Pols Want Nativity Scene at Michigan State Capitol

A new commission has been formed to put a plan in place for a Nativity scene on the grounds of the Michigan state capitol. Understanding the perils of doing so, they are spending tens of thousands of dollars on lawyers to make sure they’re on the right side of the law:

The Michigan State Capitol Commission is seeking legal advice over a request to set up a Christian Nativity scene on the Capitol lawn in December, a move that could open the floodgates for other holiday displays.

The newly formed commission, in a Monday meeting, agreed to contract with the Michigan Attorney General’s office for a part-time staff attorney over six months at a cost of around $37,000, which will come out of its general operating appropriation.

The assistant attorney general will be retained to advise on a number of issues, including the Nativity request.

“We think it’s prudent in this case,” said commissioner John Truscott. “We’d rather not be stuck behind the eight ball if somebody decides to go to court over this, and part of it is just researching what’s allowed at the Capitol.”

Truscott is one of the most powerful political PR consultants in the state, but he’s wasting his money. Give me half that much, John, and I’ll give you the legal advice that they should give you (though knowing AG Bill Schuette, I won’t be surprised if he gives you very bad advice on this). It’s pretty simple, really: If you’re going to open up the capitol grounds to a Nativity display, you can’t allow only a Christian display, you have to make it an open forum and let everyone in. And you’re probably not going to like the result.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • D. C. Sessions

    Oh, come on Ed. You’re a betting man.

    They’re almost certainly not going to like the result. Especially since there’s still plenty of time to make sure. It’s really not all that expensive to put together a collection of “corpses” and “ravens” to hang from the branches in the old Yuletide tradition, after all.

    Of course, there’s no guarantee that they won’t declare an “open forum” by surprise on the 21st, with a ten-day application process, and as it happens only one applicant having taken a wild off-chance by applying two weeks before. Then, in response to public complaints, changing their minds and closing the forum a week later.

  • John Pieret

    you can’t allow only a Christian display, you have to make it an open forum and let everyone in. And you’re probably not going to like the result.

    Those faux Satanists could have fun with this one.

  • karmacat

    I know it’s a stupid question, but don’t these politician have better things to do. I am guessing they are doing this to pander to a certain voter base.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    They will make it an Open Forum. All groups (including you Athiests) will be able to put up their own Christian Nativity scene.

  • tbp1

    I guess all of Michigan’s financial woes must have been solved, and there’s plenty of money for schools, infrastructure, making sure Detroit doesn’t implode, funding state pensions, and all those other little pesky things, since apparently they have money to spend on something absolutely frivolous.

  • D. C. Sessions

    I know it’s a stupid question, but don’t these politician have better things to do.

    There is nothing “better” for a politician than getting (re)elected.

    You can argue the chicken/egg thing endlessly, of course: are the things they do in office important because they help get elected, or is getting elected important because it makes it possible to do things in office? In practice, getting elected is essential and doing anything else is optional.

  • eric

    Those faux Satanists could have fun with this one.

    They need to keep a few big gaudy displays in boxes, ready to ship out at a moment’s notice. Likelihood of the opportunity to reuse them is near 100%.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1159674804 robertbaden

    Zombie Jesus display for Easter?

  • vereverum

    @ D. C. Sessions #1

    Of course, there’s no guarantee that they won’t declare an “open forum” by surprise on the 21st, with a ten-day application process

    So, the thing for an organization to do now is to notify the AG, Commission, et. al., that if there is an open forum, they intend to apply, if applications are needed, and install a display. Then if that scenario comes about, they can show that due to prior knowledge it was constructed to specifically exclude their party.

  • k_machine

    Wonder if they’re going to declare a patch of land “private” for the nativity scene?

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Dibs on being baby Jesus in the living Nativity scene! I play it au naturale.

  • raven

    And you’re probably not going to like the result.

    They might like it.

    This year the Pagans are going to have a diorama of Thor and the Aesir battling the Frost Giants. Thor and the Aesir always win and spring comes but it is always a tough fight.

    Considering what the late fall weather is like in Michigan and much of the Northern USA, it should be quite popular.

  • Alverant

    Raven#12

    I hope you’re being serious about that. I’d love to see that … and people’s reactions to it.

  • Michael Heath

    The article Ed quotes:

    The newly formed commission, in a Monday meeting, agreed to contract with the Michigan Attorney General’s office for a part-time staff attorney over six months at a cost of around $37,000, which will come out of its general operating appropriation.

    It’s my understanding that all of the committee members are either Republicans or appointed by Republicans. Republicans like to make the argument that they distinguish themselves from Democrats by being prudent with the checkbook. What a fucking joke that assertion has become.

  • donkensler

    Michael Heath @14: Well, they are prudent about spending money on “those people”. No amount, however, spent on “our people”, is too much.

  • raven

    Most likely this article should be titled:

    Oogedy Boogedy xian legislators want to piss on a giant fire hydrant to claim it as their own. And poke the nonxians with a sharp stick. Because Xmas is supposed to be a fun holiday.

    If you can’t annoy nonxians on the holidays, then why even bother going to church?

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    I hear the distant sounds of the war on christmas beginning. And the christians are already calling in artillery on their own positions.

  • raven

    I hope you’re being serious about that.

    Well, I am serious. However no one else is. Yet.

    1. One huge problem is most of the atheist displays are simple and display no artistry or imagination. It’s often a placard saying, This is all mythology. While it is true, it isn’t very seasonal or holiday-like.

    Not all. One was a Tree of Knowledge, very biblical, with ornaments like scientific instruments and Newton’s Principia.

    This has led to the theory that atheism destroys your artistic ability.

    2. Then again, the Nativity scenes are all cliches and show no imagination either. Seen one plastic sheep, seen them all.

    3. I’ve always been in favor of an all dinosaur nativity scene. They make commercially available all Zombie or all cat ones. The all Zombie ones don’t really fit in with the season.

    4. I’m sure some thought would bring forth some more good ideas.

    5. Don’t forget, these almost always end up vandalized by xians. They sometimes last for whole hours before someone destroys them. You should have a video camera ready to upload the vandalism to Youtube.

  • grumpyoldfart

    Sounds like a politician has been shown his shit-file. That always results in ‘jobs for the boys’.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Dibs on being baby Jesus in the living Nativity scene! I play it au naturale.

    I’d pay to see that, Modus. It being December in Michigan and all. Of course, at those temperatures a lot of anatomical bits go into hiding …

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    D. C. Sessions, temperature doesn’t matter. I’m quite furry. All over. Like an Ewok.

  • Trebuchet

    Truscott is one of the most powerful political PR consultants in the state, but he’s wasting his money.

    Aren’t you a Michigan resident, Ed? He isn’t wasting his money, he’s wasting YOURS!