An Oregon town’s nativity scene had to be moved from a public park after complaints from offended liberals.
The symbolic Christmas figurines had to be moved out of the public park in Woodland to a private property after city officials received multiple complaints, KPTV reported.
The nativity scene, featuring Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus along with the three wise men had its home at Horseshoe Lake Park every December for decades until a handful of complaints caused city officials to move it to a privately owned lot down the street.
“I wouldn’t have chosen to do this, but it’s in the best interest of the city to do so,” Mayor Will Finn told Fox 12. “The feedback I’m getting is that it’s in a better spot.”
City leaders got feedback on the complaints from the city attorney, who noted that it would be a violation of federal and state laws to keep the nativity scene – which is privately owned – at the park where it had been for about 40 years.
The mayor personally searched for and negotiated the new location with the property owner. But residents were not happy about bowing to pressure and moving the figures.
“Our grandkids love it when they put little baby Jesus out,” Jenny Tingley told KPTV. “I didn’t think it was offensive at all. I thought it added to the look of our town when it’s the holidays.”
“I’m just sorry that people got offended by it, because we enjoy it – everybody we know enjoys it,” Tingley added.
City Administrator Peter Boyce admitted he knew of no complaints before this year, which saw the city receive about five complaints. One of those came from Marc McVey, who wondered if the manger displayed on public grounds was even legal.
“They responded to me today and said they moved it – it was a difficult decision, which I respect,” McVey said.
“Believe me, I’m not anti-religious. I think it’s great, I love this holiday season – I have a Christmas tree up myself, but it just made me a little bit uncomfortable to have that on public land,” he said. “That’s a fantastic compromise – it’s still visible so people can enjoy it.”
But now the backlash is coming from those who are angry that the nativity scene had to be moved, according to Boyce.
“I personally see the Nativity as a symbol of Christmas and feel comfort when seeing it displayed,” Finn said in a statement. “I’m also grateful for the community’s understanding of the difficult but important decision…This move…puts the Nativity in a more visible location within our city, while respecting the public nature of public property.”