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Christmas, Private Property and Peace

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12/11/2004

An ongoing issue in the U.S. has been controversy over the traditional Christmas time display of crèches on public property, (a crèche is a representation of the birth of Jesus often using statues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph). Some find this objectionable and sue or pass laws to stop it. Others feel like these legal measures represent the thin end of a wedge to drive Christianity out of public life altogether.

Reading the newspapers you might never guess the real situation. A drive around a typical American neighborhood reveals that on their private property many people, without any controversy at all, display crèches. Those property owners that find crèches objectionable, or just don't care one way or the other, simply do not display them on their property... also without comment. This peaceful resolution of differences goes on each Christmas season without note in the newspapers or lawsuits in the courts. Two lessons are suggested by this. The expansion of public property generates bitter contention. The expansion of private property, on the other hand, brings peace where there was discord.

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