The TOB received a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation dated December 20, 2016 stating our Gazebo Park nativity scene was in violation of the First Amendment and demanding that the Town advise the Foundation of its efforts to “remedy this violation of the First Amendment.” The letter was actually received by Town staff on December 21, 2016. The nativity scene was prominently displayed towards the front of Gazebo Park. Other decorations in the park included Christmas lights, a Christmas tree, lighted stars, and a Santa under the gazebo. At night, the nativity scene was illuminated and prominently visible from Central Avenue. After researching the matter, our Town attorney advised on Thursday that due to the location of the nativity scene on government property directly across from town hall and the prominence of the nativity scene in the overall display, a court could find that the display of the nativity scene was unconstitutional. Due to the fact that the Town offices were closed for the Holidays, efforts to modify the display to ensure compliance with established law were not practical. The decision was made to remove the nativity scene until such time as Town staff could research matter.
In support of transparency and openness with the community, we have attached a full copy of the letter received from Freedom From Religion Foundation. Please click the link below to review.
Freedom From Religion Foundation letter