North Ogden nativity scene draws complaints

Posted at 9:49 PM, Dec 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-24 00:54:14-05

NORTH OGDEN, Utah - A nativity scene outside North Ogden City Hall is under scrutiny this holiday season.

According to Mayor Brent Taylor, the city has received some complaints because residents feel the nativity scene excludes those religious groups that aren't Christian.

"I think there is plenty of private space and plenty of churches in North Ogden where you could display a nativity scene if that's what you want to do," said Jewish resident Nancy Shina.

Shina believes in the separation of church and state. However, she also said if the mayor of North Ogden wants to display a nativity scene, it’s only right that other religions are also included.

"I gladly gave him my menorah, plenty to spare, and I said please contact me if you need anything else," said Shina.

Taylor said under the Supreme Court, the city has the right to display the nativity scene as long as it’s in proximity to other symbols of the season.

"That's kind of the direction we're headed, to include other things in the display, so it complies with the Supreme Court cases," said Taylor. "The city council next year, once we got a little more time, is going to develop a policy of what will be displayed and what won't be displayed."

Reverend Gage Church, of Ogden Interfaith Works, says he believes in what the city is trying to do but also warns them it’s a challenge to please everyone.

"I think either you do nothing or you allow in essence everything," said Church. "We have to allow other faiths to display on our government property too, whether it’s this time of year or at their time, whether the Muslims want to display at Ramadan or the Hindus during their Festival of Lights.”

Taylor said no tax payer dollars fund the current displays and they will not fund future displays. They are all donated. The only thing the city is contributing is the time it takes to put up the displays.