Shaw Issues Statement on Nativity Display Controversy

11:34 AM, Dec 12, 2013   |    comments
Credit: Military Religious Freedom Foundation
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Sumter, SC (WLTX) - Shaw Air Force Base has issued a statement about a decision to remove a nativity display from the base.

Last week, a group of volunteers placed the display at Memorial Lake on Shaw's grounds. The base said they offered all faith-based and secular groups a chance to put up holiday displays, and only one group elected to do so.

The base says in other years, the nativity was placed near the base's chapel.

However, a group called the Military Religious Freedom Foundation said they got complaints from 41 Shaw airmen about the nativity scene. The group called the Pentagon, and the nativity was taken down soon afterward.

The decision to remove the nativity angered some on social media, and the story was picked up by news organizations around the country.  Previous Coverage: Shaw AFB removes nativity scene after complaints

Shaw said in its statement that because only one faith group was represented, leaders with the 20th Fighter Wing decided the best idea would be to "celebrate the holiday season consistently and elected to remove the nativity scene from Memorial Lake."

The base says groups can still place displays at the chapel; however, they need to do that by coordinating with Shaw chaplain staff.

Here is Shaw's full statement: 

"Last week a group of volunteers set up a nativity scene near Memorial Lake.  All faith-based and secular groups were offered an opportunity to put up holiday displays; however, only one group elected to do so resulting in the nativity scene being the sole display. 

"Based on only one faith group being represented, 20th Fighter Wing officials determined the appropriate course of action was to celebrate the holiday season consistently and elected to remove the nativity scene from Memorial Lake.  In previous years, the nativity scene had been displayed on the grounds of the base chapel.  All faith-based and secular groups wishing to place a holiday display on the grounds of the chapel this year are encouraged to coordinate with the Shaw chaplain staff."

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