Springfield Nativity Scene Committee to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child
Springfield, IL – At noon on Tuesday, December 2, 2014, the Springfield Nativity Scene Committee (SNSC) will unveil its annual display depicting the newborn Christ Child, lying in a manger inside a handcrafted wooden stable. For the seventh year in a row, the crèche will stand in the center of the Illinois State Capitol Rotunda, next to the Governor’s “Holiday Tree.” The Capitol building is located at South 2nd Street & East Capitol Avenue in Springfield, IL. From noon until 1 p.m. on December 2nd, the SNSC will host a celebration in honor of the true meaning of Christmas, which is not only a secular “holiday” but is also, more importantly, a Christian holy day honoring the birth of Jesus Christ.
The crèche and manger represent a constitutionally protected expression by private citizens, the SNSC, in a traditional public forum, namely, the Capitol Rotunda, where political rallies are routinely held during sessions of the Illinois General Assembly and at other times during the year. This is classic free speech, as well as the right of Americans to exercise religious faith in the public square, where the sole role of the government is that of a viewpoint-neutral gatekeeper assuring open access for all citizens to have their “say.” Government is neither censor nor endorser of such religious speech. Because the SNSC’s Christmas display is privately funded, temporary in nature, and is sponsored, bereft of any government aid or endorsement, it is clothed and armored with the full protection of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and its counterpart in the Illinois Constitution of 1970.
The SNSC’s primary goal is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Its secondary mission is to proclaim and demonstrate to the public and media alike (statewide and nationwide) that such private expressions of religious belief in the public squares of our nation are not merely tolerated, but fully deserving of robust legal protection.
The December 2nd event is open to the public. Christmas carols will be sung by the Official Praise Team of the Springfield Baptist Church and led by Music Pastor Brian Morgan. Speakers will include the Most Rev. Thomas J. Paprocki, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield; and Peter Breen, Vice President & Senior Counsel of the Thomas More Society, Chicago. Mr. Breen is State Representative-Elect for the 48th district.
For the second year in a row, Chaplain Steve Holden of the U.S. Emergency Chaplains Corps (USECC) will lay a Christmas wreath, in honor of the service and sacrifice of America’s military veterans.
The Nativity Scene will be on display in the Rotunda during normal business hours starting Dec. 2nd and throughout the Christmas season. Individuals or groups who would like to sing near the Nativity Scene (on weekdays, when the Rotunda is open) can call Salli Chernis of the Sec. of State’s office at (217) 782-8996 for permits. NOTE: Performances are limited to the noon hour.
For more info e-mail SpringfieldNativityScene@xmail99.com
or call Tom Brejcha at the Thomas More Society at 312-782-1680