Posted: Jun 14, 2012 9:24 PM by Associated Press
Updated: Jun 14, 2012 9:26 PM
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) - Santa Monica has banned religious displays at a public park following a dustup between atheists and Christian groups last December.
The Los Angeles Times reports (http://lat.ms/M5KGap) the City Council voted 5-0 to bar private, unattended displays in Palisades Park on Tuesday.
For nearly 60 years, life-sized nativity scenes have been a seasonal fixture in the park atop the bluffs overlooking the Santa Monica Pier.
In recent years, synagogues and others had erected displays on the public land.
Last year, atheists asked for their own land, and when a lottery was held to divvy plots the unbelievers won most of them, leaving Christians to cram nativity displays into a few small spaces.
City Attorney Marsha Jones Moutrie says the lottery would have been increasingly costly and difficult with rising tensions.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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