Legal threat over nativity scenes prompts unlikely response

At least 1,000 nativity scenes have popped up in Wadena, MN

The response to the threat of a lawsuit that forced Wadena to keep its Christmas Nativity scene off city property has similar displays popping up all around town.

For four decades the community’s Nativity scene was set up in a downtown park during the holidays. But, this year the threat of legal action over the separation of church and state from a Madison, Wisconsin organization led the City Council to give the replicas of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus to a group of local ministers.

   Mayor George Deiss handled a flood of angry calls over the matter. And soon Nativity scenes began showing up in shop windows, on front yards and other places around the community. Deiss tells the Star Tribune he estimates there are now at least a thousand Nativity displays around Wadena.