Group demands Harrison Co. take down nativity scene in courthous - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Group demands Harrison Co. take down nativity scene in courthouse

County leaders say this is the Nativity scene the humanist group wants taken down. (Photo source: WLOX News) County leaders say this is the Nativity scene the humanist group wants taken down. (Photo source: WLOX News)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

An organization is calling for action. They want leaders to remove a nativity display inside the Harrison County Courthouse. Now, county leaders are scratching their heads as they work to figure out what to do.

There's just one traditional nativity scene with Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus inside the Harrison County Courthouse in Gulfport, but the one scene is one too many for the American Humanist Association that touts the slogan "Good Without God."

The group sent a letter to county leaders after receiving a complaint about the display.

"In this day and age, we need more religion, not less. I understand the freedom of religion and separating it from government, but this display was done by county employees and their religion. If there are county employees, or other people for that matter, who want to celebrate their religion, I'm sure that would be OK also," said Harrison County Board Attorney Tim Holleman.

The humanist group said, "Nativity scenes in courthouses, like any blatantly religious display on public property, show government favoritism toward religion."

Folks on social media are telling the group to lighten up.

"They've been doing this every year. Why all of a sudden now this year? It's been going on every year. What makes this year any different," asked
Annie Lewis.

The group also states that an endorsement of one religion makes people of other faiths or no faith feel unwelcome.

"Me personally, there's no way I would vote to remove that nativity scene. We need more of those," said Harrison County Supervisor Windy Swetman.

County leaders are working toward a solution. Meanwhile, the baby Jesus remains tucked in his manger inside the courthouse.

Leaders plan to discuss the matter during Monday's board meeting. The humanist group said if the county doesn't remove the scene it will file a lawsuit.

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