Charleston Restores Shelved Nativity SceneDisplay will now include a Menorah, a Kinara and Santa Claus with elves and reindeer. News

Posted: Wed, 12/23/2009 - 11:02
Updated: Wed, 12/23/2009 - 11:05 After removing a nativity scene from Station 12 on Dec. 19, the Charleston Fire Department has restored the display, which now has some extra company, according to WCSC-TV.

A department press release issued yesterday announced the nativity scene would again appear outside of the firehouse, accompanied by a Menorah, a Kinara and Santa Claus with elves and reindeer.

"The change to the display at the station was made to make clear that the display is a celebration of this holiday season. As in the past, the firefighters at the station want to celebrate this special season with the neighborhood. The Nativity scene is one part of the holiday celebration," Fire Chief Thomas Carr said in the release.

The nativity scene was removed just days before Christmas after the department received a complaint from the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation saying the display supports Christianity. It demanded the nativity scene be removed as the department is a public organization, and by federal law cannot promote any religion exclusively.

The foundation said it sent the letter after receiving a complaint from a local resident.

"Charleston has a long, rich history of recognizing all religions and offering persons a place to be free from our government interfering with one's exercise of religion. We hope that the community will enjoy our celebration of this wonderful season and its diverse cultures," Mayor Joe Riley said in a statement.