When the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) went after a city council in Jay, Fla., for displaying a nativity set on public property, the atheist group might have won a battle, but seems to have lost the war.
The FFRF, known for protesting any and all religious displays in public places, sent a complaint letter recently to local officials in the 526-person city of Jay, arguing against the life-sized nativity that had been set up on the site every Christmas for nearly 40 years, the group said in a press release.
In a letter sent to the city’s mayor, FFRF attorney Andrew Seidel alleged, "It is unlawful for the town to maintain, erect, or host a holiday display that consists solely of a nativity scene, thus singling out, showing preference for, and endorsing one religion.” He added there are "ample private and church grounds where religious displays may be freely placed.”
In response to the group’s complaints, the city council declared the nativity set surplus property and sold it to the Santa Rosa County Ministerial Association, thus removing it from public property.
The FFRF’s co-president, Dan Barker, praised the city council’s decision as “divesting the town of a divisive display.”
But the town has not been deprived of the nativity, reports the American Pastors Network. In fact, after the ministerial association purchased the nativity, they then placed the huge Christian display on private property near one of the busiest parts of the small town.
The APN said the complaint was just the latest in a continued attack on religious freedom by groups like the FFRF.
“The truth remains that public displays of the nativity scene on government property in no way violate the Constitution. FFRF’s attempts to stifle religious liberty, however, do.”