North Ogden nativity scene draws complaints

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NORTH OGDEN, Utah - A nativity scene outside North Ogden City Hall is under scrutiny this holiday season.

According to Mayor Brent Taylor, the city has received some complaints because residents feel the nativity scene excludes those religious groups that aren't Christian.

"I think there is plenty of private space and plenty of churches in North Ogden where you could display a nativity scene if that's what you want to do," said Jewish resident Nancy Shina.

Shina believes in the separation of church and state. However, she also said if the mayor of North Ogden wants to display a nativity scene, it’s only right that other religions are also included.

"I gladly gave him my menorah, plenty to spare, and I said please contact me if you need anything else," said Shina.

Taylor said under the Supreme Court, the city has the right to display the nativity scene as long as it’s in proximity to other symbols of the season.

"That's kind of the direction we're headed, to include other things in the display, so it complies with the Supreme Court cases," said Taylor. "The city council next year, once we got a little more time, is going to develop a policy of what will be displayed and what won't be displayed."

Reverend Gage Church, of Ogden Interfaith Works, says he believes in what the city is trying to do but also warns them it’s a challenge to please everyone.

"I think either you do nothing or you allow in essence everything," said Church. "We have to allow other faiths to display on our government property too, whether it’s this time of year or at their time, whether the Muslims want to display at Ramadan or the Hindus during their Festival of Lights.”

Taylor said no tax payer dollars fund the current displays and they will not fund future displays. They are all donated. The only thing the city is contributing is the time it takes to put up the displays.

24 comments

  • miles (dave)

    i like the idea of all faiths feeling free to put up any respectable holiday icons. im christian and it wouldnt bother me in the least to see a manora next to a nativity… and i dont know anything about Ramadan so i think it would be great to see something important to them, heck it would mean even more if i could ask someone questions about it. im a big fan of other cultures. im even ok with the satanic peoples… what did they call it snaketivity, set they put up in (i think it was) washington, i think as long as it dosnt bash on anyone else im cool with it.

    for the most part i dont like shinas outlook about church and state but i am glad to see she ended up being proactive and giving the city a manora the same way the nativity was given to them. id love to see a picture of them side by side.

    its far more constructive for you and me to embrace others and there cultures rather than to say no to everything. for those who are close minded it would scare you how much you would like other cultures if you tried

    • Hyrum_Justice

      There sure is an aspect of the predominant religion that sticks in my craw. If you don’t want a lottery then don’t buy a ticket. If you don’t want to swim on Sunday then don’t. Noone is going to twist your arm to buy a lottery ticket or go swimming on Sunday. But don’t think you are my keeper and forbid me from doing these things because your religion doesn’t believe in recreating on Sunday, or the lottery. Who asked you? These are God given inalienable rights in all other corners of the country. Let my people go!

  • Josh J

    I live in North Ogden. There is no shortage of religious displays throughout the city. The city building does not need it’s own. It excludes those of other faiths and implies that the city promotes Christianity. This is 2014. Let’s grow up.

    • miles (dave)

      like this story said the nativity and menorah were donated and as far as i can tell anyone is allowed to donate any thing they would like to and the city will put it up (or it wouldnt surprise me if it wasnt a popular holiday they may ask you to put it up at the appropriate times because there may not be anyone who works for the city that would be familiar with your culture.) the city supporting peoples cultures dose not exclude anyone but just the opposite it is including anyone who wants to donate something to be included.

      take the satanic (sry im not sure what the real name of the group is) people in (i think its) washington they were allowed to put up what they called the snaketivity. i have no reason to believe ogden would be any different

      i have a question for you. have they put up the menorah yet? if not do you know if its because of the timing for the holiday has passed or not happened yet (sry i dont know much about hanukkah)

  • Mayor Brent Taylor

    I am the North Ogden Mayor and want to clarify something. This news story took Nancy Shinna’s comments out of context and made it seem like she was the one who complained about the nativity. That is absolutely not the case. She has never complained about the nativity. I contacted her and members of the Jewish community about putting up a Hanukkah display. She has been nothing but helpful with the display and I am disappointed this story makes her look like she contributed to the start of this controversy. That is not the case.

    • miles (dave)

      mayor brent (or anyone who knows) has the menorah been put up yet there? id like to hear that it has. id like to put to bed all those who are talking about people being excluded. i have good reason to believe thats not he case and that the government city building property is open to any respectable religious decoration like a menorah or nativity. that anyone would like to donate. i even have referenced the “snaketivity” that people put up in the city building in (i think its) washington. and that any respectable religious decoration is welcome. is that right?

  • Alice Fouts

    Where does it all end ??? Can’t people enjoy their own religous beliefs and let others enjoy theirs. What does it matter where it is displayed? I guess the aim for some people is to live like everyone has no belief!! That is wrong, Too much is made of simple things that have been celebrated for years. I hope North Ogden sets down their foot and says NO to these gripers and unhappy people.

  • Hyrum_Justice

    I am a Christian more than the majority of people in Utah that believe that they are Christian. And I don’t approve of the slow drag your feet policy of taking care of this issue by next Christmas. If the nativity scene is allowed this year then Satanists, Wiccans, all should be able to display on their respective celebration times of the year. I agree with those that question, “What’s wrong with putting the display on church property?” Leave no room for the inference that any Government in the United States supports ANY religion.

    • Danny

      I want an angel with a flaming sword commanding the practice of polygamy. I also want Egyptian papyri passed as Abrahamic text. #sharethegift

    • miles (dave)

      i lived down south in georgia for a few years and many people were asinine enough to think things like what you said (countless churches tried to one up everyone else with there charity, attendance, etc), but no one was asinine enough to actually say it ie (‘I am a Christian more than the majority of people in Utah that believe that they are Christian.”)(actually the more i think about it i did meet two people that said that but they were….. rather controversial and violent people) ya im sure your also more humble than everyone else too eh.

      i cant help but think your talking about the mormons, if your not then im sorry but i would also challenge you to provide some statistic that shows the majority of religious people in utah are not mormons

      i for one like the mormons the vast majority do a better job at practicing their faith in daily life than any other mega church i know.

Comments are closed.