Among the many "December dilemmas" (those situations where public celebrations of Christmas may unconstitutionally endorse religion) last year, was a story in Palm Beach, Florida, in which two women were repeatedly denied the right to donate a nativity scene for a public Christmas display. Because Christmas displays often have religious connotations, many communities have stopped displaying nativity scenes on public property. However, Palm Beach, denied Maureen Donnell and Fern DeNarvaez the right to display a nativity scene while the city kept a Menorah as part of its holiday display. After Palm Beach rebuffed the women's repeated requests to include a crèche, they naturally sued.
As Terry Mattingly put it the case puts the "DUH" in Florida. As the issue heated up over the next few months, "The result was an election in which the anti-Nativity scene forces soundly defeated the pro-Nativity scene rebel alliance." Despite the election win, the city still had nativity problems. Palm Beach had already lost a church/state fight in which it refused to displayget thisa Menorah, said Mattingly, who teaches journalism at Palm Beach Atlantic University.
At the time, Mattingly criticized coverage of the issue in the Palm Beach Post. Now, he'd have to criticize the Post's lack of coverage. A Google search shows that the newspaper has yet to mention Donnell and DeNarvaez won their case and received an apology from the city.
According to the firm that represented the women, "The Town of Palm Beach, Florida this week paid $50,000 in attorney fees to the Thomas More Law Center pursuant to a previously entered federal court Consent Judgment. The Town also acknowledged and publicly apologized for its failure to respond to multiple ...1
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