|(AP Images/Hidajet Delic)|
United States Supreme Court justices may get an eyeful on Wednesday as they make their way into the chambers. That’s because faith-based groups are joining forces to display a live nativity scene in front of the landmark building—complete with animals.
The display is part of The Nativity Project, a nationwide campaign to share the message of Christmas and confront the erosion and hostility toward public expressions of faith. Sponsored by Faith and Action and The Christian Defense Coalition, the live nativity scene will be on display beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning.
Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, calls The Nativity Project a reminder that the U.S. Constitution provides freedom “of” religion not freedom “from” religion.
“By encouraging people of good will to publicly display nativity scenes all across America, we are not only supporting religious liberty and First Amendment freedoms but we are loudly proclaiming the powerful message of Christmas,” Mahoney says. “That timeless message needs to be heard now more than ever: 'Peace on earth and goodwill toward man.'”
Mahoney’s hope and prayer is that many people will secure permits to display nativity scenes in front of public buildings all across the United States. He also encourages believers to put nativity scenes on the lawns of their homes.
The faith groups will meet at 109 2nd Street NE, right behind the Supreme Court, at 10:30 a.m. From there, there will be a processional featuring live animals and actors. The processional will pass in front of the Supreme Court and past the U.S. Capitol Building and end back at 109 2nd Street. Organizers expect the live nativity scene to be on the public sidewalk in front of the Supreme Court around 11 a.m.
Rob Schenck, president of Faith and Action, says the traditional creche, portraying Mary, Joseph and the Christ child, along with angels, shepherds, wise men and animals, remind us of what Christmas is all about.
"The fact that we have been granted a permit to hold this live nativity scene in front of the Supreme Court ensures the right for every American to set up these public displays in communities all across America,” Schenck says. "We like to refer to this effort as keeping Christ mass in the nation's capital and throughout the nation."