NYC: Nativity Scene at Central Park

I’ll definitely be checking this out when I get there.

From the Catholic League:

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments as follows:

Today we erected a life-size nativity scene in Central Park, on the corner of 59th and 5th; it will be up until January 3. Moreover, we did not surround it with secular symbols.

Every year we get a permit from the New York City Parks Department to display our nativity scene. We choose Central Park because it is a public forum, a place where concerts, marathons and all sorts of festivities take place. We do not seek to display our crèche on public property adjacent to City Hall, because that is the seat of government.

This needs to be said because there is considerable ignorance about this issue. For example, the New Jersey State League of Municipalities recently released a statement offering guidance to local officials planning holiday displays. “A purely religious display, especially one related to a single religion, is almost certainly unconstitutional.”

There is nothing “almost certain” about my response—they don’t know what they are talking about. If they were right, then we wouldn’t have been able to put our crèche up in Central Park. There is a difference between a public forum and a state capitol building, etc.

Clarence Thomas got it right when he lashed out at his colleagues for not accepting cases that might clarify this issue. On October 31, he said “we have learned that a crèche displayed on government property violates the Establishment Clause, except when it doesn’t. Likewise, a menorah displayed on government property violates the Establishment Clause, except when it doesn’t.” That is why he called for “a clear, workable standard.”

We hope New Yorkers and tourists alike get a chance to see our crèche. Our detractors should see it as well—it may prove to be a real epiphany.

WDTPRS kudos to Bill Donohue and the Catholic League staff!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. trad catholic mom says:

    Christmas is a federal holiday. Since Christmas is a celebration of Christ’s birth by Christians I don’t see how they can claim a creche is unconstitutional.

  2. Veronica says:

    Detractors don’t want a Nativity scene, they don’t want a Christmas tree, but all of them will enjoy the Christmas holidays and no one wil complain about having days off from work because of a religious celebration. Interesting.

  3. Speaking of epiphany, I don’t see why they’re taking it down as early as Jan 3.

  4. irishgirl says:

    Way to go, Bill Donohue, the Irish pit bull!

  5. ChrisWhittle says:

    Since Christmas is a federal holiday, why do people still say “Happy Holidays?”

  6. samgr says:

    In Trenton, the Presipio stands on the State House grounds, next to the menorah.

  7. Tim Ferguson says:

    Why hasn’t anyone made the case before that a manger scene is not a religious display, but an historical tableau. At least, if someone has made this case before, I haven’t seen it. Yes, for the Christian, the manger scene evokes religious sentiment, but at its core, this is a 3-D presentation of an historical event. Are the liberals and atheists opposed to history?

  8. Liz says:

    I appreciate the Catholic League more and more every day! I had no idea how much they did before we joined.

  9. carolg says:

    We belong to the Catholic League, we contribute as much as we can. It takes money to fight the ongoing attachs against religion. Bill Donohue is a tireless fighter for the Catholic Church.

  10. AndyMo says:

    I’m not so sure about this. Looking at the sign advertising the CATHOLIC LEAGUE in proportion to the actual creche, it’s pretty clear what this stunt is actually about. A small, tasteful sign would have done just as well without drawing the focus.

  11. HighMass says:

    Great to See this! YES! Happy Birthday Baby Jesus!

  12. Johnno says:

    A ‘stunt’ though it may be, it’s necessary to get the message across by having the sign there. Detractors will think twice before making it an issue.

  13. Supertradmum says:

    How wonderful. I hope thousands of mindless shoppers saw it and stopped to ponder the Babe in the Manger. The extra-large sheep are a bit terrifying, however. Watch sheep?

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