A Louisiana library has banned a local church youth group from performing a Living Nativity scene on its property because of its religious overtones.
“They told us it was because they couldn’t have anything with a religious tone or message,” said Letha Dew, the chairperson of SpringHill, LA’s annual Christmas celebration. “They had a problem with the Nativity.”
The Living Nativity was supposed to be set up next month on the Springhill branch of the Webster Parish Library. It was just one part of a large Christmas celebration planned next month for the town’s Main Street – a family-friendly holiday event.
“I was very, very surprised,” Dew told Fox News & Commentary. “But this is the time we live in and public entities have to be very careful. They are scrutinized. People threaten to sue over every little thing and they have to do what they can to keep themselves out of trouble.”
Webster Parish Library officials did not return multiple calls seeking comment.
But Dew said they don’t blame the librarians.
“Their hands are tied and they have to do what they can,” she said. “It’s not their fault.”
Rev. Patricia Stroud, the children’s minister at First Assembly of God, said she was very disappointed that the young people won’t be allowed on library property.
“I think our Christian faith is being attacked,” Stroud told Fox News & Commentary. “Our nation was founded – in God we trust. Now when we try to share our faith, we’re being questioned. That disturbs me.”
Stroud said the Living Nativity includes children and teenagers dressed as Mary, Joseph and the Wise Men. Depending on the weather, she said they might even have a real baby portray Jesus.
“We do have a couple of babies that are in consideration,” she said.
She said it was hardly controversial.
“We wanted to share Christ’s love with our community,” Stroud said. “People could drive by and watch what happened on that wonderful Christmas night.”
But the issue — was the religious component of Christmas – and that has many people wondering what’s really going on.
“What could you even have if there’s no religious message,” Dew wondered. “The only thing I could think of is Santa. Pretty much everything to do with Christmas has a religious message.”
“Christ is the whole reason for Christmas and we’re getting away from that,” Stroud said. “We’re trying to be politically correct in everything we do.”
As it now stands, the Living Nativity will be relocated to city property, Dew said.
“We’re not going to let this dampen our spirits at all,” she said. “We’re not going to let this prevent us from having a good time. We’re still planning on doing the Nativity.”
At the same time, though, the controversy has caused sadness in this small Louisiana town of 5,400 residents.
“We still want this to be something that families can bring their kids to enjoy and have a good time and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas,” Dew said.