Jim Trapman of Waukesha walks Thursday
along Main Street in downtown. Trapman, who celebrates Christmas
with his family each year, said the holiday decorations put up by
the city of Waukesha do not offend him. Some communities,
including Green Bay, have come under fire lately for their
Christmas decorations, but Trapman said if the decorations bother
people, they should just keep on walking and not think about it.
"They have to deal with it. In America, this is the way we do
it," Trapman said.
WAUKESHA - When city officials in Green Bay decided to construct a
Nativity scene on city property last week, it opened the door to a slew of
controversies and strange requests from residents.
Besides the Nativity scene, a Wicca pentacle - a gold, five-point star
surrounded by a wreath - was constructed at the city hall last week, and
on Saturday, another Green Bay-area resident requested a Festivus pole be
installed on the grounds.
Critics said the maneuver is a blatant disregard for the separation of
church and state. Leaders in Waukesha County said this is why an argument
over religious displays is best left out of this area.
"You have to be respectful of all religions and if you start
putting one display up, you have to put up displays for everybody,"
Muskego Mayor John Johnson said. "If you put up a Nativity scene and
then a group asks you to put up a Hanukkah display or a display for the
Muslim holiday, do you tell them no? You canít."
Johnson said he has never heard of anyone asking for a Nativity display
at Muskego City Hall and he doesnít anticipate the issue coming up
Thomas Farley, corporation counsel for Waukesha County, said there are
no state or local laws limiting religious displays on government property.
The only guidelines are outlined in U.S. Supreme Court cases involving the
separation of church and state.