Groups to share capitol display space

Posted By: Kelsey Murphy

One room, two different displays, divided by conflicting beliefs.

"We don’t believe there should be a nativity scene in the capitol because it is very religious imagery and it seems that the state is actually supporting religion over non religion in that case," Brian Aden, Lincoln Atheist Group, said.

"It’s a reminder that this is a public space and this is where we conduct our business, it is where we express ourselves on the most important things of the day,” Martin Cannon, Thomas Moore Society, said.

Off and on, for three years, the nativity scene, sponsored by the Thomas more Society, has sat on display on the first floor of the capitol building.

Last year, they couldn’t display it the week they intended to.

The Lincoln Atheist group reserved all four corners to share their personal beliefs. They say it wasn’t their intention to force the nativity scene out, just that they needed the space.

This year they share.

It’s a peaceful compromise, with an underlying conflict of church and state.

"It actually makes our message a little easier to talk about because we can actually say that if the state is allowing a religious display that, at the same time, they have to allow non religious displays the capitol," Aden, said.

"The fact that both displays are here demonstrates that the government is not favoring one faith or one expression over the other. If we were the only ones allowed and no one else would be that would be very different, but that simply isn’t the case," Cannon, said.

A capitol building administrator says the capitol is open to everyone and space is rented on a first come first serve basis.

Both displays will be up throughout the holiday season. It’s open now for anyone to view.