After nativity scene leaves Wakulla Co. courthouse, manger finds home at neighboring business
CRAWFORDVILLE, Fla. (WCTV) - It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas outside the Wakulla County Courthouse in Crawfordville. The palm trees are sparkling with lights. Santa and his reindeer are out front. So is a Christmas tree. But there isn’t a nativity scene. At least, not on that side of U.S. 319.
County Clerk Greg James made the call to keep the manger off county grounds this year, explaining the move in a letter to county commissioners.
He said a former clerk had once been threatened with legal action for displaying the nativity scene. James feared what a lawsuit directed at the clerk’s office might do for the county financially.
After consulting with the county attorney, James wrote that it was clear the county would have to allow all religions to include displays on the courthouse lawn if they included biblical imagery. In an all-or-nothing approach, they chose to boot the manger out.
But it didn’t get very far.
Landon Turner owns Backwoods Mafia, a business located across the street from the courthouse. He believes Christ belongs in Christmas.
“It’s truly the reason for the season,” he said. “Faith is very important to this community, especially to myself.”
After James approached Turner with the idea, he was all on board.
“I have heard people say they appreciated that I put it up,” he said.
In his letter, James argued he believes strongly in separation between church and state. But Turner said he’s not a believer.
“Our laws of our country are based on the laws of the bible- don’t steal, don’t kill that sort of thing,” he said.
Chaz Stevens is a Florida activist, advocating for the separation of church and state through eye-catching stunts, most recently Fauci Claus at the Florida State Capitol.
“We’ve been celebrating Christmas in Costco since July,” Stevens said, adding he’s not impressed with the county simply following the law.
Stevens argues the founding fathers made it clear they wanted religion separate from the government.
“We did not want a state sponsored religion,” he said.
WCTV reached out to James for comment, but he referred to his letter to commissioners.
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