Did Santa Monica Ban Nativity Scenes?
It is commonly known that the media has a tendency to sensationalize things. What recently happened recently in Santa Monica is no exception. Media outlets are claiming that the city of Santa Monica banned nativity scenes. However, if one examines the issues surrounding what actually happened, you find out that (not surprisingly) the facts are quite different than what was reported.
Santa Monica had allowed church groups to set up Nativity scenes in the city parks. Atheists said that it was unfair to subsidize just one religious group so the city, in turn, said that anyone could set up displays. But since they were getting too many requests, the city said that display permits for city parks would be redeemed by lottery. Last year atheists applied along with Christians and, as it turns out, atheist groups won most of the permits. Christians were outraged and the result was a huge outcry. So, the city council decided to no longer have displays instead of allowing atheists to apply for them on an even playing field with Christians and other groups.
Nativities are not illegal anywhere on private property in Santa Monica. All that happened was that Santa Monica said they would not use public property for any displays. Now, to avoid giving atheists a spot the city bans the displays and who gets blamed? Atheists, of course.