Thanksgiving ushers in a season of holiday spirit, department-store sales — and legal fights over Nativity scenes on public property. This year, opponents of these Christian displays have scored a victory: a federal judge upheld the decision of Santa Monica, Calif., to ban Nativity scenes on city-owned property. These battles have raged for decades, but the fight in Santa Monica is different. And it suggests why, in the years ahead, this issue may finally be put to rest.
The usual pattern for these fights has been for the ACLU or a similar group to sue whenever a scene of Christ’s birth goes up, with the argument that it violates the First Amendment ban on government support for religion
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