Chattanooga Scraps Nativity Scene Tradition

Chattanooga Downtown Partnership executive director Carla Pritchard says a live nativity scene that has been a part of Chattanooga’s annual Grand Illumination has been scrapped. The Grand Illumination and nativity scene has been a Chattanooga tradition since 1980 for 20,000 people annually.

Pritchard said the representation of the birth of Jesus Christ was eliminated after several people complained. I guess it would be safe to say that the complaints of the “several” people who complained about the elimination of the nativity scene were ignored.

Pritchard did not elaborate on the nature of the complaints so we don’t know if the complainers were complaining about the fact that Jesus Christ was born or complaining because so many Christians actually believe in Jesus Christ. It doesn’t seem likely that the several complainers were whining because they don’t believe in Jesus Christ. If that were the case, then they’d have to complain about Santa Clause and Frosty the Snowman depictions also because neither one of the them are real either.

And yes, I am aware that the Jewish faith does not believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and are not “Christians.” But I have also known, worked for, and been friends with Jews all my life and not a single one has ever complained of the Christian celebration of Christmas any more than Christians complain when Jews celebrate Hanukkah, Rosh Ha-Shanah, Yom Kippur or any other Jewish holiday.

Although Pritchard and the Chattanooga Downtown Partnership say the nativity scene is being removed because “several” people complained, we all know that is not the real reason. The truth is, Chattanooga does not want to be sued. The Partnership receives funding from the city. The city is a local government agency. The ACLU will rear their ugly heads and file a lawsuit against Chattanooga for violation of the First Amendment separation of church and state clause

How a nativity scene on the banks of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga evolves into “the establishment of religion” is incomprehensible to me. What about the second part of the First Amendment – the one that says “make no law…prohibiting the free exercise thereof…?” I guess we’ll just forget about that part.

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