MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In Wadena, a nativity scene that has been displayed at Burlington Northern Park during Christmas for years is being removed.

Despite strong support from citizens opposing its removal, the Wadena City Council voted Tuesday night to donate the nativity scene to a private group.

It comes after a threat of a lawsuit from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which is based in Madison, Wisconsin.

The organization’s attorney, Patrick Elliot, sent a letter to the city in January of 2015. In it, he outlined the constitutional problems with the nativity scene being displayed on public land.

“It is unlawful for the City to maintain, erect or host a holiday display that prominently features a nativity scene, thus singling out, showing preference for and endorsing one religion,” he wrote. “The Supreme Court has ruled it is impermissible to place a nativity scene as the focus of a display on public property.”

The letter continues, saying there are ample private and church grounds where displays of this nature can be placed freely.


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