A Christian law group has said that it will be fighting "anti-Christian" and "Satanic expositions" during the Christmas season this year.
The Thomas More Society said that it will focus on defending the rights of Americans to display Nativity scenes at public forums, despite opposition from atheist groups, which tout separation of church and state.
"Anti-Christian, anti-Christmas rhetoric and Satanic expositions merely serve to provide sharp emphasis by means of their stark contrast with the positive, uplifting, hopeful and joyous message of Christmas," said Tom Brejcha, Thomas More Society President and Chief Counsel.
"A message that bears secular as well as religious significance, as it highlights the hope and miracle of birth and new life, the inherent dignity of each and every human being, focusing our attention on the humble and lowly infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger amidst straw and animals, honored by shepherds and kings alike and heralded by choirs of angels," he added.
"That message of the essential equality and dignity of all human beings, no matter how rich or poor, humble or high-stationed, resonates deeply with the values that Americans cherish."
The law group revealed that it is sponsoring Nativity displays in Illinois, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Texas, and in Oklahoma, and will be attempting to secure permits for such displays in other states as well.
It added that groups such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union have in the past been active around Christmas time, looking to get religious-themed displays removed from public property.
Brejcha insisted, however, that nativity displays are a "constitutionally protected expression by private citizens in traditional or designated public forums," and argued that the government is only a "neutral gatekeeper assuring open access for all citizens to have their say."
FFRF has used other strategies to challenge Christian nativity scenes, such as displaying a Bill of Rights and a winter solstice banner at an Indiana Courthouse.
"During the course of litigation, the [Franklin] county decided that rather than stay neutral on religion, it would open a public forum for displays, and passed an ordinance regulating the use of its lawn by community residents and organizations," FFRF explained of its effort back in September.
Other atheistic groups, such as the Satanic Temple, have also petitioned to see their displays – of a large goat-headed demon statue – be erected on the lawn as well.