The Washington Times-Herald

Features

December 22, 2011

5,000 turn out in support of Christmas creche

Athens — 5,000 turn out in support of Christmas creche

12-18 Crowd from speaker.jpg

Hundreds of people crowded the Athens, Tex., courthouse grounds Saturday in support of a manager scene.(Photo by Rich Flowers/Athens Daily Review)

CNHI News Service

ATHENS, Texas — A rally in support of a nativity scene on the county courthouse lawn attracted 5,000 people in this small east Texas town.

Sponsors said the Saturday turnout was far beyond expectations, likely due to national media reports of a request by the Freedom From Religion Foundation to remove the creche.

“That’s kind of the way God works," said Rev. Robert Welch of the Rock Hill Baptist Church. "He takes the small to do great things.”

Church groups began organizing after the Freedom From Religion Foundation cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against religious-themed depictions on government property.

"We are seeing unfold before our very eyes the beginning of persecution of Christianity in our nation," said Pastor Nathan Lorick of the First Baptist Church.

"It seems it is no longer acceptable to express and exhibit the doctrines of our faith in the nation that was founded upon those same doctrines."

Organizers rebuffed attempts by the Freedom From Religion Foundation to place a banner bearing its message near the nativity scene.

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Details for this story were provided by the Athens (Texas) Daily Review.

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