Raleigh City Council Approves Holiday Display Depicting Nativity
Posted December 6, 2005 10:20 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — The Raleigh City Council unanimously approved a measure Tuesday night that would allow a local coalition of conservative Christians to set up a holiday display in downtown Raleigh that would include a depiction of the birth of Jesus Christ.
The group, Called2Action, wants to use Moore Square to display specific holiday greetings that would also include a menorah celebrating Chanukah and a Kinara celebrating Kwanzaa.
"Our plan from the start was, 'Let's make this display go beyond what is required of us constitutionally,'" said Steve Noble, the head of Called2Action.
A picture of the proposed exhibit presented to the City Council follows what the U.S. Supreme Court calls the "Three Reindeer Rule," meaning for a display not to favor any religion, it must also include neutral holiday items, such as snowflakes, stockings or reindeer. Call2Action's exhibit, according to the picture, also showed snowmen, reindeer and trees.
"The vast majority of people in this country don't have a problem with 'Merry Christmas' or 'Happy Chanukah,'" Noble said. "It's a group of people, mostly the ACLU and their allies."
Noble said he thinks the religious roots of the country need to be protected and celebrated; other people attending the City Council meeting also agreed.
"Everybody has their rights," said Janet Hancock. "What about our rights? And, it's a shame it's gotten to this."
Called2Action will pay for the entire exhibit; the city will not fund any part of it. The city attorney must now review the group's proposal to ensure it is fair to all faiths. If approved, it could be on display in Moore Square as early as Monday.