To celebrate the season, the Texas Capitol has multiple Christmas trees and a Nativity scene on its grounds. But after a complaint by Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday, “a winter solstice” display urging the separation of church and state has been kicked out.
The display was a cardboard cutout of the nation’s founding fathers and the Statue of Liberty looking down at the Bill of Rights in a manger. It had been set up in the Capitol’s basement, hardly a high-traffic area, and didn’t generate much of a public response.
But after finding out about it, Abbott called it a “juvenile parody” in a letter asking the State Preservation Board to remove the exhibit.
Now that it’s gone, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the group behind the display, says it’s considering its legal options.
The removal comes a week after Abbott publicly expressed his support for a Nativity scene outside the city of Orange municipal building. He argued that the city had a Constitutional right to display the religious imagery.
In his letter Tuesday, he cited the Constitution again.
“The Constitution does not require Texas to allow displays in its Capitol that violate general standards of decency and intentionally disrespect the beliefs and values of many of our fellow Texans,” Abbott wrote.
The display is offensive, doesn’t serve a public purpose and doesn’t educate anyone, he wrote.