Talk About Town: How Do You Feel About Nativity Scenes Displayed Around Hartland?

The annual War on Christmas discussion is heating up, and we want to hear what you think.

Every December, the holiday decorations go up around the little village of Hartland with fun light displays on houses and lit up trees downtown.

And driving down the busy stretch of M-59, the Hartland Smilemakers proudly displays their Christmas nativity scene in full view of thousands of drivers who pass by their location on a weekly basis.

This month in Michigan, a Warren man won his court battle to be able to put up a nativity scene on Mound Road. According to Fox 2, it was something his family had done since the 1940s, until being stopped by Macomb County officials in 2008.

The scene will be up by Dec. 15.

These manger scene legal scuffles are some of the latest battles in what many—headed up by national TV station Fox News—have dubbed the "War on Christmas." From the use of Happy Holidays over Merry Christmas, to the end of Christmas trees and manger scenes in many municipalities, some argue that the nation is choosing political correctness over "the reason for the season."

But some cities celebrate the Christian holiday publicly without complaint. Dexter has a nativity scene, as well as Birmingham and Troy, which are set up by area churches. Plymouth has a scene in its downtown every year, but also has a Menorah. Farmington has bypassed one holiday display in favor of a "unity candle."

So Hartland, we want to know: What do you think of local cities and businesses displaying nativity scenes? Do you think there's a War on Christmas?

Tell us in comments.

In this Thursday morning feature, we want to hear your opinions about certain topics making headlines. We'll be looking for your feedback in the comment section weekly. And we want to know what the Talk About Town is in your circles. Email Tatum at tatum.ryan@patch.com and it could be a topic of a future Talk About Town.

Bob December 06, 2012 at 12:59 PM
On private property they are great-part of our common culture. However, they should never be placed on public property or government buildings where they clearly violate separation of religion and government.
Kelly December 06, 2012 at 01:47 PM
All the Constitution says is that Congress can’t pass a law establishing it, or prevent anyone from practicing it. Clearly does not state to keep the two seperate. Just look at the government buildings alone to see plenty of Christianity built in the artwork and foundations of our government buildings. The First Amendment was not to keep religion out of government. It was to keep Government from establishing a 'National Denomination" (like the Church of England) Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. So go for it! If I saw a Menorah at someones residence or place of business I would not freak out and/or be offended.
Laura Bickel December 06, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Our nation's culture has always been Christianity. We celebrated religious freedom when this country came to be. Yet, every year someone wants to take that freedom away from us. The culture our country was built upon is being destroyed year after year until one day our culture will no longer exist and the strength of our country will be completely shattered. Go read about the history of other countries that took a similar path and you will see our country's future.
Barry Tackett December 06, 2012 at 03:05 PM
I have always found it amusing when people bring up "Religious Freedom" as a foundation block of our country, yes, some of our ancestors fled their respective country's to escape religious persecution, but most left their country's because the opportunity of a better life in a colony due to the promised ownership of farmland. The religious freedom always seem to come up when someone with a different belief system than ours challenges our beliefs. A display of a nativity scene is not a challenge to the religious beliefs of Muslims, Hindus,or any other religion, it is a show of the owners beliefs. just as a display of the Star of David is a display of Judaic faith. I don't feel that a city or municipality needs to have any religious display. this is for several reasons, 1, A city or municipality in itself, has no belief. It's constituents do but the organization does not. 2, As a taxpayer I do not feel my tax money is best spent purchasing, displaying, and maintaining displays of faith. spend the money on road repairs or something else with a tangible benefit to the taxpayers. To be clear, I was Born and Raised "Southern Baptist", and I do consider myself to be christian. But I have also been exposed to other cultures and beliefs and have found far more similarities than differences. I personally think that EVERYBODY needs to be open minded in their beliefs, celebrate their beliefs, and leave others to their beliefs.
Mike December 06, 2012 at 09:30 PM
The "War On Christmas" is more hyperbole from Fox News (Spews). How about Live and let Live.
NotLazy December 07, 2012 at 12:36 PM
My question is not whether it's right or not, but why would the Patch try to incite anger/frustration by bringing up the question? What do you plan to accomplish, other than angry dialog? Why not ask peoples opinions about abortion?
Tatum Ryan (Editor) December 07, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Hello “NotLazy”- Thank you for the question- I sincerely appreciate you asking directly about something that you don’t agree with on Patch and please know it was never my intention to “incite anger/frustration.” However, I do feel the topic is relevant and worthy of discussion and since our intention is to try and provide a space for the community to talk to each other, I felt it would be an interesting conversation. Also, reading the comments already submitted I don’t feel there were any “angry” comments. I will also say that I appreciate and respect how Hartland uses the comment section on Patch. Very rarely do I need to remove comments due to them violating our terms, (which is not the case in other Patch sites,) and I always enjoy reading all the opinions that are expressed here since they are typically well thought out arguments. And just to address your last point, I don’t believe I would have an issue of bringing up an abortion topic if it was a relevant discussion and people wanted to talk about it. I do, however, understand your comment and I would never want to bring up a “hot-button” issue just to try and create controversy, but I don’t believe that is the case in the instance, though. I also always appreciate your own personal contributions to Patch, so please feel free to contact me directly at 810-623-1431, if you would like to discuss this further. I am always willing to listen, since in the end, this is the community's forum.
NotLazy December 07, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Tatum, I've always enjoyed the Patch, especially since you took over. But my goodness, with all the anger that is going on in Lansing, especially lately. The "fiscal cliff" we face nationally, and with the anger being spewed about in Egypt, Syria, and Israel, do we really need to diminish the spirit of Christmas in Hartland by bringing up, undoubtedly, an issue that will bring divisiveness in the community? We are never all going to see eye to eye on nativity scenes. I know not all is rosy, but I would suggest rather, that we discuss the goodness that happens in Hartland during the holiday season. Maybe topics on the Bell Ringers, driving in bad weather, the best place to take your kids sledding, or ways to help seniors during the holidays, for instance. I guess I am just tired of all the anger, and just to show my sincerity, I'm changing my Patch Icon. Respectfully.
Tatum Ryan (Editor) December 07, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Very true- point taken. I will do my best to try and focus on as many of the good and positive aspects around Hartland as I can- since we do have so many of the them. Maybe we can all help to spread a little joy this season! (: Thank you again for the suggestions, insight and comments.


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