Nativity Scene Sets Stage In State House

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Representative Jim Lyons of Andover says he's not looking to stir up controversy by bringing a nativity scene to the state house -- just bringing attention to the "true meaning of Christmas."

However, his plan to bring a nativity scene depicting the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem is raising the argument and controversy over religious displays in government and public spaces.

“The message from the birth of Christ is a message of love, and I don’t think that anyone would argue in today’s world that the message of love is what we should be talking about," Lyons said.

Last year, The Bureau of the Statehouse gave Lyons permission to set up a nativity scene but the event was under threat of a lawsuit from a conservative group that insisted the display doesn't blur the lines between church and state since it's not built or payed for by the government.

Some like Zachary Bos, Massachusetts director for American Atheists does take issue with Rep Lyons' stated motives.

“It seems to us that Rep. Lyons is seeking to appease his more fundamentalist and theistically motivated donors,” Bos said.

Lyons disagrees.

“Our country was based on the fundamental freedom of religion, we have a right to express our views the first amendment protects that speech and it’s unfortunate that folks like Zach want to politicize every single thing that people are doing today. This era of political correctness really has to stop,” he said.

A lot of controversy over an event that will last just a few hours on December 20. The Nativity will be on display in the Great Hall at The State House from Noon to 4 p.m.

WBZ NewsRadio1030's Kendall Buhl reports.

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