The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights erected a nativity scene today in New York’s Central Park. Every year the Catholic League obtains a permit from the Parks Department of the City of New York allowing us to put up a manger scene on the corner of 59th Street and 5th Avenue. It will be blessed today at 4:00 p.m. by Msgr. John Woolsey, pastor of St. John the Martyr in Manhattan; it will be taken down on December 30.
Catholic League president William Donohue issued the following remarks today:
“It is of symbolic importance to erect a crèche in Central Park: it represents an important public statement signifying the religious roots of Christmas. Those who truly believe in diversity will be pleased with our nativity scene. Those who are aghast at this display need to pray for tolerance.
“Last week the Catholic League helped to arrange a lawsuit by the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, suing New York City for prohibiting the display of a manger scene in the public schools. The lawsuit claims religious discrimination because the City allows the display of Jewish and Islamic religious symbols in the schools (the menorah and the crescent and star). How ironic it is that the Parks Department of New York City allows us to put up a crèche in Central Park and New York’s Department of Education bans it in the schools. It is our hope that the courts will educate New York education officials about the immorality of religious discrimination.”