Elementary School Removes Nativity Scene from Lawn to Avoid a Costly Lawsuit

Guess where this Nativity Scene was seen?

It was outside Cottondale Elementary School in Florida… for some reason. (What’s that? Oh right. “Tradition.”)

But not anymore. In order to avoid any lawsuits that they would lose in a heartbeat, the school has put the Baby Jesus in a closet:

Principal Brenda Jones told television station WJHG the decision to keep Baby Jesus in the closet came after an official with the Department of Education dropped by to discuss the separation of church and state.

“The Dept. of Education came in and talked to us about the legalities of religion in the school systems and the separation of the two,” Jones told the television station.

In an attempt to be fair to everyone, the principal said, “We decided that we would just not put the Nativity scene out on campus.”

Smart move. Even former school board member Betty Duffee told reporters she understood the reason for the removal:

“There are people in the community that are threatening to sue the school board (over separation of church and state issues), and it costs a tremendous amount of money to defend something you know you will lose,” she said.

“It’s not that we’re against it; it’s just that the federal law prohibits it,” she said.

That’s a lovely sentiment: We would totally break the law if we could, but the government tells us we can’t. Way to teach the little kids a lesson.

In response, a private company across the street from the school has put up the school’s Nativity scene on their own property. They’re acting like they’re beating the system by doing it… but they’re not. They’re perfectly within their rights to do this and no one will tell them to remove it.

(via Atheist Lutheran)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.