ISSN 2330-717X

Nativity Scene Victory – OpEd

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The Catholic League was contacted this week by Knights of Columbus Council #275, in upstate New York, about their being denied the right to erect a nativity scene outside the Ulster County office building, something they had done for many years.

On December 9, I wrote a letter to Ulster County Executive Patrick Ryan explaining why his decision was constitutionally problematic. By allowing a menorah, which is a religious symbol, inside the office building, and a Christmas tree, he cannot deny the display of a nativity scene. We emailed my letter to him and sent it in the overnight mail.

On December 10, I received a phone call from Marc Rider, Deputy County Executive at Ulster County, explaining that a decision was reached to place the nativity scene alongside the menorah and the Christmas tree in the lobby of the building (having the crèche stand by itself outside building might show favoritism for the Christian symbol). I thanked him for his reasonableness.

This is an important victory. The Catholic League is delighted to help the Knights of Columbus. They have some very enthusiastic and courageous people at the local and state levels.

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William Donohue

William Donohue is the current president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the United States, and has held that position since 1993.

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