In Middleborough, Controversy Over Holiday Display Rages On

March 4, 2004

Source: The Boston Globe

On March 4, 2004 The Boston Globe reported, "Even with spring approaching, controversy continues over a holiday display outside Middleborough Town Hall.

The First Unitarian Universalist Society has for two years been trying to get more secular elements incorporated into the display, which features a life-size nativity scene. Jeffrey Stevens, the society's president, said it should better reflect the community's diversity.

At a meeting last month, Selectman Frederick Eayrs proposed the town add an 8-foot-by-8 foot menorah to the display, which is a 50-year-old December tradition.

''We have Hindu children in this community, and Muslim children in this community, and pagan children in this community,' Stevens said. A publicly funded menorah, a symbol of the Jewish religion, would violate the Constitution just as the Christian nativity display does, he said. It could be construed as the town promoting one religion over others, and thus violate the separation of church and state, Stevens added."