Baby Jesus, Joseph and Mary can stay another week at Green Bay’s City Hall; moratorium on other displays sticks

In a 6-6 tie broken by the mayor, the City Council voted Tuesday night to leave a Nativity creche in place until Dec. 26. A moratorium on any other religious display until a set of guidelines is developed was also approved.

This from the Green Bay Press-Gazette:

The nativity display stays, and it stands alone.

The City Council voted Tuesday night to leave it in place until Dec. 26, and to impose a moratorium on any other religious display until the City Council and Schmitt could develop a set of guidelines.

The council voted 6-6, with Andy Nicholson, Chad Fradette, Guy Zima, Tom Denys, John Vander Leest and Tom Weber voting to keep it. Mayor Jim Schmitt cast the tie-breaker with a “yes” vote.

Passions ran deep on both sides of the issue Tuesday as Christians, non-Christians and the City Council debated what to do about the nativity display placed on City Hall last week.

Twenty-seven members of the public spoke, with some praising the city for putting up the nativity scene and others condemning it for excluding other faiths and nonbelievers.

“This is crazy,” said Tim Entringer of Green Bay. “It’s Christmas. I’m sad in my heart. There is only one God, and you’ve got to keep him up. The only way to get to God is through Jesus. It’s the true religion. You have to do it.”

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Councilman on Nativity Scene: ‘We made a mistake’

Green Bay City Council meets tonight to decide the fate of religious displays at City Hall. Councilman who first voted for and helped put up a Nativity crèche last Tuesday night says he’ll now vote against display.

This from GreenBayPressGazette.com:

(Council President Chad) Fradette and Council Vice President Chris Wery put up the Nativity crèche last Tuesday night. Wery said late Monday he’s changed his mind on the issue, largely in part because of the bad feelings that erupted over it.

“I’m going to vote to take it down,” he said. “I thought this would encourage our community to share good will this holiday season, and, as we’ve seen, it’s done the opposite. The displays and the atmosphere have been detrimental and have trivialized everything we want to celebrate.

“We have to limit the damage. I don’t think this is healthy.”

Wery had gone so far as to research with the Alliance Defense Fund, a national advocacy group, which he said offered to defend Green Bay in any lawsuit erupting out of the display. Wery said he’ll pass that on to the council if the council votes to move ahead with having a religious display area, but Wery himself wants no part of it.

“A lot of people I know that I put a lot of trust and faith in, this is really rubbing them the wrong way,” he said. “And how quickly it came upon us, the way it happened, is leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths.

“It’s not a bad thing to just say we made a mistake and then just stop.”

Flying Spaghetti Monster

This also from the Press-Gazette story:

Schmitt said Monday he didn’t realize until that day that the wreath and pentacle involved witchcraft. Wicca is a nature-based religion based on respect for the earth, nature and the cycle of the seasons, but Schmitt said he believed it was wrong to allow a Wiccan display next to the nativity scene.

He described other proposed displays as “silly.” He was referring especially to the Festivus pole and was not familiar with the “Flying Spaghetti Monster” display that an aide told him had also been proposed Monday. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is an Internet-based parody of religion.

RELATED: Festivus pole, Unitarian peace symbol, Wiccan wreath, and more are casualties at City Hall battle – Green Bay City Hall: Nativity Scene Ground Zero

- Alexander
The Scrooge Report

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LATEST UPDATE: Baby Jesus, Joseph and Mary can stay another week at Green Bay’s City Hall; moratorium on other displays sticks

Green Bay City Hall: Nativity Scene Ground Zero

CHURCH AND STATE…GONE WILD

Green Bay City Hall Nativity scene

A Wiccan wreath next to a nativity display was torn down by a vandal Monday. The request to have a Festivus pole (see Seinfeld) has already been denied.

A Unitarian’s peace symbol wreath was also nixed by the mayor, and those that want nothing displayed at Green Bay’s City Hall during the Christmas season are left waiting in the cold.

Only the nativity display is left standing Monday, and even its existence is in question as city council members meet Tuesday night to discuss rules and regulations for religious displays at City Hall. 

Also in the mix: atheist groups chomping at the bit, ready to file lawsuits.

Meanwhile, Mayor Jim Schmitt called a moratorium until the full city council meets.

Mayor Schmidt wants the council to agree that the religious display, “must be a symbol recognized by the associated religion and a symbol of an official holiday of the associated religion of which said holiday is celebrated between December 8th and the 31st.” In addition, anyone wanting to add a symbol would have to pay a $100 fee.

For the latest from Green Bay’s spiritual ground zero go to MyFox N.E. Wisconsin for news and video.

- Alexander
The Scrooge Report

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UPDATE: Councilman on Nativity Scene: ‘We made a mistake’

LATEST UPDATE: Baby Jesus, Joseph and Mary can stay another week at Green Bay’s City Hall; moratorium on other displays sticks