What Thomas More Society is calling "an early Christmas gift" is available to anyone that would like to display a privately-sponsored and -funded Christmas nativity scene next year in a designated or traditional public forum, either inside or close to their state capitol or city hall.
The legal group that focuses on First Amendment freedoms is accepting applications between now and December 25, 2013 for a free crèche 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 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 crèches 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.
The assistance applications are available at American Nativity Scene's website.
“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."