amendment right of private citizens to proclaim in the public square the joyful message signaled by Jesus Christ's birth."
The Thomas More Society and the American Nativity Scene have partnered with local groups throughout America to defend against any unconstitutional bans on such privately sponsored and funded Christian Christmas displays. State capitols in Illinois, Florida, and Rhode Island, are among those whose nativity scenes these groups have facilitated. In addition, applications from private citizens planning similar public displays in 14 other states have been received.
American Nativity Scene Committee Co-Chairman Jim Finnegan is passionate about keeping the Christmas focus on the babe in the manger. He became involved in nativity promotion partly in response to the choice of many merchants who no longer let their employees greet customers with "Merry Christmas," insisting instead on the generic, "Happy Holidays."
Finnegan and his Co-Chair Ed O'Malley are determined to remind the public of the real reason for the season. "We keep it simple," explained O'Malley, "We just recognize the true meaning of Christmas as a commemoration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Picture of the nativity scene at the Illinois State Capitol Rotunda in Springfield, Illinois:
The Springfield Nativity Scene opening celebration is unveiled at noon on Tuesday, December 3, 2013, at the Illinois State Capitol rotunda and will remain on display through the Christmas season, sponsored by the Springfield Nativity Scene Committee. This privately sponsored display of religion in the public square is legally represented by the Chicago based Thomas More Society.