Nativity Group Files Appeal Over Displays Banned From Palisades Park

A group of Christian churches has appealed the dismissal of its case that seeks to undo Santa Monica's ban on Nativity scenes and holiday displays at Palisades Park.

A notice of appeal was filed Dec. 26 in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles by the attorney representing the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee.

Comprised of more than a dozen local churches and the Santa Monica Police Officers Association, the committee has tried without success to stop the city from adopting a new policy banning all unattended holiday displays at the scenic seaside park.

Before the ban, the life-size Nativity scenes had been erected in Palisades Park for 59 years.

The fight began in 2011, when the city implemented a new lottery system to award space in the park. That system led to disputes when lottery-winning atheist groups displayed signs and banners, leaving a large area usually devoted to Nativity scenes empty to illustrate their beliefs.

In November, U.S. District Court Judge Audrey B. Collins sided with the city's argument that additional administrative burdens caused by other groups wishing to produce their own displays justified the ban.

"The city's job is to protect the rights of those whose protected expression is targeted by unruly forces," said William J. Becker, an attorney representing the Nativity committee. "We expect the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to get it."

— City News Service contributed to this report.

See also:

Displaced Nativities Find New Home

Santa Monica Nativities Are Back Up [VIDEO]


judith brown January 03, 2013 at 06:13 AM
Here we go again: "We don't have the freedom to impose our religion on everyone in a public place!" <i>Wahhhhhhhhhhhhh</i>!
judith brown January 03, 2013 at 06:17 AM
"The city's job is to protect the rights of those whose protected expression is targeted by unruly forces," said William J. Becker, an attorney representing the Nativity committee. "We expect the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to get it." They sure will, especially since SOMEBODY vandalized the Atheists' display. (Now I wonder who was that darn "unruly"? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm?}
D K Hatton January 03, 2013 at 03:21 PM
Exactly! What a concept....
mimi January 03, 2013 at 05:07 PM
Very well said.
Santa Monica Resident January 03, 2013 at 07:28 PM
For a group of people who are so into Jesus and his story, wouldn't the time, energy and money spent on fighting this legal battle be better spent on doing his work? I don't know, maybe feed the poor, or defend the weak? Seems pretty like a pretty UnChristian like path to me.
Brenda Barnes January 04, 2013 at 01:51 AM
There should be a lottery, and every group should display whatever it wants to express in the Park. The Park belongs to the public, not the City Council. Banning expression is their agenda to control us all, and using the threat of "nastiness" over differences of opinion is a well-trod path taken to try to shut down public dissent. Few liked Nazis in Skokie, but they have a right to speak so we all can. Becoming petty and calling people names is just a sign you need to express more and better until you can be adult about it.
judith brown January 04, 2013 at 02:58 AM
There WAS a lottery, and the Christianists had a hissy fit when the Atheists also got chosen to display their signs. Then SOMEBODY vandalized the Atheists' display (wonder who?). The city council rightfully had had enough. The right to free speech doesn't give you the right to force public government into dealing with your catfights.
Monica Bey January 04, 2013 at 10:37 AM
I'm surprised at the comments to this story. It seems that freedom of speech should allow for Christians to express their views, certainly during one of the most important months in their tradition. The Santa Monica decision seemed to squash free speech. And by creating the lottery earlier, the only impact was to give a bunch of bullies a platform to crap all over someone else's speech. Atheists have 11 other months of the year that they could have chosen to be in the park.
Monica Bey January 04, 2013 at 10:43 AM
Not very receptive to diversity, are you?
judith brown January 04, 2013 at 06:23 PM
If by "diversity" you mean the Christian bullies who attempted to silence the speech of another belief, your logic is full of holes.
judith brown January 04, 2013 at 06:24 PM
So-called Christians have the freedom to speak wherever they like. They don't have the "freedom" to impose their religion on others -- and vandalize others "speech" -- on government property. The bullies in your scenario have always been the so-called Christians: after they tried to bully the city in suppressing any other belief, tried to bully the Atheists off the display, the city had had enough. And rightly so: the Founding Fathers of this country built separation of church and state into our government because they were aware of the hundreds -- thousands! -- of years of wars based over religion. And they wished to spare us from that. So-called Christians needed to walk only a block or two in either direction to find Christmas displays -- even Christmas lights put up by the city! -- and their tacky plywood box, department store dummies, nativity scenes were erected on private land not many blocks further away. The bullies just didn't get their way in a government land, and they've been whining ever since.
Derek Layne January 04, 2013 at 06:58 PM
Judith - your ignorance about 'religion' is unbelievable. Your read of the Constitution also demonstrates your extreme lack of comprehension. You actually probably believe that Christianity is a 'Religion' rather than it being a philosophy. It is simply mind boggling how secular progressives desire to move God/Christ from everything by taking away a Christians RIGHT to public displays of faith but somehow feel it necessary for YOU to limit their free speech and then ridicule them for their beliefs. Your really should actually READ the Constitution, understand its actual purpose for not 'establishing religion' in America (there is no Separation of Church and State clause - Thomas Jefferson made mention of this label that progressives like you shape into meaning that the State has to be hands off on all religious displays or teachings). Once you get your head out of the sand, stop being brainwashed by the liberal media and actually choose to learn history rather than repeating tired and erroneous lectures meant to tamp down the rights of those of religious faith you just might realize how wrongheaded you are. But then again you are likely a pseudo intellectual, and you are clearly not alone in Santa Monica as there are thousands here, who only debates those that agree with them as it makes you feel smarter and 'right' in your thinking. Always 'remove God' until it comes to Obamacare and then you SP's ask, "What would Jesus or God want for the helpless?"
judith brown January 04, 2013 at 10:35 PM
I studied Religion and History on the college level, got A's. The Founding Fathers -- including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington -- were Deists (look it up) not Christian, and sought to protect the country from religious bullies of all stripes. Nowhere in the Constitution is the word "God" mentioned. The Declaration of Independence mentions God, but only in Deistic terms. For instance, the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary, written during the administration of George Washington and ratified in the administration of John Adams reads, "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion . . ." The Founding Fathers were students of history, and sought to save this country from the divisive wars of religion that had wracked the rest of the world (and a repeat of the Salem witch trials. here.) I've been resident of Santa Monica for 30 years: and from the first, disgusted by the ugly, tacky plywood box and chicken wire Palisades Park "nativity scenes" with department store dummies dressed up in sheets. However, it wasn't my aesthetic sense which got the tacky ass "nativity scenes" banned from public property, but the Christian bullies who refusal to share with other beliefs, and vandalism. Sic semper tyrannis (look it up.)
judith brown January 04, 2013 at 11:00 PM
If there is a Jesus or God, it would be likely they'd be pleased that the "helpless" won't be denied healthcare by insurance companies under Obamacare. The disabled with "pre-existing conditions", the poor, the middle class, children under 26, the unemployed will have more opportunities to have their health cared for under Obamacare. And no longer thrown off healthcare if the insurance company decides their illness has exceeded the cost of some arbitrary cap. PPACA is aimed primarily at decreasing the number of uninsured Americans and reducing the overall costs of health care. It provides a number of mechanisms—including mandates, subsidies, and tax credits—to employers and individuals in order to increase the coverage rate.[5][6] Additional reforms are aimed at improving healthcare outcomes and streamlining the delivery of health care. PPACA requires insurance companies to cover all applicants and offer the same rates regardless of pre-existing conditions or gender.[7][8] The Congressional Budget Office projected that PPACA will lower both future deficits[9] and Medicare spending.[10] If there is a God or Jesus, I'd think He'd be pretty pleased with the lessened suffering. But nice Fox News/Red Herring/Troll bait to slip into a discussion of tacky ass nativity scenes.
judith brown January 04, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Yeah, you'd think the Christians would want to follow Christ's path -- after all, Feeding the Multitudes was one of His miracles, not Erecting Plywood Boxes with Department Store Dummies Draped in Sheets. Guess that's a miracle left out of the New Testament, for some reason.
Derek Layne January 05, 2013 at 12:21 AM
Judith - I love it! A college professor in economics has zero aptitude to putting his knowledge into reality based use. Therefore, merely because you studied something and can offer 'cut and paste' text doesn't mean you are a scholar. Hell, we have a president of the United States who claims to be a Constitutional scholar and we know his ignorance of it. So spare me the psycho babble crap as you throw around your pedigree. Classic liberal. Let me offer a few comments though to erode your belief in the value of the thousands of dollars you wasted on that diploma that hangs underneath the "Truth" portraying Obama as a crucified savior. First - anyone who has attended college is full with the knowledge that they don't teach actual history, only the history they WANT you to learn. Second - while some of the Founding Father's were not 'Christian' they did believe and portray Judeo - Christian values. Thomas Jefferson in fact called himself a Christian (look it up - actually I will do it for you) - Jefferson in 1803 wrote: "To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence..." Thomas wrote: The Jefferson Bible, or The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth as it is formally titled, and in 1804 with "The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth"
Derek Layne January 05, 2013 at 12:30 AM
Ben Franklin at the Constitutional convention said that they should bring in a clergyman to pray for their deliberations and stated: "In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when present to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings?... I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth - that God governs in the affairs of men." So look, I could go for days ripping apart your learned scholarly history focused solely on those that prove your belief. But I won't. In only 2 comments I have completely dismantled your argument on the history of our founding fathers.
Derek Layne January 05, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Judith - On PPACA - CBO was only off by over $1.4 trillion in their estimate (their own revised estimate increased by $1.4T). And at what cost to the American people are you willing to continue to pile on expenses without being able to confiscate the revenue to pay for it? New independent studies show that millions of people will still NOT be covered by PPACA, roughly same amount before the State took over our health. Since you brought up the oh-so-trusted CBO then let's use them as 'gospel' on this.The CBO estimates that, of the 30 million U.S. residents it expects to be uninsured in 2016, 18 to 19 million are exempt from the mandate. Nevermind the costs and loss of rights! God/Jesus didn't believe that you care for anyone at the tip of a Roman sword or threat of jail if you don't pay a tax. Last I checked, the Trinity is all about caring for people out of faith, charity and hope. Do unto others as you would have done to you. God most of all wanted freedom for everyone. The Apostle Luke was a doctor, can you, in your so well learned History, demonstrate for me an actual quotation by Jesus, his Savior, where Luke was forced to stay behind and care for the sick, elderly, homeless, and poor? I look forward to patiently, take all the time you need, learning from your tutelage on these topics. Let's deal with historical facts however and not the facts you want to search and find.
judith brown January 05, 2013 at 03:55 PM
Wingnuts and facts: they never meet. Because they have conservative "think" tanks pumping out the propaganda talking points. Like they say, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias." Just ask President Romney.
judith brown January 05, 2013 at 04:04 PM
Here's some reality for you: I have a dead friend who would be alive under Obamacare. She slipped through the cracks of the health insurance industry and before she became indigent enough for Medical sponsored chemo, her ovarian cancer had developed to the point that the next three chemo treatments she put herself through were too late. Wendy just wanted to live long enough to see her adopted daughter through high school. Under Obamacare the health insurance companies wouldn't be allowed to ignore her suffering., Instead, Social Security, and her friends, now have to raise her 14 year old daughter. So screw you big time, wingnut. God and the health insurance companies created a dead mother and a motherless child. Obamacare would have saved both. But
judith brown January 05, 2013 at 04:10 PM
I also don't believe an "economics professor" would write -- or reason -- that sloppy. Unless he's employed by Bob Jones University, or some other wingnut academy which issues diplomas from CrackerJack boxes. But nice try at troll bait, wingnut.
Nan Jefferies January 06, 2013 at 07:10 AM
You tell her, Derek! Judith, you must be one mean, nasty, bitter person. You remind me of a woman at a meeting I was at two Decembers ago in Santa Monica (maybe it was you!). The meeting was sponsored by an Internet-based service provider, who was not only giving useful information for free to probably more than 100 people, but also provided lunch & dessert for free. As it was December, the organizers must have thought it would be a nice touch to have something Christmas-related and community-related, and had a local school choir singing, yes, Christmas carols! Well, this one woman, who was Jewish, had the biggest hissy-fit I've ever seen at a gathering of supposedly professional people, because she was offended by Christmas carols. She complained to the organizers; she complained to the people at the table where she sat (yes, she stayed to eat free). So, she's at a free event, getting free information/food and felt compelled to throw a tantrum about Christmas music. Incredibly poor manners, rude and a lack of appreciation for diversity. You, my dear lady Judith, I believe are the one who doesn't understand what diversity means. It's "diversity" as long as it fits your criteria. And, I don't understand how you arrived at the conclusion that the Christians are the bullies. You seem to have named yourself crime investigator and determined the nativity display organizers commited the vandalism. My conclusion: you're pretty disrespective of diversity.
Nan Jefferies January 06, 2013 at 07:28 AM
Judith - Also, I echo another comment ... really? You got A's in some of your classes. And you felt compelled to share that as ... credentials? I know someone who stayed in college ten years, and he still believes everything he reads in the New York Times. In other words, making an A doesn't make you smart. I hate to break that to you at this late point in your life. But, to my point of making a second post. Gotta comment on your rose-colored-glasses view of Obamacare, the program that Dear One Pelosi said we had to pass so we could see what was in it. You seem to have missed that insurance companies, who engage in organized theft, are still in the mix, with their top management compensated with multi-million dollar paydays. My monthly premium has DOUBLED since 2011; I've consistently gotten 20 percent increases in the 14 months. Obamacare simply puts more money in the pockets of the insurance companies. It's not real health care reform that the country needs. By requiring that everyone have insurance, the insurance companies simply get more money. And who is paying for all the people who can't afford it? The people who still have money to pay premiums. Everyone should have access to basic healthcare, but this is just a con job. And people like you don't even realize that you're being conned.
Derek Layne January 08, 2013 at 06:46 AM
Judith - again you dodged anything I asked you nor could you counter anything I said. Instead to resorting to calling me a 'wingnut'. Also something about wingnuts and facts dont go together? Oh the straight A student cant win an argument with fact or reason so the typical attack or emotional tirade is unleashed by the college scholared pseudo intellectual. And Judith can you 100% guaranty that your friend would be alive today if not for the evil insurance company? Very sad to hear about your friend, truly I am, but there is NEVER a guaranty in medicine or life trauma. So please cool it with the anecdotal story of someone who died because of lacknof insurance...like Barack claimed, for purely sympathetic reasons, the way his grandmother died. Judity I await your next response. I can only imagine the vitriol streaming through your veins right. Relax and breathe. Then formulate a coherent, rational and logical response fit with some facts and understanding of 1) history, 2) what the constitution actually says not what you want it to say, and 3) Obamacare and its dramatic adverse it is having on our HC system, our economy and our lives. Nan you nailed it!


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