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L.A. Now Live: Should Nativity scenes in public spaces be banned?

November 20, 2012 |  8:46 am

Times reporter Martha Groves will join L.A. Now Live at 9 a.m. to discuss a federal judge's ruling that allows Santa Monica to bar Nativity scenes and other seasonal displays from public spaces.

The case, which has drawn national attention, denies a church coalition's request that the court require the city to allow Nativity scenes to be displayed in Palisades Park this year, as it has for nearly 60 years.

A church coalition has erected a tableau of scenes depicting the birth of Jesus Christ since 1953. A few years ago, the tradition offended Damon Vix, an atheist, who applied to put up a booth next to the Nativity story. After a contentious lottery for display slots, the City Council voted to ban all private, unattended displays in city parks.

In October, the coalition filed suit, seeking to restore the tradition. At the time, Becker said it was "not the government's function to avoid controversy at the cost of fundamental rights."