Keep Christ in Christmas" Banner in N.J. stirs 'Separation of Church and State' battle | State | NewJerseyNewsroom.com -- Your State. Your News.

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"Keep Christ in Christmas" Banner in N.J. stirs 'Separation of Church and State' battle

keep_optBY BOB HOLT
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

The familiar “Keep Christ in Christmas” banner is back in Pitman, New Jersey again this year, as it has been for nearly a half-century.

On Friday, the protesters had also returned. Two people from nearby cities organized a peaceful protest geared toward having the banner removed.

Pitman has seen this before. Atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation asked the city to take down the banner last year. Constitutional consultant Andrew Seidel said, according to The Blaze, “It’s a group endorsing religion over a public right of way.”

Robert Sargent of Gloucester City said, according to the South Jersey Times, “It doesn’t represent the entire town. The banner would be great hung over a Catholic church. But to have it hung over the main drag seems like the government is pushing this.”

Some Pitman residents have said that a nativity scene was taken out of a Christmas display because the park where it was displayed is borough property, according to CBS Philly.

Pitman Mayor Russ Johnson says hanging the sign is the extent of Pitman’s involvement with it, according to the South Jersey Times. The local Knights of Columbus council displays the sign at the intersection of Broadway and Second Avenue.

Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus called last year’s controversy “politically correct nonsense. When he was asked if he would display a banner with an opposing viewpoint, Anderson told Fox News, "We have to have a certain amount of tolerance and respect for each other's viewpoints. Tolerance means listening to what others have to say; it does not mean to deprive others to make their views known."

 
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