A holiday controversy has erupted in a Connecticut town over a nativity scene on public display in a public park. It’s a familiar story around the country this time of year, but it’s the first time it’s ever happened in the Fairfield County town of Bethel.
There has been a Crèche this time of year on the town green, also known as P.T. Barnum Square, in Bethel for decades. It had been sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce, but this year, a local group raised the money and a local church got the necessary permits and is sponsoring the nativity scene.
Cheryl Prindle, who lives in town and operates a business nearby, says, “Christ was born and we want to celebrate it.”
But not everyone agrees with her.
Evan Triantafilidis also lives nearby, and says, “I don’t think maybe anything should be here in the first place. I believe maybe the prime issue might be having anything at all.”
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Prindle added, “People are just getting too negative.”
A town resident has complained and proposed an alternative holiday message.
The New Jersey-based American Atheists Legal Center has taken up the cause as they do all around the country.
Bethel 1st Selectman Matt Knickerbocker tells News 8, “This is really the first year that anybody has approached the town of Bethel and asked for permission to put up an alternative display.”
The resident that complained has proposed a banner for the green which says, “This season, no matter what you celebrate or why, happy holidays, your atheist neighbors.”
The Board of Selectmen did not deny the request for the atheist banner, but say they needed to know the dimensions for the permit and plan to vote on it when they get that information at their meeting next week.