The following comes from a November 20 story in the Christian Post Reporter.

The nearly 60-year tradition of a Nativity scene displayed at a park and hosted by a coalition of churches in Santa Monica has ended after a federal judge ruled on Monday that the city can ban such displays.

A controversy over the display about the birth of Jesus at Palisades Park erupted last Christmas season when an atheist group “manipulated” the city’s lottery system for spaces, according to a nonprofit, resulting in only two booths for the Christian group that normally uses 14 booths for the Nativity-related scenes.

“It’s a very sad day when a small number of people with an axe to grind, people who do not like Christianity, and who do not like God, are able to prevail by manipulating rules to censor our message from the public place where it has been displayed for the enjoyment of millions of people for nearly 60 years,” Hunter Jameson, head of the nonprofit Santa Monica Nativity Scene Committee, told the Christian Post Monday.

“It’s even sadder that a city government would allow itself to go along with this effort to try to snuff out a message that a small group of people did not agree with,” Jameson added.

Judge Audrey Collins denied a request from the committee to erect the large displays primarily on the grounds that the city’s administration was overburdened with the permit process for the displays, according to William Becker, the group’s lawyer. A temporary injunction to allow the displays to go up this Christmas season was not allowed.

“She claimed that they had proved that the primary reason for banning the displays on a permanent basis was due to the heavy administrative task work that city staff would have to do in accepting applications for permits,” Becker told CP. “There is no evidence on the record. The system was being gamed by the atheists. The only reason it was burdensome last year was because the atheists and their allies flooded city hall with permits (requests) in order to get the very result they got today.”

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