AFP AUDIO INTERVIEW
Hunter Jameson, chairman of the nonprofit Santa Monica Nativity Scene Committee, explains why a one-block-long series of 14 Nativity scenes in the picturesque Palisades Park in Santa Monica, California, which has been bringing joy to children of all ages since 1953, will not be on display this year, and who’s responsible for this, in this troubling interview (14:13).
Atheists Score Big Victory Against Christmas
• Pressure from atheist groups forces end to 60-year tradition of Christmas displays in California park
The ongoing national assault against Christians and celebrations of their faith has led to an unfortunate result in The Golden State. The main Christmas celebration in the seaside town of Santa Monica, Calif. will be cancelled this year after a federal district judge ruled against erecting a popular display of a nativity scene in a public park dating back to 1953, which drew as many as 750 thousand people in a year in the early years.”
From its historic home in Palisades Park on the bluffs overlooking the ocean, the display, stretching one block in length, was a feast for those wishing to get in the Christmas spirit, and was comprised of 14 scenes beginning with the Annunciation and ending with Jesus as a boy with Joseph in the carpenter shop. It has been under constant attack for several decades by atheists attempting to sever the display from any city ties.
Hunter Jameson, the chairman of the nonprofit Santa Monica Nativity Scene Committee, which serves as the protector of the scene, spoke with AMERICAN FREE PRESS in an exclusive interview.
AFP asked why the issue went to court, since if the city council had ruled in their favor the issue would be settled, especially considering the community support for the scene.
Although, as Mr. Jameson explained, “We’ve had community support from across a wide range of people across the spectrum trying to support the scenes, there was a petition which was presented to the city council and seemed to have no effect on them,” even with two to three thousand signatures. Ironically, two or three of the seven city council members are Roman Catholic.
“Because of the controversy…and because of the derogatory signs that the atheists put up about religion, the city council, thinking that a battle over the park ‘was not fitting for the city,’ decided that it would take the easy way out and just ban all unattended displays from the park, period.”
“The city council did not stand up for the free exercise of religion,” he explained. “It kowtowed to a very small, vocal out-of-town group of people with an ideological bias against the scenes,” who “made very clear…that their main goal was…to have the nativity scenes ejected from the park.”
“So we went to court and unfortunately a federal district judge…ruled [against us].”
The nativity scene-haters were headed by Damon Vix, a Burbank [Hollywood] set designer, who “is very active in atheist circles and has resented the nativity scene…for a good many years.”
All hope is not lost for those wishing a glimpse of scenes. “There will be another motion heard on December 3 by the city to dismiss the case entirely,” explained Mr. Jameson.
“We are looking for a spot on private property and hope that we will be able to present the scenes this year,” said Mr. Jameson. “We’re not quite ready to announce a spot yet, but we are looking.”
Dave Gahary, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, is the host of AFP’s ‘Underground Interview’ series.