BELEN – A historic Hispanic city in New Mexico has one in the center of town on public property. Denver has one in front of its City Hall. A small farming community in Colorado has one outside a public park. A Pennsylvania city refused to take its display down despite a legal threat.
Across the country, annual disputes over displays celebrating the birth of Jesus on public land have pitted local residents against advocacy groups pushing separation of church and state. But after years of complaints, communities continue to resist demands that they remove public display celebrating the birth of Jesus from public property.
The moves come after residents have rallied around the displays or conservative groups have offered legal assistance to keep displays up amid legal threats.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s a dead issue,” said Jerah Cordova, the mayor of Belen, where a Nativity scene artwork sits year-round and was not taken down after threats of legal action last year. “The Nativity scene not only represents the history of our town; it represents our culture.”