Christians in Santa Monica are suddenly being doubly blessed in their fight against local atheists who have tried to shut down public Nativity displays.
Not only has a Christian group found a legal loophole in city regulations, but a local business has offered its private property as a new home for the traditional displays.
Local atheists had managed to effectively shut down a 60-year tradition of Christmas displays in the city’s popular Palisades Park after a two-year war that ended up with the city prohibiting all holiday displays, and a legal challenge in which the court favored the city.
Two years ago, local atheist Damon Vix got a stick up his you-know-what about the community tradition and decided to louse things up for everybody else.
Not content with simply having his own display with which to mock non-atheists, he got a group of his friends to flood the city with phony applications for holiday displays, including one display about the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
The atheists won the majority of the spots in the city’s permit lottery, while driving up the city’s costs for processing the applications. Then the atheists only used half the booths they had won.
This year, the city decided to just abandon the community tradition and ban holiday displays altogether in the park, which is one of the city gateways, overlooking the beach and the famous Santa Monica Pier.
Local Christians sued the city over its policy but lost in court. For a time, it seemed that atheism once again would be enshrined as the de facto “state” religion.
But the Christians found a loophole in the ban. The city’s wording specifies that “unattended” holiday displays are not allowed, so the Christian Defense Coalition applied to the city for a permit for a live Nativity and received it.
The living Nativity will be performed Dec. 8, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Palisades Park. The Nativity is being titled “The Birth of Christ. The Birth of Freedom. The Santa Monica Nativity.”
“By finding a way to creatively address this injustice, the powerful message of Christmas and religious freedom will continue to be heard and [seen] in Palisades Park,” said the Rev. Patrick Mahoney.
Meanwhile, Watt Companies, near the corner of 28th Street and Ocean Park, will host a dozen Nativity scenes from Dec. 8 to Jan. 5.
Vix, the atheist who tried to shut up the Christians, has declined interviews on the recent developments.