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Nativity Tradition to Continue In Spite of Ban

Christian church group seeks private land to display the life-sized dioramas now that they're definitely banned this year at Palisades Park. Christmas celebrations are being planned at the park.

Santa Monica's ban on all holiday displays at Palisades Park won't keep Christmas celebrations off the public land.

Plans are in the works to host carolers and Christmas celebrations at the southern end of the park near the Pier, according to Hunter Jameson, chairman of the Santa Monica Nativity Committee, a group of Christian churches that has sued the city over its ban.

And though Nativity scenes are no longer permitted at the park—for the first time in nearly 60 years—Jameson said they are likely to be placed on private property, as city officials and a federal judge have suggested.

When in June the City Council outlawed the traditional displays after disputes arose with local atheist groups, the Nativity Committee filed a lawsuit claiming its members' First Amendment rights were being violated.

On Monday, a federal judge denied the group's request for an injunction that would require the city to allow the dioramas to be displayed at the scenic seaside park over the holiday season while the case proceeds. She set a Dec. 3 hearing on a dismissal motion brought by the city.

"We are certainly working to carry on" the tradition, Jameson told Patch on Tuesday.

The evening celebrations at the park are being organized by a "friend" of the committee, said Jameson, but he would not say who. They are to start Dec. 3 and continue nightly until Christmas, he said.

As for the dioramas, the committee needs plots, about 300 feet wide by 8 feet tall, on private land to erect the displays.

"If any one has a suitable space in Santa Monica, we’d be very interested," Jameson said. "Preferably in an area that has good visibility for motorists and pedestrians."

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judith brown November 21, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Dioramas? Is that what they're calling those hot mess "nativity scenes" What they actually are: stiff department store dummies draped with sheets, in plywood boxes behind chicken wire. Classy. If they can find some sucker with private land willing to "host" that, more power to 'em. But they apparently don't want the kitsch on their own church lawns. I work on the Pier, so it looks as though I'll be assaulted every damn day by amateur singers doling out the 500,000th version of "The Little Drummer Boy" I've been subjected to in this lifetime, so far. Sigh. We get it, so-called Christians, you've got two whole seasons of the year dedicated to the birth and death of your version of God. Normally, I like Christmas decorations and traditions, but I'm not in favor of the bullies who force their tacky version on everyone else,just to make some stupid point. That they don't believe there should be a separation between church and state, and that theirs should be the only beliefs upheld by the state. For God's sake, people, get wise: Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the Founding Fathers went out of their way to protect us from people like you.
LD Chism November 21, 2012 at 05:58 PM
You'd think SM would want to attract tourist to the city. It is baffling how our country is letting the minority rule, and not for the good of all, just for that few... Very sad. .However, how wonderful the Nativity Committee is still fighting for good.
Addie Stalk November 21, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Like Mr. Hunter Jameson says "the nativity scenes have been on public land for 60 years." As we all know, times change. What may have been accepted and approved of 60 years ago is no longer acceptable today. Are you just as accepting of Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim displays on public land?
judith brown November 21, 2012 at 07:12 PM
I first came to Santa Monica as a tourist, over 30 years ago -- and at the time, couldn't believe the city condoned those tacky, plywood and chicken wire "dioramas." I've been a Santa Monica resident for almost 30 years, and I'm happy to see those tacky displays gone. I also took a history class or two in college, and know the Founding Fathers set up our democracy to protect the minority from the majority. If the Nativity Committee is still fighting to break down the wall between church and state, they're not fighting for good.
Dan Charney November 21, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Judith- you should do comedy- I am still laughing and I needed that- as for the displays- one would think it time for the Christians to realize they are not the only game in town - I've had it shoved down my throat way too much - glad they are gone-Christmas to me is just a few days where people treat each other a bit better- not a time for religious or materialistic celebration- enough already of this man made myth and silliness- please rest yee crazy gentlemen - BASTA
Randy Rasmussen November 22, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Just another symptom of the disease known as "liberalism" that is sending California down the toilet, and trying to pull the rest of America down too. Incredibility tiny minorities.. begging for attention, and the only way they can get it is by behaving badly... Tweaking the noses of We, the majority, even though they are in no way injured or affected by these holiday displays. Pathetic cries for attention, even if it's bad. Pathetic.
judith brown November 24, 2012 at 06:57 AM
if liberalism is a disease, then why are std rates higher in those so called 'moral' red states, which also have higher divorce rates, more teenage pregnancies, and more crime? No less more poverty: so much so that California must pay out more Federal dollars to support those poverty and disease and divorce ridden "moral" red stares. And as for the majority: well, they voted in this last election, and it wasn't for the religious right. The founding fathers (most of whom were deists, but not Christian) wanted to spare us from the horrors of history when religion ruled governments. The so-called Christians dealt themselves out of their tacky holiday displays because they refused to share the government space with those of other beliefs (and it was the athesist's sign which was defaced, wonder by whom?) No one likes bullies, and that's one reason the Democrats not only took California back, but the whole country.
Wendy Frederick November 26, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Oh shut up all of you! I would like to count the times any of you even NOTICED these displays, until last year when it was brought to your attentions! Who CARES if they are up or not? Will it kill you to view them? I am sick of all of your squalling about this whole subject. Get on with your lives and stop making a big deal about nothing! I am sure there are other problems in all of your lives that you should be paying more attention to than some displays!!!

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