Houston Co. judge says nativity tradition will continue

CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - A group that previously attacked an East Texas county for its nativity scene is back again. This time hitting Houston County. But officials there say it's not going anywhere.

The Wisconsin-based freedom from religion foundation has asked the Houston county courthouse to remove this manger off their lawn.

"We have a long standing tradition here. We want the nativity scene; we feel it's within our rights to have it and we'll keep it for the holiday period," Judge Erin Ford said.

FFRF's staff attorney Stephanie Schmitt explains that a few Houston County residents complained to her about this nativity scene.

"Any nativity scene that's either a standalone display or the prominent portion of a display would be considered unconstitutional and so that's the guidelines that we use when we're notified about these types of complaints," Stephanie Schmitt said.

Schmitt says it's extremely common this time of year to receive these kind of complaints.

Keeney Dickenson, First Baptist Church Pastor, said, "It's sad to me how loud a few can be and how silent the majority can be in an issue like this."

Dennis Ivey, Harvest Church Pastor, said, "We don't appreciate outside forces coming in and trying to make us change."

The F-F-R-F Also threatened lawsuits for the nativity scene at the Henderson County courthouse last year.

Henderson County never stopped standing up for what they believe and locals say neither will Houston county.

Susan Quattrini, Houston Co. resident, said, "This is a display that expresses the beliefs I believe of the majority of the citizens of Houston county, but whether it does or not we have the right to have the display there because locally there's no law or issue against it, so why does someone in Wisconsin who will not give their name object to something that is covered clearly by federal, state and local governments."

Judge ford says he doesn't plan to take the nativity scene down and the county attorney will send a response to the FFRF next week regarding their complaint.