City officials in Woodland, Washington received a few complaints about a nativity scene that’s decorated a local park for four decades, so they moved it to private property to avoid a conflict.
Now, they’re receiving even more complaints from folks who disagree with the decision.
Mayor Will Finn told KPTV the scene of baby Jesus in a manger with Joseph and Mary, along with the three wise men and an angel, has been installed at Horseshoe Lake Park every December for roughly the last 40 years, but the display apparently offended some folks this year who contacted officials to complain.
City administrator Peter Boyce estimated about five people contacted the city to voice concerns that the privately-owned Christmas display was inappropriate on public property. Those complaints prompted Finn to track down a landowner willing to host the display, and it was relocated to a vacant lot on the corner of Goerig and Buckeye streets.
The mayor said the city opted to move the display after consulting with attorneys, who alleged it violated state and federal law on public property.
“I wouldn’t have chosen to do this, but it’s in the best interest of the city to do so,” Finn told KPTV. “The feedback I’m getting is that it’s in a better spot.”
Marc McVey, one of the people who complained about baby Jesus, claimed he simply pointed out the potential problem with the scene on public property.
“I wrote the mayor and the city manager and said, ‘Hey, I’m not sure if this is in keeping with what the law allows,” he said.
“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.”
The decision to relocate the display, however, created new headaches, as dozens of folks flooded the city with complaints and sounded off online to air their grievances.
“Too many wah babies out there, they need to get a life,” Sandi Scranton posted to Facebook.
“Such BS,” Claudia Cangi-DeWitt added. “Lets change everything American for a few complainers.”
“Time for people to pull on the big boy/girl panties and get over it already!” Becky Madsen posted. “Live and let live. The way I see it, there are far too many spoiled, entitled people who think the world should cater to their whims.
“Time to grow up and face the fact that they are NOT the center of the universe.”
Boyce estimates the city received about 50 complaints about the relocation, though Finn defended the decision to move Jesus on Facebook.
“I appreciate that many city employees and community members did not want the nativity moved,” Finn wrote, according to The Daily News. “But I also appreciate that with public resources comes public responsibility. I personally see the Nativity as a symbol of Christmas and feel comfort when seeing it displayed. However, I had to make the decision as the mayor.”
Some who commented online seemed to be amused that the complaints led the city to move the display to a more visible location, albeit on private property.
“Haha, their complaining really backfired on them this time,” Miriah Francisco wrote. “I’m not religious at all but I don’t get offended by others displays. I miss being a kid and just being able to enjoy life. When people didn’t get offended by everything.”