Monday, December 8, 2014

Court orders city council to dismantle nativity display, after complaint from secular groups

By Anne Penketh in Paris
The nativity scene at Béziers city hall, which has also been the subject of
demands for its removal. Photograph: Pascal Guyot/AFP/Getty Images
FRANCE---It has been called the nativity war. A French court’s ban on a nativity scene in a town hall in order to preserve France’s secular traditions has triggered a fierce backlash. “Why not ban Christmas and the public holidays that go with it?” thundered Le Parisien on Sunday. Its headline read: “Spare us a nativity war.” According to the newspaper, 86% of more than 12,000 readers surveyed were in favour of keeping nativity scenes in public places. The court in Nantes ordered regional authorities in the western town of La Roche-sur-Yon to remove the crib from its building’s entrance hall, after a complaint from the secular campaign group Fédération Nationale de la Libre Pensée. [link]