An East Texas Nativity scene has come under fire, much like the one in Athens did last year.
This Christmas, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is focusing their efforts on a Nativity scene in Crockett. They are the same organization that, from more than a thousand miles away, opposed the Nativity scene in Henderson County in 2011.
"I think it's just an expression of the values of our community, and I'm glad it's here," says First Baptist Church of Crockett Pastor Keeny Dickenson.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) argues that the religious display is a violation of the constitution because it stands on government property.
County officials defend their display, though.
"We have a long standing tradition here. We want the Nativity scene; we feel it's within our rights to have it and we'll keep it for the holiday period," says Houston County Judge Erin Ford.
It's a conflict all too familiar to another East Texas town. Last December, the FFRF fought to have Henderson County's Nativity display removed, too.
"You cannot mix government and religion. That's why this country has more religious people than any place in the world, is because government and religion have been kept separate," said Charles Caperton, the attorney representing the FFRF in Henderson County last April.
After fighting to display their own atheist sign next to the Athens Nativity scene, the FFRF was denied that privilege in October. Back then the foundation was still evaluating their next move, but standing firm.
"We live under a secular and Godless constitution that requires that government should not take sides in matters of religion and personal conscience," said Annie Laurie Gaylor, the Freedom From Religion Foundation Co-president.
While the foundation is focusing on a new Nativity scene this season, the residents in Crockett have no intentions of backing down.
"Jesus is the reason that we have this season, and this is just one other way we like to celebrate the birth of Christ," says Linnea Robinson, a Crockett resident in support of the display.
To the county, the Nativity scene is a symbol of celebration that they won't be taking down this Christmas. The Houston County Judge says their county attorney will be sending a response to the FFRF next week.
Monday, May 20 2013 10:43 PM EDT2013-05-21 02:43:27 GMT
Longview police say that an officer is in the hospital after a shooting.Police tell KLTV 7 it happened just before 8:30 Monday evening. Details are still unclear, but several police officers were tryingMore >>
Stretch of Highway 80 closed while police investigate crime scene.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 7:11 AM EDT2013-05-21 11:11:28 GMT
The same storm system that brought devastation to our north Sunday and Monday to Oklahoma and Kansas will affect East Texas later today with a threat of severe storms including tornadoes. ThunderstormsMore >>
Conditions are coming together that could lead to a significant severe weather outbreak across East Texas today. More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:36 AM EDT2013-05-21 14:36:49 GMT
(RNN) – A day after long track tornadoes devastated Shawnee and Edmond, OK, another round has begun near Oklahoma City.KOCO broadcast a slow rotating cloud that slowly extended down towards the groundMore >>
Dozens of people have died after a second day of tornadoes twisted through Oklahoma, this time taking aim at the town of Moore, south of Oklahoma City.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 2:32 PM EDT2013-05-20 18:32:29 GMT
A Wichita, Kansas television station was forced to evacuate while on the air as a massive tornado touched down nearby. NBC affiliate KSNW meteorologist J.D. Rudd saw that the tornado was headed straightMore >>
A Wichita, Kansas television station was forced to evacuate while on the air as a massive tornado touched down nearby.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 10:14 PM EDT2013-05-21 02:14:25 GMT
A copy of a daily journal Allen's mother says her son kept, documenting school bullying
An ArkLaTex mother says her son was pushed to the edge by bullying, and took his own life as a result. More >>
An ArkLaTex mother says her son was pushed to the edge by bullying, and took his own life as a result. Now, she's speaking out in hopes of putting a stop to what she claims is an ongoing problem in the tiny McCurtain County town of Smithville, OK.More >>