The following press release was issued on June 11 by the Becker law firm.
Attorneys for organizers of the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes will ask the city council on Tuesday to reject a staff proposal banning the nearly 60-year-old Christmas tradition and all other displays from Palisades Park. The council will hear public comments and act on the matter at a meeting scheduled for Tuesday.
Last year, the city instituted a controversial lottery system. That system led to disputes over the fairness of the new rules when lottery-winning atheist groups displayed signs and banners attacking Christian beliefs and left a full block within the park empty.
On Wednesday, attorneys for the Nativity scenes group sent a letter to the city council urging it to delay action on the proposal.
“We strongly believe that banning all unattended displays in the park – and thereby ending a tradition of allowing private groups to display the Nativity scene – is unwarranted. The committee will be carefully reviewing how this change impacts their constitutionally protected rights,” said William Becker Jr., a First Amendment attorney and lead counsel for the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee.
“It is not the government’s function to avoid controversy at the cost of fundamental rights. Indeed, the Supreme Court has firmly rejected this rationale for interfering with speech,” Becker wrote in the letter.
Becker explained that citizens’ free speech, including religious speech like Nativity scenes, has special protection in public parks under the Constitution, and the city cannot issue a flat ban.
The Nativity scenes group has been fighting the city’s attempts to change its policy of allowing the annual Christmas displays in Palisades Park. The hiring of legal counsel represents a new direction for the group.
Posted Wednesday, June 13, 2012 6:53 AM By MacDonald Outlawing Christmas scenes is ridiculous. Religion is an important part of our country, and especially CATHOLICISM was from the very start an integral ingredient in the transformation of California into what we are today. Just look at the names of our major cities, which clearly demonstrate our rich Catholic heritage: San Diego, San Bernardino, Los Angeles (El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula), San Luis Obispo, San Jose, San Francisco, Santa Rosa. Ignoring our Catholic history is like trying to ignore…well, the ocean! It’s right THERE! You can’t pretend otherwise.
Posted Wednesday, June 13, 2012 10:24 AM By Abeca Christian Aw Santa Monica how liberal and anti-Christian you have become, your reputation of this travels throughout all of California. Also Santa Monica is well known for it’s advancement for it’s gay movement too.
Posted Wednesday, June 13, 2012 11:21 AM By Tracy For those of you who haven’t already seen it, may I recommend Heidi Harris’ “12 days of Winter” posted on YouTube. It is a perfect but sad satire on the result of the Atheistic influence infecting our American culture.
Posted Wednesday, June 13, 2012 12:06 PM By JLS The good that will come from Santa Monica outlawing Christianity is that it will draw the anti-Christians away from other areas where Christians live.
Posted Wednesday, June 13, 2012 12:34 PM By Larry Should not the City of Santa Monica change its name, if it wishes to be free of attachment to religion?
Posted Wednesday, June 13, 2012 6:19 PM By JLS I grew up on the beaches between Venice, Pacific Ocean Park, Santa Monica and Malibu. Last month I had occasion to drive there a couple times … The population density has grown by a factor of about onehundred or possibly a thousand. The region there, despite the wealth, is one of the sardine cans of America and the world.
Posted Wednesday, June 13, 2012 10:02 PM By Delilah Santa Monica is simply caving in to the politically correct powers that be. Here in San Diego that happened quite a while ago. We used to have Christmas on the Prado in Balboa Park. Now, we have “December Nights”. It seems that every one but Christians are recognized. Since the name was changed, I have not been to one “celebration”. I have written to the City Council and the park. No answers. But I do understand that attendance is down. Pax
Posted Wednesday, June 13, 2012 11:20 PM By Abeca Christian Thanks Tracy for your recommendations! God bless you!
Posted Wednesday, June 13, 2012 11:32 PM By Clinton So in effect, the City of Santa Monica is telling Our Lord Jesus He is not welcome. See where that gets them. We surely can except to see more of this in this ungodly Obama led war against the Lord and His Church.
Posted Thursday, June 14, 2012 6:35 AM By Canisius This is the logical result of years of marxist infiltration by the likes of the ACLU and other secularist criminal organizations, they are atop my enemies list, could we use a few more St. Peter Canisius here and now..
Posted Thursday, June 14, 2012 7:07 AM By MacDonald I hope the prayers of Saint Monica will help the people of “Santa Monica” not dump their precious faith heritage. The place was founded by Catholic missionaries, for goodness’ sake…
Posted Thursday, June 14, 2012 1:47 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher Unless a miracle takes place, the Demoncrat controlled City Council of Sadamonica will pay the Devil his due! God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher