Most say religious holiday displays on public property are OK

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Most say religious holiday displays on public property are OK

Controversies over public displays of religious symbols on government property annually pop up during the holiday season. For example, Florida officials faced a quandary again this year when they invited religious groups to erect displays in the State Capitol building and wound up not only with a Christian nativity scene but also with an atheist’s “Festivus” pole made of beer cans and a local satanic temple’s depiction of a fallen angel.

Such controversies often end up in the courts, creating a set of legal precedents that public officials – and their lawyers – have to take into account. (Fact Tank has more information on court cases involving religious displays on public property.)

A new Pew Research Center survey finds that 44% of Americans say Christian symbols like nativity scenes should be allowed on government property even if they are not accompanied by symbols from other religions. In addition, 28% of U.S. adults say that such symbols should be permitted, but only if they are accompanied by symbols from other religions. One-in-five say there should be no religious displays on government property, period.

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