Thomas More Society to display Nativity scene in Iowa State Capitol
On Monday, Dec. 12, residents will gather for the first annual Nativity Lighting Ceremony on the first-floor rotunda of the Iowa Capitol to begin the celebration of the Christmas season. The celebration, which is privately sponsored, will take place at 10 a.m. Gov. Terry Branstad will welcome those gathered, and Bishop Richard Pates of the capitol’s Des Moines Diocese will address the gathering.
Organizers worked alongside the American Nativity Scene Committee and Thomas More Society, a Chicago based public interest law firm, to successfully secure what they hope becomes a Capitol holiday tradition.
Details for the Event:
WHAT: Nativity Scene Unveiling
WHEN: Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, 10 a.m.
WHERE: 1007 E. Grand Ave, First Floor Rotunda
WHO: Iowa’s Governor Terry Branstad and Bishop Richard Pates of the Des Moines Diocese
“The nativity scene in the Rotunda represents constitutionally-protected free speech and expression of religious faith by private citizens in a traditional public forum,” said Tom Brejcha, Thomas More Society President and Chief Counsel. “The Government is neither censor nor endorser of such religious speech. In the Capitol Rotunda, where political rallies are routinely held during Government sessions, the Government is merely the gatekeeper upholding free speech.”
Thomas More Society, which offers pro bono legal services to citizens and groups who are interested in placing a Nativity Scene in any traditional or designated public forum, has collaborated with the American Nativity Scene to place Nativity Scenes in State Capitols and numerous additional public places across the country. Together, Thomas More Society and the American Nativity Scene Committee will continue to strive to ensure that public forums continue to welcome private religious speech equally as other types of free speech.