TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Christmastime manger scenes in public spaces have often been the subject of legal fights in the U.S.
But the American Civil Liberties Union says the creche scene installed by the Florida Nativity Scene Committee at the Capitol in Tallahassee is legal - because it is privately funded, not government sponsored.
Still, the ACLU says that by allowing the exhibit, which depicts the birth of Jesus, the state will now have to allow anyone to use the premises of the Capitol to express messages.
Later this week, the Freedom From Religion Foundation will put up a banner at the Capitol stating opposition to religion in government.
It may be September, but state officials have already started their Christmas shopping in Jefferson City -- for a holiday tree, that is. Missouri officials are looking for the next Christmas tree to decorate the lawn of the Governor's Mansion in state capitol. The deadline to submit entries to the state Department of Conservation is September 30. Trees must be at least 40 feet tall, fully branched and donated. The owner of the winning tree gets a personalized thank you from Governor Jay Nixon and an invitation to the tree lighting. Submissions must include photos taken from several angles and distances, contact information and the location of tree through an online mapping service. Entries can be sent to the Department of Conservation in Jefferson City.