Large Nativity Scene in Front of Loudoun County Courthouse Now Sits on Church Property

After all the “War on Christmas” drama that took place in Loudoun County, Virginia this year (like the city official who called atheists “terrorists”), there’s finally some good news.

The pressure from atheists groups to remove a massive Nativity scene from government property worked… kind of:

A nativity scene that was front and center at the Loudoun County Courthouse for six decades spent last year’s Christmas season out of the spotlight after complaints that a religious display should not be in front of a government building.

This year, the nativity has a new home at the Leesburg Presbyterian Church, while the courthouse is displaying a smaller version of the manger scene. You’ll also find a Christmas tree, a menorah and Santa Claus… although some atheists expressed disapproval.

So there’s still a tiny manger in front of the courthouse, but it’s surrounded by other displays and it’s not “prominent.” Considering how many people tried to keep that Nativity scene in place out of “tradition.” I’d call that a victory.

(Thanks to Dianne for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Ken

    I love the improvement but it is still not right. The smaller nativity scene has nothing to do with a courthouse, literally nothing. No argument there. I hope one day the courthouse has nothing on display because it should be indifferent to all people so that it can be unbiased. :)

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Sounds like for next year we need the courthouse to have a Flying Spaghetti Monster solstice display and a banner from the FFRF.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    The nativity surrounded by other holiday symbols (menorah, etc) isn’t so much a “win” as it is a comfortable compromise. But it is an improvement!

  • Kris in Leesburg

    As a Loundon resident, there’s a bit of spin here and a lot of bad reporting by NBC. The nativity in question is the old one and was never even on display this year. It was most likely donated because it had deteriorated over time and was getting leaky and worn down. The controversy over the nativity was over the new one, which is not exactly tiny. Its a cardboard cut-out which cost the city a few thousand dollars. There are other displays, but only county-approved displays, which are spaced well apart, and hardly “surround” the Nativity. The Nativity is the most prominent display. The other displays are a menorah and a plastic-looking Santa statue. These were all chosen by the city and the city does not allow displays from citizens. This fits the Supreme Court decision that as long as you add a Santa, its secular enough and is constitutional. The whole controversy this year was over the new nativity display, and there is no victory so far there. Again, just very bad reporting by NBC. The story should be “Loundon County donated an unwanted creche to a local church and nothing else changes.”

  • Cat’s Staff

    I’ve seen this before…city get’s criticized for having a nativity display so they give it to a church… I’m sure the city was compensated by the church for the display… and how was it determined that that church would get the display? Was there a fair bidding process? Could an anyone bid on the display or churches…as in just Christian churches. A city shouldn’t be able to buy something and then donate it to a church. If their god wants them to have a nativity display, then he should provide the church with the funds to buy it; not provide them with corrupt government officials who use tax payers money to buy it for them.


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