Reporter Calls the Atheist Cops on Florida Nativity Scene

Matthew Archbold at Creative Minority Report passed along that "A reporter for a small town in Florida went on a crusade to have a nativity scene removed. And they wonder why people don't trust the media. This guy might as well be the Grinch."

He found a report from WJHG-TV in Panama City, Florida, in the Panhandle:

The nativity scene that sits outside the City Hall has prompted Randal Seyler, a reporter for the Washington County News to make some calls.

Seyler contacted the FFRF to challenge the legality of the Christmas display. He says he just wanted to scratch an itch out of curiosity.

Meantime, in a written statement Chipley Mayor Linda Cain said, "Seyler made a comment that the nativity scene was unconstitutional and should be removed and I asked him to leave it alone."

Shortly after Mayor Cain got an email from the FFRF.

The FFRF says this nativity scene is unconstitutional because it's on government property and owned by the City. However, the City of Chipley says its not coming down. The FFRF wrote, "The Supreme Court has ruled it impermissible to place a nativity scene as the sole focus of a display on government property."

Needless to say, many Chipley residents don't agree with Seyler's actions and don't think an organization outside their community should interfere.

"I would much rather you all decide what's good for Chipley than a group that doesn't really believe in anything" said Richard Burke, Chipley resident.

The City of Chipley added more decorations to the nativity scene so that it would no longer be the "sole focus." Council members say they aren't taking it down.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis