Florida State Capitol Welcomes Christmas Nativity Scene Beginning December 3
Thomas More Society Facilitates Tallahassee Display of Religion in the Public Square
TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Nov. 27, 2013 /Christian Newswire/
— The Florida State Capitol building in Tallahassee will become home
to a Christmas Nativity scene beginning at noon on Tuesday, December 3,
2013. This privately-funded display of religion in Florida’s public
square has been hosted by the Florida Nativity Scene Committee and
facilitated by the Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based not-for-profit
public interest law firm.
The Christmas crèche display will stand
in the center of the Capitol Rotunda and will depict the newborn Christ
child lying in a manger. The official unveiling of the Nativity tableau
will feature a celebration marking Christmas, the Christian holy day
honoring the birth of Jesus Christ.
WHAT: Florida Nativity Scene opening celebration
WHEN: Tuesday, December 3, 2013, at 12 p.m. noon to 1 p.m. (Eastern)
The exhibit will remain in the rotunda throughout the Christmas season.
WHO: Open to the public, sponsored by the Florida Nativity Scene Committee, chaired by Pam Olsen
- Bishop Joe Brown, Senior Pastor of University Ministries, will lead opening prayer.
- Father John Cayor, Rector of Co-Cathedral of St. Thomas More, will offer a prayer for the troops.
- Students from Community Christian School in Tallahassee will perform Christmas carols.Speakers include…
• Scott Beigle, Founder and President of Faith Radio
• Alejandro Capote, Political and Community Coordinator of Noles4LIFE at Florida State University
After Christmas, on Friday, December 27, the holy family figures of
Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Jesus will be joined by figures representing
the Biblical Wise Men on the rotunda’s opposite side. The secondary
display, sponsored by Reclaim Christmas for Christ, founded by Sandra
Lee Snowden, will remain at the capitol along with the original nativity
through Monday, January 6. The dual exhibits will conclude with a
public January 6 commemoration of the Epiphany at noon (Eastern). The
Epiphany, widely practiced in Hispanic and Latino cultures as Three
Kings Day, marks the visit by the “wise men from the East” to bring the
Christ child gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
scenes represent a constitutionally protected expression by private
citizens in a traditional public forum, namely the capitol rotunda. This
is classic free speech and citizens’ free exercise of their religious
faith in the public square, where the sole role of the government is
that of a viewpoint-neutral gatekeeper assuring open access for all
citizens to have their “say.” Government is neither censor nor endorser
of such religious speech. This display is privately funded and
sponsored, bereft of any government aid or endorsement, and therefore it
is clothed and armored with the full protection of the First Amendment
of the United States Constitution.
The joint primary goal of the
Florida Nativity Scene Committee and Reclaim Christmas for Christ is to
celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. A secondary
mission is to proclaim and demonstrate to the public and the media that
such private expressions of religious belief in the public squares of
the nation are not merely tolerated but fully deserving of robust legal
The Tallahassee nativity initiative was inspired by
last year’s dispute over a Christian holiday display in the Chicago
suburb of Arlington Heights. Eventually resolved with intervention by
the Thomas More Society, the conflict has prompted America Nativity
Scene, founded by Jim Finnegan, to help place privately funded manger
scenes in public squares nationwide.
- Nativity Scene Returns to Illinois Senate Capitol Rotunda for 6th Straight Year (canadafreepress.com)
- Nativity scene returns to rotunda (sj-r.com)