The group behind the complains, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, frequently targets faith and religion projects that are placed on public lands. The group sent a letter to the county that explains how a local resident, who wishes to remain nameless, is offended by the scene.
Here is some of the text from the letter (via Malakoff News):
It is our information and understanding that a large nativity scene is on display at the Henderson County Courthouse and that it is the only seasonal display on the grounds (see photo enclosed). It is unlawful for the County to maintain, erect, or host this nativity scene, thus singling out, showing preference for, and endorsing one religion. The Supreme Court has ruled it is impermissible to place a nativity scene as the sole focus of a display on government property. […]
We request that, as Henderson County Commissioners, you take immediate action to ensure that no religious displays are on city or county property. Please inform us in writing of the steps you are taking to remedy this First Amendment violation so that we may notify our complainant.
“That Christianity was being promoted, endorsed by local government and this made them feel unwelcomed,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, the co-founder of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. “It sends a message of intimidation and exclusion to non-Christians and non believers this time of year.”
“Anybody walking by that is going to say, ‘Hmmm. This is a Christian government building. I’m not welcome here if I’m not Christian,’” she continued.
But rather than bow down to the atheists’ demands, the pastors are planning to defend their display. “It’s time that Americans stand up and take America back for the faith that we were founded upon,” said Nathan Lorick, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Malakoff, Texas. “We’re going to stand up and fight for this.”
To combat the group’s demands, the pastors are assembling a rally in support of the nativity scene. And it’s not just pastors getting who are on the defense. Henderson County Commissioner Joe Hall calls Gaylor‘s and the FFRF’s attacks “stupid” and he pledges to fight them “until hell freezes over.” According to hall, the nativity has been up for 35 years, without incident.
Tracie Lynda, a local resident, doesn’t see what the big deal is. “What is so offensive about a baby in a manger?,” she asked. “If it does not mean anything to you, why does it offend you?”
The rally to defend the nativity will occur next weekend.
(H/T: Fox News Radio)