Nebraskans are displaying a traditional Nativity scene at their state capital despite a sneaky trick by an atheist group.
The traditional Christmas scene was expected to be unveiled today following work by the Thomas More Society and its Omaha office.
Martin Cannon, an attorney affiliated with Thomas More, says the law firm had to find space for the nativity scene after atheists sneakily signed up to rent all of the available space in the capital's rotunda.
That move, says Cannon, was akin to "playground bullying" by people who oppose "public discourse."
But a space was found anyway in the rotunda, and Cannon was expected to speak and the Pacific Strings Ensemble was scheduled to play.
The traditional navity scene, more formally known as the crèche , represents the birth of Jesus Christ as told in the Gospels.
The tradition of the crèche dates back to Francis of Assisi, who is credited with creating the first nativity scene in 1223.
The ongoing legal issue is whether a public body allowing a nativity scene is running afoul of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendement.
Thomas More is working with the American Nativity Scene Committee to fight for the legal right to display nativity scenes across on public property.
American Nativity states on its website that it privately purchases nativity scenes and ships them across the country, where government bodies act as "gate keepers" to uphold free speech protected by the First Amendment.
Thomas More has provided legal counsel to help 21 states place nativity scenes in public places and has sponsored them in seven state capitols as well as one in front of the Oklahoma governor's mansion.
Meanwhile, an atheist group is challenging yet another nativity scene, this time in Mississippi.
The American Humanist Association, claiming a violation of the Establishment Clause, has called on Harrison County to remove the Christmas scene that's located inside the courthouse in Gulfport.
County officials told local media they had received a demand letter from the atheist group and were expected to discuss the legal issue.