The Ellwood City Council finally decided on the side of reason. After a year of trying to figure out to circumvent the Constitution, they voted 4-3 to remove the nativity display from government property.
Eric Poole from the Ellwood City Ledger wrote:
In a 4-3 vote, borough council rejected a proposal that could have kept the Nativity in front of the municipal building for the coming Christmas season.
Council President Anthony “Lefty” DeCarbo cast the deciding no vote after Councilwomen Judith Dici and Marilyn Mancini, and Councilman Glenn Jones voted against the recommendation. Councilmen George Celli, Ralph Chiappetta and John Todorich voted in favor.
With Monday’s vote, the existing policy adopted last December will stand. That policy calls for the Nativity, which has been on borough property in front of the municipal building for at least a half-century, to be moved onto private property this year.
Council approved that policy as a condition of avoiding a threatened lawsuit by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis.
No doubt there will be some kind of response from the public next December, but eventually the citizens of Ellwood City will find the new location quite acceptable, as has happened with the “Pittsburgh Creche”now on private property in the US Steel Plaza.
Other towns and cities should learn from this experience and simply follow the Supreme Court guidelines from the start when creating holiday displays. The often-maligned Freedom From Religion Foundation has very informative FAQ pages on State/Church separation that describe in great detail the often convoluted rules of what is acceptable and what is not when mixing state and religion.