In the United States, Christmas time brings its share of good news. A record number of American states have chosen to honor the Nativity Scene representing the Holy Family in the public buildings of their capitols. It was spurred by a private initiative that allows faith to be expressed in the public spaces.
For several years, the “American Nativity Scene” association has partnered with the St. Thomas More Society to allow the free exhibition of large Nativity scenes in American public spaces. The goal of this partnership is to ensure that each state is able to display a Nativity scene in its capitol – which represents the heart of power – during Christmas time.
On December 20, 2022, the St. Thomas More Society announced that it had achieved its goal in 43 state capitols across the country, a record number considering the growing secularization of the American population.
Christmas 2022 has thus seen four new additional states that have agreed to put the Nativity scene in the spotlight: Alaska, New York, Utah and Virginia.
“The message of hope delivered by the Baby Jesus celebrates the joy of new life. This troubled world can benefit from more hope and more joy,” said Ed O’Malley, President of the American Nativity Scene.
A few states are still resisting: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Nevada, Oregon and Tennessee have not yet agreed to honor the Holy Family at their capitols.
But those responsible for the project remain confident: “Thanks to the efforts of all those who are ready to express their faith in the public spaces, we are getting closer to our objective: to keep Christ at the center of Christmas,” explains Thomas Olp , vice-president of the St. Thomas More Society.
And the results, over the past ten years, are that more than 450 nativity scenes have been set up in the capitols of 40 different states, not to mention that the project has been encouraged by a recent poll published by The Washington Times.
The opinion poll conducted from December 3 to 5 of a representative group of 1,508 people shows that 72% of Americans think that religious scenes such as the Christmas Nativity scene have a place in the public space and should be exhibited in all states, as the Constitution permits.